Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in balloting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) on Wednesday.
Raines, the last remaining MLB player with at least 600 extra-base hits and 700 stolen bases not in the Hall of Fame, was named on 380 of the 442 ballots cast in his final year of eligibility.
Not only was Raines the only player in baseball history with at least 100 triples, 150 home runs and 600 stolen bases, but he also is the only player not named Pete Rose with at least 2,600 hits and 1,300 walks not in Cooperstown, until now.
"The last two years have been the telling time," Raines said in an interview with MLB Network. "Each year as the votes go up I wonder if I'm going to get enough. I knew I was in striking distance but this was the first year I lost sleep."
In his seventh year of eligibility, Bagwell received 86.2 per cent of the vote, well above the 75 needed from the panel of 10-year members of the BBWAA.
The lifelong Astros star ranks first in home runs, RBIs and walks in Houston history. Bagwell is the only player since the 1920s to steal 200 bases as a first baseman and the position's only two 30-homer, 30-steal seasons.
Following Mika Piazza from a year ago, a catcher was elected to the Hall of Fame in Rodriguez, who received 76 per cent of the vote in his first attempt, joining Johnny Bench as the only catchers to ever be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Throughout his 21 seasons, 'Pudge' had the most hits as a catcher (2,749) and most games caught (2,377). He won an American League (AL) MVP, World Series MVP and had 13 Gold Gloves.
Another first-timer, Vladimir Guerrero fell just short of the 75 per cent of vote needed (71.7) as did Trevor Hoffman (74) and Edgar Martinez (58.6).
Roger Clemens (54.1 per cent) and Barry Bonds (53.8) gained more votes than last year but remain a long way from the threshold to Cooperstown. Similarly, Manny Ramirez received 23.8 per cent in his first attempt.
The Hall of Fame class of 2017 will be inducted on July 30.
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