Today it was announced that Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio were all inducted into the Hall of Fame. I did not really pay attention to who all was on the ballot this year, but these four are definitely deserving. These next bunch of HOF groups will be fun for me since these players started their careers when I was a young man. They are the players I remember while growing up.
Randy Johnson was probably the most dominant pitcher that I can remember seeing. Granted, Pedro was probably more dominant, but I saw the Big Unit against the Pirates. Pedro was with the Red Sox and well, who watches American League games?
I have a few memories about Randy. One was an article I read about him and Curt Schilling. The article mentioned how Curt had a laptop that he used to keep track of every hitter he faced. He would have detailed information about what pitch he threw and what the count, etc. He said that during a game, Randy was about to head out and Curt said something like “hey, do you want to know what this guy likes?” Randy responded “nope, he is getting fastballs and sliders.” The article said their styles were so different, Curt was scientific and smart, while Randy just pitched with emotion, mainly just pure rage.
I also remember an awesome game where Johnson pitched a complete game and in the 9th inning, he was still throwing between 98-100. And then there was the fantastic moment when he hit a bird.
During the Braves dominance, I always thought Smoltz was the second best of the big three. I felt like he was always shutting down the Pirates. For some reason I always liked him. No reason why, he just seemed like a good guy.
Craig Biggio was probably the biggest enigma. He played with Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, so those guys got a big chunk of the spotlight. I remember when Biggio got his 3000th hit, well more like when he got up around 2900. I was basically blown away that this guy had achieved so much and was going to join the illustrious 3000 Hit Club. I believed though that he was not HOF-worthy. He had a long career, did that really make him one of the greats? I considered him just very good. Then I did some looking into that career. He ranks fifth all-time in doubles. That is impressive. And he was a fantastic fielder. Another impressive stat is that he is number two in getting hit by pitches. As a younger man, I did not appreciate that, but it has to hurt and can do some serious damage. How did he not just stand further away from the plate?
Anyways, congratulations to those players!