Braves duo could make history with joint Hall induction
Maddux, Glavine would be first teammates elected by BBWAA since Ford and Mantle
Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were key parts to an Atlanta Braves team that won an American professional record 14 consecutive division titles.
Now they have a chance to add another achievement to their resumes.
First-time candidates for the Hall of Fame, Maddux and Glavine could become only the second pair of teammates elected to the Hall of Fame in the same year by the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
They could join Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees, who were enshrined in 1974. Mantle was elected in his first year of eligibility. Ford was on the ballot for the second time.
There have been 18 induction ceremonies in which two players from the same organization were enshrined in the Hall of Fame. But in 17 of those cases, at least one of the inductees was elected by the Veterans Committee, meaning they had used up their 15 years of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot.
In 1946, the famed Cubs double-play trio of Joe Tinker to Johnny Evers to Frank Chance was inducted en masse, thanks to the vote of the Veterans Committee.
The most recent induction of multiple players from the same franchise came in 2000 when Tony Perez, representing the Cincinnati Reds, was elected by the BBWAA, and Bid McPhee was selected by the Veterans Committee. McPhee played for Cincinnati from 1882-99.
In that same Class of 2000 was former Reds manager Sparky Anderson, which gave Cincinnati three representatives recognized at Cooperstown that year. The Braves could match that. Bobby Cox, who Atlanta's general manager before returning to the dugout and managing the club to those 14 division titles, is among 12 candidates on the Veterans Committee ballot.
In addition to his success in Atlanta, Cox also managed the Toronto Blue Jays to the American League East title in 1985, the franchise's first postseason appearance.
A major oversight on the Veterans Committee ballot is John Schuerholz, who was the general manager during Atlanta's run of 14 consecutive division titles. Schuerholz not only oversaw Atlanta's record-setting run, but he was in the front office in Kansas City when the Royals advanced to the postseason seven times from 1976-85.
While the 73-year-old Schuerholz remains active as the Braves' president, executives 65 or older are eligible to be on the Veterans Committee ballot, even if they are still working.
There are 36 players on the BBWAA ballot this year, including 19 first-time candidates. The ballot is bigger than normal after the BBWAA did not elected a Hall of Famer last year for the first time since 1996.
This year's first-time eligibles include Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina, who appear likely for eventual induction. They join last year's list of first-timers that included Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa.
Jack Morris is on the ballot for the 15th and final time. Morris was listed on 67.7 percent of the ballots cast last year, second to Biggio, who was on 68.2 percent. No player has ever received that strong of support in his first 14 years of eligibility and not been eventually elected.
Another reason Morris is so well-respected among peers is that he pitched in seven postseason series, and six times he was selected to start Game 1 -- by Anderson, his manager in Detroit, Tom Kelly in Minnesota and Cito Gaston in Toronto. The one time Morris didn't start the series opener came in 1987, when he started Game 2 for Detroit in the AL Championship Series against Minnesota. Morris likely would have started Game 1, but he had thrown nine innings in a 3-2, 12-inning victory against Toronto in Game 161, helping clinch at least a tie for the AL East title.
Also running out of time on the ballot are Don Mattingly, who is appearing the for the 14th time, Alan Trammell, making his 13th appearance, and Lee Smith, who is being considered for the 12th time.
Thomas could be a key to eventual enshrinement for Edgar Martinez, who will be making his fifth appearance on the ballot. The biggest knock on Martinez has been that he was primarily a designated hitter during his career.
If Thomas is elected, he would become the first inductee who had more than half his career plate appearance in the DH role. Thomas had 5,698 plate appearances as a DH, 4,334 as a first baseman, and 45 as a pinch-hitter.
Martinez had 6,218 of his 8,674 career plate appearances in a DH role with Seattle. In the final 10 years of his career, he played a total of 235 1/3 innings in the field, including just five in 2001 and none from 2002-04.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.