Randy Johnson heads Hall of Fame's Class of 2015

Tue Jan 6, 2015 4:02pm EST
 
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Randy Johnson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday along with Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio, marking the first time since 1955 that four players were selected in one year.

Johnson and fellow pitchers Martinez and Smoltz gained entry on their first attempt while versatile hitter Craig Biggio made it on his third try in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Johnson, an intimidating force on the mound whose 6-foot-10 frame brought him the nickname "Big Unit," was the leading vote-getter of the group after being named on 534 of 549 ballots for 97.3 percent of the vote.

The hard-throwing lefty, who won 303 games during a 22-year career primarily spent with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, is second all-time in strikeouts with 4,875.

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, was a dazzling starter who deftly featured a sizzling fastball and jaw-dropping changeup.

The slightly-built Dominican right-hander, nearly a foot shorter than Johnson, led his league in earned-run average five times and finished his 18-season career 219-100 for a .687 winning percentage.

"Every time I stepped on the mound, I don't know if you realize that, but from the top of the mound, I was higher than anybody," the 5-foot-11 Martinez, who received 91.1 percent of the vote, told MLB TV.

"With that demeanor, I took the mound and I wanted to make sure I came across that way — I came across like I was the taller one. Believe it or not, my nickname in the Dominican is 'El Grande.'"   Continued...

 
May 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Randy Johnson throws out the first pitch at Chase Field to honor the 10th anniversary of his perfect game against the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports