As expected, former Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday. With 97.3 percent of the vote, the five-time Cy Young Award winner had the eighth highest percentage in the history of balloting, topped only by Tom Seaver (98.94), Nolan Ryan (98.7), Cal Ripken Jr. (98.5), Ty Cobb (98.2), George Brett (98.2), Hank Aaron (97.8) and Tony Gwynn (97.6).
Johnson is part of a four-person Hall of Fame class, joining Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Finishing well short of the required 75 percent mark was former Mariner Edgar Martinez, who got 27 percent of the votes, a slight increase from 25.2 percent a year ago.
While Johnson will likely go into Cooperstown as an Arizona Diamondback — he won four of his five Cy Young awards there, as well as a World Series MVP — he is the first Hall of Famer player to spend a significant portion of his career in a Seattle uniform. And even if Johnson doesn’t go in representing Seattle, the Mariners should be represented next year when Ken Griffey Jr. is eligible for the first time.
“The Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about,” Johnson told the Associated Press.
The left-hander has been pursuing a photography career since his retirement.
“I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away,” Johnson said. “In order to do that, you have to consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”
Here are the voting totals.
Randy Johnson 534 (97.3), Pedro Martinez 500 (91.1), John Smoltz 455 (82.9), Craig Biggio 454 (82.7), Mike Piazza 384 (69.9), Jeff Bagwell 306 (55.7), Tim Raines 302 (55.0), Curt Schilling 215 (39.2), Roger Clemens 206 (37.5), Barry Bonds 202 (36.8), Lee Smith 166 (30.2), Edgar Martinez 148 (27.0), Alan Trammell 138 (25.1), Mike Mussina 135 (24.6), Jeff Kent 77 (14.0), Fred McGriff 71 (12.9), Larry Walker 65 (11.8), Gary Sheffield 64 (11.7), Mark McGwire 55 (10.0), Don Mattingly 50 (9.1), Sammy Sosa 36 (6.6), Nomar Garciaparra 30 (5.5), Carlos Delgado 21 (3.8), Troy Percival 4 (0.7), Aaron Boone 2 (0.4), Tom Gordon 2 (0.4), Darin Erstad 1 (0.2), Rich Aurilia 0, Tony Clark 0, Jermaine Dye 0, Cliff Floyd 0, Brian Giles 0, Eddie Guardado 0, Jason Schmidt 0.
The Mariners issued the following statement on Johnson’s Hall of Fame election:
On behalf of the Mariners franchise and ownership, we wish to add our congratulations to Randy Johnson on his well-deserved election to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.
Randy began his career in Montreal, but began his ascent to the Hall of Fame here in Seattle.
After his arrival in 1989, he tossed his first no-hitter with the Mariners in 1990, had his breakthrough season in 1993 (when he was 19-8) and claimed his first Cy Young Award in 1995. No one who watched this fierce competitor dominate during his decade in Seattle — including his wins in Game 3 and, on one day rest, Game 5 of the 1995 Division Series vs. New York – had any doubt of him taking his rightful place in the Hall today.
During his 10 seasons in Seattle, Randy was a key member of the group of players that cemented the Mariners place in the region.
We are equally proud of the work Randy did off the field in Seattle, and note that even after his retirement, he continues to give his time in support of important causes, including his many visits to troops overseas.
Just as we watched with pride as Randy collected a Cy Young (1995), an ERA title (1995), made five All-Star Game appearances (1990, 1993-1995, 1997) and earned four strikeout crowns (1992-1995) in a Mariners uniform, we will watch with pride as Randy is inducted in Cooperstown this summer.