Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the 2016 class on Wednesday. Griffey, who was eligible for the first time in his career, set a record by appearing on 99.32 percent of the ballots (437 of 440).
Tom Seaver, elected in 1992, held the previous high with 98.84 percent. Griffey is the first No. 1 overall draft pick in MLB history voted into the Hall of Fame.
Piazza, taken by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, is the lowest-drafted player elected to the Hall of Fame.
He was in his fourth year on the ballot and received 365 of 440 votes (83 percent). Last year Piazza received 69.9 percent.
Players need a minimum of 75 percent to get enshrined at Cooperstown.
Piazza is the 48th player with ties to the Dodgers franchise to get elected to the Hall of Fame. He now replaces Pedro Martinez (2015) as the most-recent player who fits that description.
While a trade to the then-Florida Marlins in 1998 has left a bad taste in the catcher’s mouth, the club that drafted him remains grateful and appreciative of his time spent in Los Angeles.
“Congratulations to Mike, an outstanding ballplayer and a great man,” Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda said.
“I couldn’t be prouder of him after seeing his hard work to go from a 62nd round pick and converted catcher to one of the best ever at his position and now, a fellow Hall of Famer. I’d also like to congratulate Mike’s family and everyone back in Norristown (PA) on this honor.”
Dodgers president and CEO also heaped praise on one of baseball’s greatest catchers. “Congratulations to Mike Piazza and his family—this is truly a special day for both Mike and the Dodger organization,” Kasten said.
“We are very proud of the fact that the best-hitting catcher in baseball history began his Major League career in Los Angeles.” Piazza debuted with the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 1992 and won National League Rookie of the Year the following season.
Over parts of seven seasons with the Dodgers, Piazza hit .331/.394/.572 with 177 home runs, 563 RBIs and was a five-time All-Star. He spent eight seasons with the New York Mets and is expected to don a Mets cap on his plaque.
Griffey won 10 Gold Gloves during his 22-year career. The famed Seattle Mariners center fielder ranks sixth on the all-time home runs list with 630. He won the American League MVP Award in 1997.
Griffey and Piazza will be inducted on Sunday, July 24 during ceremonies in Cooperstown.