NEW YORK (AP) — Ken Griffey Jr. has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame with the highest voting percentage ever, and Mike Piazza also is headed to Cooperstown.
Former White Sox star Tim Raines fell short again, as did Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell 315 votes (71.6 percent), Raines 307 (69.8 percent) and Trevor Hoffman 296 (67.3 percent) rounded out the top five.
A star slugger of the Steroids Era never tainted by accusations of drug use, Griffey was on 437 of 440 votes in his first appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. His 99.3 percentage topped Tom Seaver’s 98.84 in 1992. He appeared in 41 games for the White Sox in 2008.
“On behalf of the entire White Sox organization and our fans, I want to sincerely congratulate Ken on today’s election to the Hall of Fame, the highest and greatest honor bestowed on a baseball player,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Ken played on a division championship-winning team in 2008, and he provided Sox fans with great memories that will not be forgotten.”
Said Sox executive Ken Williams: “Even though his time with the White Sox was very brief, Ken was impactful, helping us win a division title in 2008. This honor is so well deserved, and I couldn’t be happier and more proud of our former player and our friend.”
Piazza, on the ballot for the fourth time, received 365 votes.
A player needs 75 percent to gain election. Bagwell missed by 15 votes and Raines by 23 in totals announced Wednesday.
After about 100 writers who no longer are active lost their votes under new rules, there were significant increases for a pair of stars accused of steroids use. Roger Clemens rose to 45 percent and Barry Bonds to 44 percent, both up from about 37 percent last year.