Ken Griffey Jr., who hit 630 home runs over a 22-year career, including 417 in two stints (1989-99, ’09-10) with the Seattle Mariners, heads a list of 15 new nominees for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2016, determined by a vote of the 475-member Baseball Writers Association of America, will be announced Jan. 6.
In addition to Griffey, the unanimous American League Most Valuable Player in 1997, other notable first-time candidates include RHP Trevor Hoffman and infielders David Eckstein, Troy Glaus and Mike Lowell. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by BBWAA members to gain election.
Others receiving sufficient support to remain on the BBWAA ballot for 2016 are pitchers Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina; first basemen Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire; second baseman Jeff Kent; Mariners third baseman/designated hitter Edgar Martinez; infielder Nomar Garciaparra and outfielders Barry Bonds, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa.
Griffey finished his career with 2,781 hits, made 13 All-Star teams, won 10 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger Awards. He led the AL in home runs four times and in 2005 was named the NL’s Comeback Player of the Year with the Cincinnati Reds. Griffey, who also played for the Chicago White Sox, drove in 100 or more runs eight times and scored 100 or more runs six times.
He belted five home runs in the inaugural, five-game AL Division Series against the New York Yankees in 1995 and scored the winning run in the clinching game, the most famous run in Mariners history.
Hoffman’s 601 career saves and 856 games finished are second only to Mariano Rivera’s respective totals of 652 and 952. Eckstein played for five clubs in 10 seasons and participated in nine postseason series, including World Series championships with the Angels in 2002 and the Cardinals in 2006.
Glaus was the World Series MVP in 2002 when he hit .385 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Lowell, a .279 hitter with 223 home runs over 13 seasons, was the MVP of the Boston Red Sox’s sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series and also earned rings with the Yankees in 1998 and the Marlins in 2003.
Other players new to the ballot with World Series rings are outfielders Garret Anderson (2002 Angels) and Jim Edmonds (2006 Cardinals), and second baseman Luis Castillo (2003 Marlins). Billy Wagner (422 career saves), lefty Mike Hampton (2000 NLCS MVP) are also on the ballot for the first time along with catchers Brad Ausmus and Jason Kendall, catcher-first baseman Mike Sweeney, infielder Mark Grudzielanek and outfielder Randy Winn.
Hampton (1993), Winn (2003-05) and Sweeney (2009-10) also had stints with the Mariners.
The complete ballot: Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Luis Castillo, Roger Clemens, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Jeff Kent, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Mike Sweeney, Alan Trammell, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Randy Winn.