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Baseball Hall of Fame: Biggio, Bagwell shut out again

Craig Biggio fell 0.2 percent away from induction into the Hall of Fame. This makes me angry.

Bob Levey

One vote.

One blasted vote.

Okay, maybe two, but the margin that kept Craig Biggio out of the Hall of Fame today are so incredibly small that it's very, very frustrating.

The only member of the 3,000 hits club who is eligible for the Hall of Fame just missed by the narrowest of margins. How is that possible?

It's possible because 25.2 percent of the electorate left him off, while voting in Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine. That's a three person class, one of the biggest in 30 years. Maddux fell short of unanimous election by 16 votes, so there are worse things going on here.

But, Biggio's snub looms large. We'll have more reaction soon, but for now, let's go through the nitty-grity.

With longtime Atlanta teammates Maddux and Glavine entering the Hall together, it will be the first time a set of teammates have been elected in the same year representing the same club since Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford made it in 1974. The duo also mark the first starting pitchers to star their careers after 1970 to be elected to the Hall.

It’s the largest Hall of Fame class since 1999, when George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount all gained entry. Hall of Fame voters haven’t elected more than three players since 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance got in.

Maddux pitched for 23 seasons, totaling 106 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference. That puts him No. 25 all-time on that list, which measures a player’s entire body of statistics and tries to show how many wins he added to his team over his career.  Only six pitchers have more career WAR than Maddux.

In those 23 seasons, Maddux threw 5008 innings while compiling a record of 355-227. He had a career ERA of 3.16 and struck out 3,371 batters, winning four straight Cy Young awards from 1992-95 and finishing in the top 5 four more times. Maddux also excelled defensively, winning 18 Gold Gloves, including 13 in a row.

An eight-time All-Star, Maddux began his career with the Chicago Cubs, playing seven seasons there before signing as a free agent with Atlanta. He stayed with the Braves for 11 seasons before playing three more years with the Cubs and finsihing out his career with stops in San Diego and with the Dodgers.

Teammate Tom Glavine won 305 games with a career ERA of 3.54 in 4,413 innings. He struck out 2,607 batters and had a career WAR total of 81.4. Glavine also won two Cy Young awards, in 1991 and 1998. He finished in the top three four more times in his 22-year career. A 10-time All-Star, Glavine pitched 17 seasons with Atlanta and five seasons with the New York Mets.

Frank Thomas is the first primary first baseman elected to the Hall since Eddie Murray was enshrined in 2003. In a 19-year career, Thomas hit .301/.419/.555 with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs and 1,494 runs scored. His 73.6 career WAR total puts him No. 51 out of all position players.

Thomas won back-to-back MVP awards in 1993-94 and finished in the top 10 seven more times. He was named to five All-Star games and won four Silver Slugger awards.

Thomas played 971 of his career 2,322 games at first base, meaning he’s the first nearly full-time designated hitter elected to Cooperstown. Eddie Murray, another player who manned the DH spot for years, played 2,413 of his career 3,026 games at first base. After spending 16 years with the White Sox, Thomas finished his career with stints in Oakland and Toronto.

Biggio was left off again during his second time on the ballot. He remains one of two members of the 3,000 hit club eligible for the Hall who is not enshrined, joining Rafael Palmeiro. In 20 seasons, Biggio hit .281/.363/.433 with 291 home runs, 668 doubles, 1,175 RBIs and 1,844 runs scored. He’s fifth on the all-time doubles list, behind Tris Speaker, Pete Rose, Stan Musial and Ty Cobb.

Here’s the complete voting results, courtesy of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America:

Craig Biggio fell 0.2 percent away from induction into the Hall of Fame. This makes me angry.

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