Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were the only former players voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, with Craig Biggio falling just short of the number of votes needed from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Maddux, a pitcher whose greatest success came with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, received 97.2 percent of votes and Glavin, his former Braves teammate in the pitching rotation, got 91.9 percent. Thomas, “the Big Hurt” was a slugger who spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox and received 87.7 percent of votes, with 75 percent needed for enshrinement. Thomas is the first Hall of Famer to have played the majority of his games as a designated hitter. Biggio finished with 74.8 percent of votes, falling just two short of the number needed. Biggio was, in part, hurt by the rule of 10, which limited writers in the roughly 600-member organization to voting for just 10 players.
Two steroid-era players weren’t even close in balloting. Roger Clemens received 35.4 percent of the votes and Barry Bonds 34.7, with numbers declining for both in their second year of eligibility.
A relieved Frank Thomas after learning he's a Hall of a Famer. pic.twitter.com/rSpKkNCYZx
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) January 8, 2014
White Sox will put this ad for Frank Thomas in the Chicago Tribune tomorrow pic.twitter.com/WGedc16nYy
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 8, 2014
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 8, 2014
7 players w/ more vote % than Maddux's 97.2: Seaver 98.8 Ryan 98.8 Ripken 98.5 Cobb 98.2 Brett 98.2 Aaron 97.8 Gwynn 97.6
— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) January 8, 2014
They’ll join former managers Bobby Cox (who managed Glavine and Maddux), Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, who were earlier selected for enshrinement.
It was a tough year in which, in addition to the rule of 10, the process was called into question more than ever. Writers grappled publicly and agonizingly with how to deal with players from the steroids era and one, in an effort to pull back the curtain on the process, gave his ballot to Deadspin. That was Dan Le Batard of ESPN and the Miami Herald, who, among other reasons, writes that he likes “a little anarchy in the cathedral of sports.” Le Batard writes:
Baseball is always reticent to change, but our flawed voting process needs remodeling in a new media world. Besides, every year the power is abused the way I’m going to be alleged to abuse it here. There’s never been a unanimous first-ballot guy? Seriously?
In 2014, these matters are complicated, unlike a simpler time when chicks dug the long ball.
Related: Tom Boswell on Greg Maddux
H/T For the Win