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Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza elected to Hall of Fame; Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling see big gains in support

Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza elected to Hall of Fame; Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling see big gains in support
In this Sept. 15, 2009, file photo, Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. smiles in the dugout during a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza were both voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a historic election was announced on Wednesday, but one of the big winners was former Orioles ace Mike Mussina.

In his first year on the ballot, Griffey received 99.3 percent of the vote -- he was named on 437 of the 440 ballots cast -- passing the 98.64 percent Tom Seaver received in 1992 for the highest percentage of votes in Hall of Fame voting history.

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Hall of Fame voting is done by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Griffey was also the first No. 1 overall pick to earn election to the Hall, while Piazza, regarded as the best power-hitting catcher in modern-day history, became the lowest draft pick to be voted into Cooperstown. Piazza received 83 percent of the vote in his fourth year of eligibility.

Jeff Bagwell, who received 71.6 percent of the vote, fell just 15 votes shy of election, and Tim Raines, who played briefly for the Orioles in 2001, fell 23 votes short, receiving 69.8 percent of the vote as he heads into his 10th and final year on the writer's ballot next year. Closer Trevor Hoffman received 67.3 of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

Mussina received the largest jump among the holdover candidates from last year, receiving 43 percent of the vote after garnering just 24.6 last year. Mussina took 20.3 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility in 2014.

While Mussina still fell well short of 75 percent needed to gain election, it positions the five-time All-Star and 270-game winner well moving forward. This was just his third year of eligibility, and players can remain on the ballot for 10 years provided they receive at least five percent every year.

Another former Orioles right-hander, Curt Schilling, also received a significant boost. Schilling received 52.3 percent of the vote after getting 39.2 percent in 2015.

Lee Smith, who was the Orioles' closer in 1994, received 34.1 percent this year in his second-to-last year on the ballot. He received 30.2 percent last year.

Sammy Sosa, a former Oriole whose candidacy has been hurt by his link to the performance-enhancing drug era and was in danger of falling off the ballot, stayed alive and actually received more votes this year, getting 7.0 percent of the voter after garnering 6.6 percent last year.

Two other players tied to the PED era, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both saw subtle gains. Clemens received 45.2 percent after taking 37.5 percent last year, while Bonds received 44.3 percent after getting 36.8 percent last year. Both are in their fourth year of eligibility. Mark McGwire fell off the ballot after failing to get elected in his 10th year of eligibility.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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