Star pitching trio join Hall of Fame ballot
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced 17 new names for its 2015 ballot on Monday, including Cy Young Award-winning pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.
Also among the newcomers to the lineup that a media panel will consider for entry into the sporting honor shrine next year are sluggers Gary Sheffield and Carlos Delgado, and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.
Candidates require 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, with results to be announced on January 6. Those elected and any candidates added from a Golden Era Committee re-considering long-ago talent will be enshrined next July 26 at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Lanky left-hander Johnson, nicknamed "The Big Unit," pitched 22 seasons for Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, San Francisco and the New York Yankees. He enjoyed 20-win campaigns in 1997, 2001 and 2002 and won five Cy Young Awards as his league`s top pitcher. He was the 2001 World Series Most Valuable Player in sparking Arizona over the Yankees for the Major League Baseball crown.
Johnson finished 303-166 with a 3.29 earned-run average and second on the all-time strikeout list with 4,875.
Martinez, a Dominican right-hander, played 18 seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia and the New York Mets, going 219-100 with a 2.93 earned-run average. He had 20-win seasons in 1999 and 2002, won Cy Young Awards in 1997, 1999 and 2000, and swept the 1999 American League Pitching Triple Crown by leading in wins with 23, earned run average at 2.07 and strikeouts with 313. He helped Boston win the 2004 World Series crown.
Smoltz, an American right-hander, worked as a starter as well as a closing reliever in a 21-season career for Atlanta, Boston and St. Louis, compiling a career record of 213-155 with a 3.33 earned-run average and 154 saves. He won the 1996 National League Cy Young Award and his 3,084 strikeouts rank 16th all-time. He helped Atlanta to the 1995 World Series crown.
Another 17 candidates return to the ballot after receiving enough support from last year`s voters for more consideration. That group includes Craig Biggio, who just missed with 74.8 percent of voting.
Others under consideration include Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.
Roger Clemens and all-time US home run leader Barry Bonds, linked to performance-enhancing drugs near the end of their careers, each received about 35 percent support. Mark McGwire, who admitted using banned substances, had 11 percent support.
Former Yankees star Don Mattingly is eligible for the ballot for the 15th and final time.