2014 Baseball Hall of Fame: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas Lead Memorable Class
A trio of legendary players and three World Series-winning managers were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. on Sunday afternoon. Pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, first baseman Frank Thomas and managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre each accepted the honor by delivering speeches thanking the players, coaches, friends and family who helped them achieve the honor.
Fellow 300 game-winners Maddux and Glavine, each with long ties to the Braves’ organization, were welcomed along with their former manager Cox. All three men helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.
Like Maddux and Glavine, White Sox slugger Thomas was elected for induction by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January on the very first ballot on which he appeared. Cox, La Russa and Torre were unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame by the 16-member Expanison Era Committee last December.
On Saturday, the Hall of Fame board reduced a player’s eligibility from 15 years to 10, meaning Steroid Era stars like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, all of whom failed to gain enough support for induction in 2014, will have fewer chances to do so in the future. Three players already past the 10-year period Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell and Lee Smith — will remain eligible through their 15th ballot unless elected.
Listen to each 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees’ full acceptance speech below:
A four-time Cy Young Award winner, Greg Maddux won a staggering 355 games with the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Padres from 1986-2008. As his Hall plaque unveiled Sunday stated, Maddux was the “only hurler with 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks,” and he also won 18 Gold Glove Awards. He was named on 97.2 percent of all ballots.
A crafty left-handed pitcher, Tom Glavine won 305 games for the Braves and Mets from 1987 to 2008. He won two Cy Young Awards and was a 10-time National League All-Star. Glavine was named on 91.9 percent of all ballots.
The first player elected to the Hall of Fame to have played more than half of his games at designated hitter, Frank Thomas hit .301, with 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs, from 1990 to 2008 while with the White Sox, Athletics and Blue Jays. On Chicago’s roster for 16 of his 19 seasons, Thomas twice won the American League Most Valuable Player Award (1993, 1994). He was named on 83.7 percent of all ballots.
Fourth on baseball’s all-time wins list with 2,504, Bobby Cox guided the Atlanta Braves to 15 first-place finishes, including 14 in 15 years. A four-time manager of the year, Cox was also ejected from a major league-record 158 games.
Tony La Russa
Having managed three different franchises — the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals — into the post-season from 1979 to 2011, Tony La Russa finished with 2,728 wins, third best in MLB history. He guided the 1989 A’s and the 2006 and 2011 Cardinals to World Series championships, joining the late Sparky Anderson as the only managers in MLB history to win titles in both leagues.
A nine-time All-Star and 1971 National League MVP as a player, Joe Torre was an even greater manager, winning 2,326 games with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers from 1977 to 2010. Torre steered the Yankees to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons from 1996 to 2007, leading them to World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.