The National Baseball Hall of Fame just got a little bigger with the addition of four MLB legends. Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio are the newest players to be enshrined in baseball immortality. This Hall of Fame class might be one of the most star-studded groups to enter Cooperstown in recent memory. Here’s a breakdown of each player along with the qualities, accolades and stats that made them Hall of Fame worthy.
Randy Johnson AKA “The Big Unit” received the most votes in his class at 97.3%. Randy accomplished virtually every major feat that any pitcher could achieve at the Major League level. He’s a World Series champion, he threw a perfect game (at the age of 40 nonetheless), he is a 5-time Cy Young award winner and he is the last pitcher to win over 300 games. Aside from his never-ending list of accolades, Johnson will be remembered as one of the most intimidating players in the history of the game. He truly lived up to his nickname whenever he stepped on the rubber, standing at 6 feet and 10 inches. Oh, and not to mention, Randy’s fastball was usually clocked somewhere between 95 and 100 MPH during most of his career.
John Smoltz will join his longtime comrades from the Atlanta Braves, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in the Hall of Fame, cementing one of the greatest pitching trios in MLB history. Like the other pitchers in this year’s Hall of Fame class, Smoltz was a great competitor. He was willing to do whatever it took for his team to be successful. Whether he had to pitch a complete game, or close out a game as a reliever, Smoltz would contribute to his team in any way possible. Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to have at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
Pedro Martinez became the first Dominican player to be voted into the Hall of Fame since Juan Marichal back in 1983. Pedro was known for being one of the most fearless pitchers in the game. He brought an unforgettable swagger to the game of baseball which sometimes irritated the teams he pitched against. His self-confidence led to his aggressive style of pitching which enabled him to attack hitters with a bundle of pitches. Pedro’s command on the mound was impeccable and it aided him in having an excellent win-loss record of 219-100. During 1999 and the year 2000, Pedro had his best seasons with a combined 41 wins and an ERA of 1.90. Many baseball experts view this as the best pitching performance in the history of the game, considering the fact that this was in the heart of the steroid era. He didn’t have the intimidating stature that Randy had on the hill, but when his pitches hit the catcher’s mitt, batters were just as afraid.
Craig Biggio is the lone position player in this year’s Hall of Fame class. Biggio primarily spent his career at second base where he won 4 Gold Glove Awards. His versatility is what kept him around the game as a valuable player for 20 years with the Houston Astros. Biggio actually started his career as a catcher before being converted to a second-baseman. He even played the outfield for some time so to all the young ballplayers out there: don’t ever limit yourself to one position. Biggio should be praised for his durability as well. He was hit by a pitch 285 times in his career, a modern-era record. The thought of being plunked by that many pitches makes my body ache. Biggio also had pretty good swing at the plate, finishing his career in 5th place on the all-time doubles list with 668. One of his most notable achievements is that he is a member of the 3,000-hit club and owns 5 Silver Slugger Awards.
The players in this year’s Hall of Fame class each shared one similar characteristic. They all had a fiery passion for the game of baseball. Whenever they set foot on the diamond, they brought their A-Game. They were gritty players with a blue-collar mentality. The phrase, ‘blood, sweat and tears’, defines the effort that this group of players put into the game of baseball during their respective careers. Baseball fans and analysts are a bit upset that Mike Piazza didn’t receive enough votes on this year’s ballot. It was a tough ballot for any baseball legend to crack this year so I’m not too depressed that Piazza didn’t make it in his 3rd year of eligibility. Piazza will definitely get in next year with other baseball legends like Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell and Trevor Hoffman. As for now, we should all appreciate the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class.