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Cooperstown welcomes Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza to Hall of Fame

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The list of baseball’s immortals has grown by two.

Ken Griffey Jr. set a record for votes, and Mike Piazza — perhaps the best hitting catcher of all time — joined him as their inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., was announced. The ceremony will be on July 24.

Piazza’s cause had been hurt by hints of steroid abuse, but there was never solid proof. However, steroid talk again kept Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall, as well as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

Jeff Bagwell missed getting into the Hall by 15 votes. He had 71.8 percent of the votes. Tim Raines, in his ninth of 10 seasons on the ballot, had 69.8 percent of the vote (23 votes short). Trevor Hoffman, in his first season on the ballot, had 67.3 percent (34 short).

Griffey’s vote was a landslide. He received 99.3 percent, or 437 of 440 votes. Piazza, who spent most of his career with the Mets, went in with 83 percent of the vote.

Griffey, who spent most of his time with the Mariners, told the Seattle Times he was “happy and shocked” to be elected. In 2,617 games, Griffey had 2,781 hits, 630 home runs and 1,836 RBI. He was elected to 13 All-Star Games, all as a starter. He led the majors in home runs four times.

Of those who missed, Curt Schilling had 52.3 percent, Clemens had 45.2 percent, Bonds had 44.3 percent, Edgar Martinez had 43.4, Mike Mussina had 43, Alan Trammell had 40.9, Lee Smith had 34.1, and Tampa’s Fred McGriff had 20.9.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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