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Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are Hall of Famers

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Three first-timers made it in while Craig Biggio just missed the cut and some ridiculous votes were cast.

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are Hall of Famers

The Baseball Hall of Fame is getting three new members this year, and all three got in on their first tries: starting pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and first baseman/designated hitter Frank Thomas. All three exceeded the necessary 75% threshold to earn induction. Let's quickly gloss over some of the credentials for the three new inductees:

• Greg Maddux ended his career with a record of 355-227 and an ERA of 3.16 with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, and is without a doubt one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Maddux pitched for 23 years and submitted ERAs below 4.00 in 16 of those (all consecutively). He went sub-3.00 nine different times, and even threw in two seasons with sub 2.00 ERAs. Maddux led the league in ERA four times and parlayed his great control and run prevention into four Cy Young awards. Maddux only turned in one 20-win season, but he supplemented that with fantastic W/L records of 19-2 and 19-4. In his career, Maddux threw 109 complete games and 35 shutouts, which is a remarkable testament to his economic style and tremendous ability.

What made Maddux so great was his ability to manipulate hitters. When he wanted to, he could flummox them and strike them out, but he preferred that they beat themselves. Maddux's sharp control and repertoire of effective pitches constantly kept batters off-balance. He induced weak outs all over the infield, and his excellent fielding helped him win 18 Gold Gloves over his career (including 13 straight between 1990-2002). 

• Tom Glavine was part of Greg Maddux's rotations in Atlanta and put up career marks of 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons. Glavine won 20 games five times in his career, all with the Braves, and also won two Cy Young awards during his time in Atlanta. Glavine posted sub-3.00 ERAs in six seasons and never led the league in any major stats. Glavine wasn't much of a strikeout pitcher either (highest total in his career: 192) and wasn't as effective as Maddux as getting hitters to initiate poor contact. Despite this, Glavine was still an aggressive pitcher who went at hitters regardless of the situation or count. He had a nasty change-up and used that to keep hitters guessing at the plate. Glavine threw 56 complete games in his career and 25 shutouts.

• Frank Thomas was one of the most powerful and dangerous hitters of the 90s and early 2000s. During his 19-year career, Thomas slugged 521 home runs for his career while still hitting .301 for his career. In 1993 and 1994, Thomas won back-to-back MVP awards and finished in the top-5 on four other occasions. Thomas had a great eye at the plate with discipline to match it, sporting a career .419 OBP. He drove in 1,704 runs in his career and becomes the first player who was primarily a DH to get elected into the game (which hopefully ends the stigma and gets other DH's like Edgar Martinez in). Thomas hit 40+ home runs five times, drove in 100+ runs 11 times and hit over .300 in ten different seasons. While he wasn't a great (or even good) fielder, Thomas was as dangerous at the plate as many hitters during his playing days.

Maddux earned a whopping 97.2 percent of the vote, Glavine earned 91.9 percent and Thomas received 83.7 percent. The next closest was Craig Biggio, and he was as close as you could get to induction. Biggio ended up with 74.8 percent, falling just two votes shy of getting in. Here's how the rest of the voting played out:

Jack Morris: 61.5
Jeff Bagwell: 54.3
Tim Raines: 46.1
Roger Clemens: 35.4
Barry Bonds: 34.7
Lee Smith: 29.9
Curt Schilling: 29.2
Edgar Martinez: 25.2
Alan Trammell: 20.8
Mike Mussina: 20.3
Jeff Kent: 15.2
Fred McGriff: 11.7
Mark McGwire: 11.0
Larry Walker: 10.2
Don Mattingly: 8.2
Sammy Sosa: 7.2

The results reflect a lot of the trends that highlight the voting process's numerous problems, which we might get into tomorrow, but nevertheless, the blemishes shouldn't be the big story here. Congratulations to Maddux, Glavine and Thomas on their inductions. All three are more than deserving.

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