Yesterday the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced. *In a Ryan Seacrest voice* Dim the lights, here we go.
This July, two baseball players from my generation of baseball watching will see themselves immortalized in bronze in Cooperstown, NY: Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza.
Griffey (aka “The Kid”) received 99.3% of the votes, surpassing Tom Seaver’s previous record of 98.84%; this was his first year on the ballot. For Piazza, he received 83% of the votes in his fourth year on the ballot. Players need at least 75% to be inducted.
I’m not good at math, but I am good at baseball math. So let’s look at some stats:
Griffey: 13 time All-Star, 630 home runs, .284 average, 1,836 RBI, and 11 consecutive All-Star selections; he played with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr. in Seattle from 1990-1991 after coming onto the scene at just 19 in 1989.
And he has just about the sweetest swing in the league.
Piazza: 12 time All-Star, 427 home runs, .308 average, 1,335 RBI, and hit .300 in nine straight seasons; he is known as one of the top offensive catchers in the MLB.
He is best known for the home run he hit in the Mets first game after 9/11 for a comeback victory 3-2 against the Braves. He not only lifted the Mets to a win but lifted the spirit of a city that was left in devastation and heartbreak.
When I first got into baseball, I remember seeing these players play and how successful they were. I think anyone who is a baseball fan has respect for The Kid, and I’m so happy he made into the Hall. Although there has been rumors going around connecting Piazza to PEDs, there hasn’t been enough evidence. He also deserves to be in the Hall, especially with the number he put up as a catcher.
I was hoping Jeff Bagwell would have made it in this year, but he missed being inducted by 15 votes. He’s a local New England kid who went to the University of Hartford and was drafted by the Red Sox in 1989. Fingers crossed next year he makes it in because he finished his career with 449 home runs, .297 average, and 4 All-Star game appearances.
Those who are eligible for the 2017 ballot are: Danny Baez, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Julio Lugo, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, Jason Varitek, Javier Vazquez, and Tim Wakefield.
Nine of these players spent some time with the Red Sox, most notably Varitek and Wakefield, who had the longest tenures (15 years and 17 years). I’ve heard of all but 3 of these players, and to me, it’s awesome to know that these players I grew up watching and admired (except for Manny but that’s another story) could end up in the Hall of Fame. I think I have a story for each of the players I recognize, and obviously favor former Sox players over others.
I wonder what it’ll be like in 20 years when I’m in my 40s and the young guys that are playing now, like Mike Trout, could be en route to Cooperstown.