On a day when pitchers dominated the voting for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Carlos Delgado, the former Toronto Blue Jays slugger, watched his short-lived candidacy go up in smoke.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, three Major League Baseball pitchers who combined to win nine Cy Young Awards, won entry into the Hall Tuesday on their first time on the ballot.
They will be joined in the Cooperstown, N.Y., Hall by multiposition standout Craig Biggio, who fell short by only two votes a year ago but was able to reach the 75-per-cent voting threshold this time around.
It marked the first time in 60 years that voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America have elected as many as four players from the same class. (In 1955, Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons were voted in.)
On the other side of the ledger, Delgado – one of the most offensively proficient Blue Jays in franchise history – received just 21 votes after being named on just 3.8 per cent of the ballotsin his first year of eligibility. Players need to secure at least 5 per cent of the vote in order to remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, so Delgado's Hall of Fame hopes have been dashed.
During an impressive 17-year career, Delgado – who retired following the 2009 season – slugged 473 home runs, driving in 1,512 runs in the process. Delgado spent the first 12 years of his career with the Blue Jays and he remains the franchise leader in most offensive categories, including home runs (336), runs scored (889), doubles (343), RBI (1,058) and slugging (.556).
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz became the first trio of pitchers honoured by the BBWAA in the same election. Along with Biggio, The group will be inducted into the Hall on July 26.
The tall and lanky Johnson was the leading vote-getter, being named on 534 of the 549 ballots cast (97.3 per cent). He was a five-time Cy Young Award-winner (with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and the Arizona Diamondbacks for four consecutive years beginning in 1999). Martinez, who won his first Cy Young with the Montreal Expos in 1997, and two more with the Boston Red Sox in 1999 and 2000, received 500 votes (91.9 per cent). Smoltz, the 1996 National League Cy Young winner with the Atlanta Braves, received 455 votes (82.9 per cent).
Biggio, who collected all of his 3,060 hits during a 20-year career with the Houston Astros, received 454 votes (82.7 per cent).
Long-time Expo Tim Raines, considered by many as one of the game's dominant leadoff hitters, fell short after securing 55 per cent of the vote. Raines has two more years of eligibility remaining.
Larry Walker, the slugger from Maple Ridge, B.C., who is in his fifth year on the ballot, also remains eligible after securing the support of 11.8 per cent of the voters.
Barry Bonds, baseball's all-time leader in home runs, and Roger Clemens, winner of seven Cy Youngs, continue to pay the price for suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds was named on 36.8 per cent of the ballots while Clemens came in at 37.5 per cent in what was the third year of voting eligibility for both players.