Ex-Expos Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson elected to Hall of Fame
Smoltz, Biggio also to be enshrined in Cooperstown
Former Montreal Expos pitchers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, along with John Smoltz and Craig Biggio, have been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.
Martinez played for Montreal from 1994 to 1997. He won the Cy Young Award as the National League's top pitcher in his final season with the Expos before being traded to Boston, where he won the American League version of the award twice.
Johnson made 11 appearances for the Expos at the start of his big-league career in 1988 and '89 before being traded to Seattle, where the 6-foot-10 "Big Unit" developed into one of the most feared pitchers in history. He won his first Cy Young with Seattle in 1995, and later claimed four in a row with Arizona between 1999 and 2002.
"The Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about," said Johnson.
Johnson, who finished with 303 victories and 4,875 strikeouts, was selected on 534 of 549 ballots by veteran members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. His 97.3 percentage was the eighth-highest in the history of voting.
Martinez, who appeared on 500 ballots (91.1 per cent), was 219-100, struck out 3,154, led the major leagues in ERA five times and in 2004 helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.
"I saw everybody as an enemy, and I saw everybody as like in a jungle: You just kill to survive. And that's the intensity and the focus I had to keep to do it every day on a day-to-day basis...that was my way to concentrate and do the day to day things that I did in baseball," said Martinez.
Smoltz was picked on 455 ballots (82.9 percent) and will join former Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted last summer along with Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Smoltz, the 1996 NL Cy Young winner, was 213-155 with 154 saves, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He went 15-4 in the postseason.
Biggio appeared on 454 ballots, 42 more than the 75 per cent needed and up from 68.2 per cent in his first appearance and 74.8 per cent last year. He had 3,060 hits in 20 big league seasons, all with the Houston Astros.
Baseball writers elected four players for the first time since 1955, with Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz earning induction on the first try Tuesday. Biggio made it on the third attempt after falling two votes shy last year.
The quartet will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 26.
Steroid-tainted stars left out
The Baseball Writers' Association of America had not given four players the necessary 75 per cent in a single year since selecting Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance 60 years earlier.
Steroids-tainted stars Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa remained far from election.
Clemens received 37.5 per cent and Bonds 36.8 pe rcent. Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young winner and a back-to-back recipient in 1997 and '98 with the Toronto Blue Jays, started at 37.6 percent in 2013 and dropped to 35.4 last year; Bonds, the only seven-time MVP, began at 36.2 and fell to 34.7.
McGwire, in his ninth and next-to-last year of eligibility, received 10 per cent, down from 11 last year and less than half his peak of 23.6 per cent in 2008. Sosa was on 6.6 per cent of the ballot, down from 12.5 in 2013 and 7.2 last year but above the 5 per cent threshold for remaining on next year's list.
"I'm proud I did it in an era that the challenge was at the top," he said. "I had to face probably the toughest matchup out there. Well, guess what: I wouldn't want it any other way. I wanted to beat the best. I wanted to be the best I could be every time I went out there.
"I wanted to embarrass the best team out there. I wanted to. I meant to," he said. "Any time I had an opportunity to embarrass any team in the big leagues, including the ones using PEDs, it was a great honor to do it."
Jeff Bagwell was at 55.7 per cent, followed by former Expo Tim Raines at 55 per cent and Curt Schilling at 39.2 per cent. Other players included Lee Smith (30.2), Edgar Martinez (27), Alan Trammell (25.1) and Mike Mussina (24.6).
Don Mattingly received 9.1 per cent in his 15th and final appearance on the ballot. Under a change made by the Hall's board last summer, players' eligibility was cut from 15 years to 10 but the 11-15 group was grandfathered.
Gary Sheffield (11.7 per cent) and Nomar Garciaparra (5.5) will remain on the ballot.
Among the 17 first-time eligibles who will be dropped are former Blue Jay Carlos Delgado (3.8 per cent) and players' association head Tony Clark, who did not get any votes.
With files from The Associated Press