As expected, former Peoria Chiefs pitcher Greg Maddux was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. He was picked on 555 of 571 ballots filled out by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. That equates to a 97.2 percentage rate — eighth-best in the history of BBWAA voting.
Maddux will be inducted alongside former Atlanta Braves teammate Tom Glavine and slugger Frank Thomas. All three are first-ballot Hall-of-Famers. Managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre also will be inducted after being elected last month by the Hall of Fame’s expansion-era committee.
They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27.
Former Houston Astros star Craig Biggio fell only two votes short of election this year, his second on the ballot. Only two other players have ever missed election by that small a margin — Pie Traynor in 1947 and Nellie Fox in 1985 — and they both are now members of the Hall of Fame.
Maddux went 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 186 IP for the 1985 Peoria Chiefs. As an 18-year-old, he was Peoria’s Opening Day starter against the Springfield Cardinals and struck out 12 batters in 8 innings. (You can read more fun facts about Maddux on the Chiefs’ blog, Playing in Peoria, here. You also can watch video of Maddux pitching for the Chiefs against the Quad City Angels here.)
Although Maddux wore No. 12 when he pitched for the Chiefs, the team retired his more famous No. 31 (which he wore with the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves) on June 11, 2010.
One of Maddux’s Chiefs teammates, Rafael Palmeiro, didn’t garner enough votes this time to stay eligible for the BBWAA vote. Only 4.4% of voters cast a ballot for him, despite his Hall of Fame numbers. I believe Palmeiro eventually will be elected by a veterans committee after the inevitable softening of the current hardline stand against those accused of or proven to have taken performance-enhancing drugs.
Another notable former Midwest League player, Edgar Martinez (1984 Wausau Timbers), received support from 25.2% of voters. I believe he also will be inducted into the Hall of Fame eventually, after voters’ opinions start changing about designated hitters. That, however, is likely to still be at least a few years away — perhaps when David Ortiz (1996 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame.