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Fred McGriff Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

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SAN DIEGO — In a vote that was each a unprecedented show of support for a single player and a powerful repudiation of the sport’s performance-enhancing drug era, baseball’s 16-person Contemporary Eras Committee unanimously voted the slugging first baseman Fred McGriff into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday evening.

At the identical time, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received lower than 4 votes of their first appearance in front of the committee — a alternative for the veterans committee — since dropping off the writers’ ballot last 12 months.

Players into account needed at the least 12 votes (75 percent) for election, and committee members were limited to 3 votes per ballot.

For McGriff, who spent a maximum 10 years on the writers’ ballot without receiving the 75 percent needed for election, the celebration was an extended time coming. Often known as the Crime Dog, after the cartoon crime prevention mascot McGruff, McGriff played for six franchises over 19 seasons and hit at the least 30 home runs in a season for five of them.

“What an honor. It’s a good looking night in Tampa, and I finally did it, I got in there,” McGriff said during a videoconference conducted shortly after Sunday evening’s announcement. “I’ve been totally blessed my whole life and I proceed to be blessed. It’s quite an honor to be elected into the Hall of Fame. I would like to thank the committee. I comprehend it’s tough deciding who to vote for.”

But in McGriff’s first appearance on an Eras ballot, voters didn’t have difficulty checking the box next to his name.

Not only was he the primary player in history to wallop 30 or more homers for five different clubs, he also became the primary player to be the single-season home runs leader in each league for the reason that Dead Ball Era. He smashed 36 for Toronto to top the American League in 1989 and 35 for San Diego in 1992 to pace the National League.

But by the tip of the Nineteen Nineties, those mid-30s totals can be diminished by the cartoonishly contorted numbers that some sluggers were producing as P.E.D.s ran unchecked. Just six seasons after McGriff’s 35 led the N.L., Mark McGwire smashed 70 home runs to determine a latest single-season record in Major League Baseball. McGwire hit 65 more to guide the N.L. in 1999 and Bonds set the present single-season mark with 73 in 2001.

By the point McGriff retired in 2004, with 493 profession home runs, the facility landscape was within the means of becoming inextricably altered.

“Through the years, it was about consistency,” McGriff said when asked Sunday evening about being overshadowed by players suspected of using steroids, treading flippantly around the topic. “I put lot into this game. I worked hard to get so far, possibly just play one game in the massive leagues. I exceeded all expectations.”

He continued: “You control what you possibly can control, and in case you can’t control it you waft. Through the years, you could have people coming up asking you about it.”

McGriff, while playing for Toronto, San Diego, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, also finished with 1,550 R.B.I. A left-handed hitter, he was a five-time All-Star and helped power Atlanta to a World Series title in 1995. He finished in top 10 in most useful player voting five times.

Yet in a decade on the writers’ ballot, he received little traction. Sometimes, he said, he would change into frustrated because “if I hit 500 home runs, I’m an incredible player, and if I hit 493, I’m an excellent player.”

Bonds finished with a record 762 profession home runs and 7 N.L. Most Useful Player Awards, yet stays on the skin of the Hall looking in. He dropped off the writers’ ballot after obtaining 66 percent of the vote in his final appearance last 12 months and received a lower percentage Sunday in his first appearance in front of the Eras Committee.

After McGriff, Don Mattingly received eight votes, Curt Schilling got seven and Dale Murphy got six. Albert Belle, Bonds, Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro each received lower than 4 votes but no total was specified for any of the 4.

Initially, there have been seven Hall of Fame players on the committee but Chipper Jones was a last-minute scratch with the coronavirus and was replaced by the Diamondbacks executive Derrick Hall. Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell were on the committee, together with seven executives (Paul Beeston, Theo Epstein, Hall, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter and Ken Williams), two media members (LaVelle E. Neal III and Susan Slusser) and a historian (Steve Hirdt).

“It was awesome to listen to I used to be voted in unanimously,” McGriff said. “Through the years, I’ve run into a number of ex-players and teammates and so they all were like, ‘Aw, Fred, you had an incredible profession, you should be in that Hall of Fame’ and so forth,” McGriff said. “It’s just one in every of those things. It’s an incredible honor.”

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