On HOF ballot day, look back at the careers of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz
It's Hall of Fame ballot day, and we all know who we're most excited for. Let's say it at the same time. Ready? One, two, three -- Brian Giles!
No? Not what you were thinking? That's okay, we'll try again.
Cliff Floyd! Darin Erstad!
OK, so maybe we're not entirely on the same page, but along with Gary Sheffield, Carlos Delgado, Tony Clark, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Troy Percival, Jason Schmidt, Rich Aurilia and Aaron Boone, they're all on the Hall of Fame Ballot for the first time this year.
Oh, and so are Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. Were they who you were thinking of?
Over his 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, Randy Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, was an All-Star 10 times, and pitched two no-hitters. One, of course, was a perfect game:
Along with Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Nolan Ryan and last year's HOF inductee Tom Glavine, the Big Unit is a member of the 300-win club, with a career 303-166 record. With 4,875 Ks, he also joins fellow nominees Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz as members of the 3,000-strikeout club -- an elite group of 16 that also includes Greg Maddux (another recent HOFer), Phil Niekro and Tom Seaver.
He also proved that in the eternal struggle of man versus nature, man often wins in mesmerizing, horrible ways:
But in his post-baseball career as a photographer, he's established a more peaceful relationship with the animal kingdom.
Pedro Martinez might not have won 300 games, but with a 219-100 record, he has the second-highest winning percentage in baseball's modern era. With the Red Sox, it was .760. He also has the highest ERA+ for any starting pitcher, um, ever. From August 19 to Sept. 27, 1999, he pitched eight consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts. One of those games was his one-hit, 17-K victory over the Yankees:
Plus, vote for Pedro and you get ice cream. But leave your Napoleon Dynamite jokes at the door.
Most of us are only good at one thing, and if we're being totally honest, we're just mediocre anyway. But not John Smoltz. He's the second pitcher in history to have a 20-win season and a 50-save season, and the only one to have at least 200 wins and at least 150 saves. In 1996, he won a Cy Young and in 1997, he got himself a Silver Slugger. In 2008, he recorded a 10-K night, including his 3,000th career strikeout:
He has the second-highest number of postseason wins, his 15 are second only to Andy Pettitte's 19. He still leads former teammates and HOFers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, who have 14 and 11, respectively. Maybe he'll mention that if he gets the opportunity to get back at them after their induction speeches last year.
And don't forget - he has the endorsements that count:
If you think John Smoltz is HOF-worthy, you might be smarter than a fifth grader. Or something like that.