The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected four new members to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A year after Atlanta Braves pitching greats Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were called to the Hall, their rotation-mate John Smoltz was selected, along with two other pitchers who redefined the position — Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson — and Houston Astros star Craig Biggio.
This was the first time on the Hall of Fame ballot for Smoltz, Martinez, and Johnson. Biggio got in on his third ballot. Johnson, though, was nearly a unanimous pick with 97.3 percent of the vote. Martinez earned 91.1 percent, Smoltz 82.9 percent, and Biggio 82.7 percent.
A player must receive at least 75 percent of the votes cast to be enshrined in the Hall. In 2014, Biggio just missed the cut with 74.8 percent. This year, it was all-time great catcher Mike Piazza coming up just short (he received 69.9 percent of the vote).
The four newest members of the Hall of Fame will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26. Here are some stats on these certified legends to tide you over until the summer ceremony:
Teams played for: Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamonbacks, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants
First MLB appearance: September 15, 1988
Final MLB appearance: October 4, 2009
Career regular season record: 303-166, 3.29 ERA, 4,875 strikeouts, 1,497 walks, 100 complete games
Career postseason record: 7-9, 3.50 ERA, 132 strikeouts, 32 walks, 3 complete games
Randy Johnson was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era. He entered the league with the Expos, but made a name for himself when he joined the Mariners in 1989. It was in Seattle where he earned the nickname the Big Unit, both for his size — Johnson is 6’10” — and his efficiency on the mound.
Johnson spent part of 1998 in Houston, then in 1999 anchored the Diamondbacks rotation in Arizona. A couple seasons later, in 2001, he won a World Series and shared MVP honors with fellow pitcher Curt Schilling. Johnson spent three more seasons in the desert before moving to the Yankees. He pitched two seasons in the Bronx, rejoined the D’backs for a couple seasons, and ended his career with a season in San Francisco.
Johnson was a five-time Cy Young winner and a 10-time All-Star. In his second full season in the league, he pitched a a no-hitter (June 2, 1990); 12 years later he pitched a perfect game (May 18. 2002). He’s also second on the all-time strikeout list with 4,875 Ks, nearly 1,000 behind Nolan Ryan.
Teams played for: Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies
First MLB appearance: September 24, 1992
Final MLB appearance: September 30, 2009
Career regular season record: 219-100, 2.93 ERA, 3,154 strikeouts, 760 walks, 46 compete games
Career postseason record: 6-4, 3.68 ERA, 96 strikeouts, 30 walks
The Red Sox were Pedro Martinez’s third team, but he’ll always be a hero in Boston. He was part of the 2004 team that broke the Curse of the Bambino and brought a World Series trophy back to the city.
Before taking the mound in Boston, Pedro broke into the league with LA and Montreal. But it was with the Sox where his career took off. He was a three-time Cy Young winner (he won two in Boston and one in Montreal) and an eight-time All-Star (twice with Montreal, the rest with Boston).
Winning the World Series was the high point of Pedro’s time in Boston — and its end. The next season, he was in a Mets uniform. He pitched in New York for three seasons before joining another NL East squad, the Phillies, for his final season in 2009. He retired 13th all-time in strikeouts with 3,154.
Teams played for: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals
First MLB appearance: July 23, 1988
Final MLB appearance: September 30, 2009
Career regular season record: 213-155, 154 saves, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 strikeouts, 1,010 walks, 53 complete games
Career postseason record: 15-4, 4 saves, 2.67 ERA, 199 strikeouts, 67 walks, 2 complete games
John Smoltz was part of the Braves’ dangerous rotation that included Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and guided Atlanta to four National League pennants between 1991 and 1996 and a World Series victory in 1995, the team’s first since 1957.
The next season, Smoltz won the Cy Young Award and a season later the Silver Slugger for his skills at the plate. He was an eight-time All-Star and one of the most dominant pitchers in the postseason.
But Smoltz missed all of the 2000 to recover from Tommy John surgery. When he returned with the team in 2001, he wasn’t the same — as a starting pitcher, at least. So he went to the bullpen where he remade himself as an efficient closer. He broke the National League saves record in 2002 by saving 55 games, and at the end of his career seven seasons later boasted 154 total saves.
He made it back into the Braves rotation in 2005, where he stayed until 2008 when a shoulder injury sent him back to the bullpen. Because of the injury and the end of his contract with the Braves, most expected his career to be over. But Smoltz signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox and pitched for Boston until he was released mid-season. He was picked up by the Cardinals, and when St. Louis lost in the NLDS decided to hang up his glove. He retired as 16th on the all-time strikeout list with 3,084.
Teams played for: Houston Astros
First MLB appearance: June 26, 1988
Final MLB appearance: September 30, 2007
Career regular season stats: 2,850 games, .281, 291 HR, 3,060 hits, 1,175 RBI
Career postseason stats: 40 games, .234, 2 HR, 39 hits, 11 RBI
Second baseman, catcher, outfielder — for 20 seasons, Craig Biggio did it all for the Houston Astros. And he did it during some lean years for the team. The Astros won three division titles while he was on the team (1997-1999, 2001) and he played in one World Series, in 2005, which Houston lost to the Chicago White Sox.
But the lack of team success didn’t stop Biggio from excelling. He was a seven-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a five-time Silver Slugger. He was rock solid at the plate, knocking in 3,060 hits in his career, good for 20th on the all-time hits list.
Photos: Win McNamee/Getty Images (Smoltz), Elsa/Getty Images (Biggio), Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (Martinez), Barry Gossage/Getty Images (Johnson)