Last Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony included the best class of players/managers in many years. Not since the 1999 Class of George Brett, Orlando Cepeda, Nolan Ryan, and Robin Yount were so many top stars enshrined at Cooperstown.
This group of six is arguably the best class in the last 15 years.
Maddux earned 97.2% of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) votes, with a 75% vote required for enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The four-time Cy Young Award winner was clearly one of the best, if not the best, pitcher of his generation, winning 355 games, collecting over 3300 Ks, and winning 18 Gold Gloves in his 23-year career.
Glavine, his Braves teammate for ten years, earned 91.9% of the BBWAA votes. Glavine picked up 305 wins in 22 seasons, along with two Cy Youngs and ten All-Star game appearances. He also grabbed four Silver Slugger Awards as best hitting pitcher.
Thomas picked up 83.7% of the votes cast and was easily the most emotional enshrinee of the weekend. The ‘Big Hurt’ smashed 521 HRs, knocked in 1704 RBIs, and slashed 301/419/555 in his 19-year career. The five-time All-Star also won two MVP Awards in the American League.
The trio of managers ranked among the best in baseball history.
Cox skippered the Braves for 25 years and the Toronto Blue Jays for four years. He won 2504 games, a 1995 World Series title, and five National League pennants.
LaRussa managed for 33 years–Chicago White Sox (7), Oakland (10), St. Louis (16)–claiming three World Series titles and six league pennants. He won 2728 games in his illustrious career.
Torre, not to be outdone, also was a nine-time All-Star in 18 seasons as a player, along with a batting title and an MVP Award. To top it off, he earned 2326 wins in 29 years as a manager (New York Mets, Atlanta, St. Louis, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles), along with four World Series and six pennants.
This class was one of the best ever with 300-game winners, a 500 HR hitter, and three World Series winning managers.
All in all, not a bad Sunday in Cooperstown.