Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were the three MLB players selected to join the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. After a voting process that resulted in an empty class of inductees in 2013, the chosen three will enter into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
Ever wondered how they choose who will be honored with a plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y.? Here is a rundown of the process, along with the significant accomplishments that earned these three a spot in the sport's history.
Election to the hall
Nomination to the Baseball Hall of Fame lies in the hands of a group of reporters known as the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA for short). This group of baseball journalists has been around since 1908 and currently counts over 700 members among its ranks. Of these 700 total members, only those who have been active for 10 seasons are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame induction, or, as the pros call it - enshrinement.
These electors are tasked with voting on a long list of eligible candidates to determine who will be so enshrined. Unfortunately, candidacy for this election is a bit more stringent than the old throw-your-hat-in-the-ring tactic.
The players' MLB careers must have at least in part fallen within a strict period beginning 20 years prior and ending five years before the year of the election. So, for this year's election, only players that were active at some point between 1994 and 2009 got their name on the list. In addition, your career has to have lasted at least 10 MLB championship seasons. Meet those minimum requirements and you at least get to be considered for the ballot.
However, getting on the list doesn't necessarily get you on the ballot. To do that, you have to get by the Screening Committee, a six-person team elected by the BBWAA to prepare the ballots. If you received at least 5 percent of the vote in the previous election you get automatic placement on the ballot. Meanwhile, first-timers must be nominated by at least two of the six committee members. The Screening Committee then arranges the names in alphabetical order and distributes the ballot to the electors.
At this point, electors have some options. They can vote for anywhere from zero to 10 of the names on the ballot for enshrinement. At the end of voting, only those players that over 75 percent of the electors voted for get to claim their spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 2014 election
This year's election was pretty exciting as it was only the second year since the first vote in 1936 that all the winners were first timers - a feat made even more impressive by the fact that nobody was elected by the BBWAA in 2013.
Greg Maddux swept the floor with more than 97 percent of the vote, receiving 555 of the 571 ballots. To put that number in perspective, the Great Bambino only mustered 95 percent of the vote during his election in 1936. Experts considered Maddux a likely candidate going into the vote due to his impressive career as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. His 23-year career spanned 335 game wins, four Cy Young Awards, 18 Gold Glove Awards and eight All-Star games. With a career ERA of 3.16, the only surprise that many insiders felt after his announcement was that the vote wasn't unanimous.
Fellow Braves pitcher Tom Glavine racked up 305 wins over his 22-year career as a left-handed starting pitcher alongside Maddux. He is notable for his ability to sustain his talent well into the later years of his career, getting an invite to the 2006 All-Star Game at the age of 40, rounding out his total number of All-Star games to 10. Glavine also cruised through the election with 91 percent of the vote.
Frank Thomas, the designated hitter and first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, collected 83.7 percent of the vote. With a career batting average of .301, 521 home runs and over 1,700 RBIs, Thomas was clearly a first-rate hitter during his time. A winner of the American League MVP Award in 1993 and 1994, he clearly is no stranger to awards.
Unfortunately, poor Craig Biggio just couldn't catch a break during this year's election. This is the Houston Astros player's second year on the ballot and he managed to clock in at 74.8 percent of the vote, a mere .2 percent away from the qualifying percentage. There is always next year.
What do you think? Were there any snubs during this year's election? Can Biggio pull it together for a successful 2015 bid? Do too many American sports start with the letter "B"? Let us know in the comments!