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Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza head into MLB Hall of Fame

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On Sunday,  the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York will open its doors and welcome two new members.

They include former MLB outfielder Ken Griffery Jr and former MLB catcher Mike Piazza. Ken Griffery Jr ended up playing for 22 seasons mostly for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds. He had a brief one year run playing for the White Sox. On the other side, Mike Piazza ended up playing for 16 seasons for mostly the Dodgers and the Mets. He had brief runs with the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics.

It is a no-brainer of why both of these players are getting their names enshrined in the Hall of Fame. If you look at Ken Griffery Jr’s numbers, they are 13x All-Star, 10 time Gold Glove award, 7 time Sliver Slugger, 1997 AL MVP, 1992 MLB All-Star MVP, 630 Home Runs, 2,781 Hits, .284 BA and 1,836 RBIs. The numbers alone would be a great indication to why he should be getting put in the Hall of Fame. It should also be mentioned that this was Griffey’s first year of eligibility of being on the ballot.

On the other side, if you look at the numbers of Mike Piazza over his career, they are  12 x All Star, 10 time Sliver Slugger, 1993 NL Rookie of the Year, 427 Home Runs (most among catchers), .308 BA, and 1,335 RBIs. This is Piazza’s fourth attempt on the ballot. It should be noted that the one thing that is hovering over the inductees now and going further is the Steroid Era. Many of the players who are on the ballot now unfortunately, may not get in because of the Steroid era.

It is starting to also hit me that I am getting old as well because I remember clear as day watching Griffey and Piazza both play. I always figured they would both get into the  Hall of Fame eventually. My prediction for the class of 2017 include Jeff Bagwell (71.6 % on this years ballot) and Tim Raines (69.8 % on this year ballot). You can watch the inductions for the Hall of Fame tomorrow morning on MLB Network.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Mike Piazza is planning on saluting Mets fans in his speech tomorrow. He also admitted that he will have watery eyes tomorrow as he gets inducted.

In other news coming from the Hall of Fame, St. Louis Cardinals HOF Ozzie Smith has been added to the Board of Directors. He is the 16th member to join the board that includes HOFers Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Phil Niekro and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. “We are happy to welcome Ozzie Smith to the Board of the Directors,” said Clark.

“ From the moment he was inducted in Cooperstown in 2002, Ozzie has actively engaged in the Museum’s initiatives. His commitment to the Hall of Fame is very strong. As the institution’s first Education Ambassador, he has lent his support and participation annually to the Hall of Fame Classic and his own PLAY Ball program, which have both educated countless fans about our National Pastime and also brought them closer to the Hall of Fame’s mission of preserving history, honoring excellence, and connecting generations.” When Smith was asked for a reaction to being added to the Board of the Directors, he said, “ I take what the Hall does seriously, and I am honored to be on the board.”

In addition to adding Ozzie Smith to the Board of the Directors, they have made some changes to the players who the veteran’s committee vote in. These are the players who are not voted in during their eligible time on the ballot. One of the first changes that was made was the Election eras. Prior to the announcement today, the original eras went as follows: Pre Intergration Era (1871-1946), Golden Era (1947-1972) and Expansion Era (1973-2016).

Now the Eras are as followed: Early Baseball (1871-1949), Golden Era (1950- 1969), Modern Era (1970-1987) and Today’s Game (1988-2016). In my opinion, this was done to help where players should end up as it makes it more specific than it was before hand. Other changes include the ballot size, the waiting period, and the frequency.

Prior to the announcement today, the ballot size for Pre Integration and the Golden Era were 10 managers, umpires, and execs. The Expanision Era had 12 managers, umpires, and execs that were eligible. Now it is ten across any era. The waiting period under the original rules was you needed to wait one year and now there is no wait time at all. Finally, the frequency of the voting on these era has changed as well.

Under the original rules, the Pre- Integration era, the Golden Era and the Expansion era held their vote once every three years. Under the new rules, the Early Baseball era votes once every ten years, the Golden Era votes once every five years, the Modern Era and Today Game eras votes twice every five years.

Also going further, this process will be going to a yearly process. As MLBPA president Tony Clark said,“Notably, there are twice as many players in the Hall of Fame who debuted before 1950 as compared to afterward, and yet there are nearly double the eligible candidates after 1950 than prior,” said Clark. “Those who served the game long ago and have been evaluated many times on past ballots will now be reviewed less frequently.” The Golden Era and the Early Baseball Era will return to the ballot in 2030.

In addition, the Board has made changes to the criteria for executives to get voted in. Under the original rules, the age to be considered was 65. As of now that age was bumped up to 70 and over. If you look at the current executives, the list of eligible candidates is very thin. They include Peter Angelos (Owner of the Orioles) who is 86 years old, Jeffery Loria ( Owner of the Marlins) who is 75 years old, Fred Wilpon ( Owner of the Mets) who is 79 years old and David Montgomery ( Owner of the Phillies) who is 70.

There were other changes made as well to the Ford Frick Award as the Board made it clearer as to how the voting process goes for it

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com