Maddux, Glavine and Thomas elected to Hall of Fame, Palmeiro off ballot

One year after failing to induct any players into the Hall of Fame, the Baseball Writers' Association of America agreed that three first-timers deserve entrance into Cooperstown.

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will be inducted in their first year on the ballot. Maddux received 97.2 percent of the votes, Glavine 91.9 and Thomas 83.7. Craig Biggio barely missed with 74.8 percent.

Players must receive at least 75 percent of the votes in order to be inducted.

Former Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro drops off the ballot after receiving only 4.4 percent of the votes. A minimum of five percent is required.

Palmeiro is one of only four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, but a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs ruined his candidacy. He's been eligible for Hall of Fame induction over the last four years.

Another former Oriole, pitcher Mike Mussina, fell short in his first year on the ballot, receiving 20.3 percent of the votes.

Former Orioles reliever Armando Benitez received one vote. Seriously.

Maddux spent 23 years with the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Padres, and he's the only pitcher in baseball history with 17 straight seasons with a least 15 victories. He won four Cy Young Awards and four ERA titles, and twice finished in the top 10 of league MVP voting.

Maddux produced 355 wins and a 3.16 ERA, was named to eight All-Star teams and won an MLB-record 18 Gold Glove Awards. He ranks fourth all-time in games started at 740, eighth in wins, 10th in strikeouts with 3,371 and 13th in innings pitched at 5,008 1/3.

Maddux is one of four pitchers with more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks. He also appeared in 23 postseason series, including three World Series, and went 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA in 35 games.

Glavine spent 22 years with the Braves and Mets, posting five 20-win seasons, 14 seasons with 200-plus innings and six seasons with an ERA below 3.00. He was awarded the Cy Young in 1991 and 1998 and received votes in five other seasons.

Glavine won 305 games, posted a 3.54 ERA and was named to 10 All-Star teams. He led the National League in games started six times, wins five times and complete games and shutouts once. He ranks 12th in games started with 682, 21st in wins, 24th in strikeouts with 2,607 and 30th in innings with 4,413 1/3.

Glavine also won four Silver Slugger Awards. He appeared in 24 postseason series, including five World Series, and went 14-16 with a 3.30 ERA in 35 games. Glavine was named MVP of the 1995 World Series after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts for the Braves against the Indians.

Thomas played 19 seasons with the White Sox, Athletics and Blue Jays. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and finished in the top 10 seven other times - placing second in 2000. He also won four Silver Slugger Awards.

Thomas posted a career .301/.419/.555 slash line with 495 doubles, 12 triples, 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs. He hit .300 or better in 10 seasons, drove in at least 100 runs in 11 seasons, scored 100 or more runs in nine seasons and led the American League in on-base percentage and walks four times.

Thomas hit 30 or more home runs in nine seasons and reached the 40 mark five times. He ranks 10th all-time in walks with 1,667, 18th in homers, 20th in on-base percentage, 22nd in RBIs and slugging percentage, and 42nd in total bases with 4,550. He also totaled seven consecutive seasons (1991-97) with 20-plus homers, 100 RBIs, 100 walks and a .300 average, the longest streak in history.

Biggio came the closest to being inducted last year after receiving 68.2 percent of the votes. Jack Morris received 67.7 percent last year and 61.5 this year in his 15th and final year of eligibility.

Here are the results, with total votes, percentage and years on ballot:
Greg Maddux 555 (97.2%) 1
Tom Glavine 525 (91.9) 1
Frank Thomas 478 (83.7) 1
Craig Biggio 427 (74.8) 2
Mike Piazza 355 (62.2) 2
Jack Morris 351 (61.5) 15
Jeff Bagwell 310 (54.3) 4
Tim Raines 263 (46.1) 7
Roger Clemens 202 (35.4) 2
Barry Bonds 198 (34.7) 2
Lee Smith 171 (29.9) 12
Curt Schilling 167 (29.2) 2
Edgar Martinez 144 (25.2) 5
Alan Trammell 119 (20.8) 13
Mike Mussina 116 (20.3) 1
Jeff Kent 87 (15.2) 1
Fred McGriff 67 (11.7) 8
Mark McGwire 63 (11.0) 8
Larry Walker 58 (10.2) 4
Don Mattingly 47 (8.2) 14
Sammy Sosa 41 (7.2) 2
Rafael Palmeiro 25 (4.4) 4
Moises Alou 6 (1.1) 1
Hideo Nomo 6 (1.1) 1
Luis Gonzalez 5 (0.9) 1
Eric Gagne 2 (0.4) 1
J.T. Snow 2 (0.4) 1
Armando Benitez 1 (0.2) 1
Jacque Jones 1 (0.2) 1
Kenny Rogers 1 (0.2) 1
Sean Casey 0 (0) 1
Ray Durham 0 (0) 1
Todd Jones 0 (0) 1
Paul LoDuca 0 (0) 1
Richie Sexson 0 (0) 1
Mike Timlin 0 (0) 1

There were 571 ballots cast by eligible BBWAA voters, two more than last year.

Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4. Schilling dropped from 38.8 to 29.2. Bonds dropped from 36.2 to 34.7. McGwire dropped from 16.9 to 11. Sosa dropped from 12.5 to 7.2.

First-timers on next year's ballot include Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.

It's a shame that Smoltz chose to pitch in 2009, going a combined 3-8 with a 6.35 ERA in 15 games with the Red Sox and Cardinals. Otherwise, he could have been inducted with Maddux, Glavine and former manager Bobby Cox.

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