Griffey, Piazza, very different as draft picks, achieve highest honor

The game of baseball’s best players often go to the Hall of Fame, but MLB might not have seen their potential at first. The Seattle Mariners picked Ken Griffey in the first round and first overall pick of the 1987 draft. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked Mike Piazza in the 62nd round as the 1,390th pick in the 1988 draft. During that draft there were 1,433 picks and 97 percent of the players were picked before him. Jan. 6th, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., announced its 2016 class of honorees: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. They join players voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America since 1936.

The voting procedure considers baseball players who played in the majors for over 15 seasons. Five years must go by after a player’s retirement announcement before he can be eligible for the vote. Members of the BBWAA can votes on eligible players. The BBWAA does the voting and decides who goes into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Griffey is the first ballot-winner to get 99.32 percent of the votes approaching unanimous selection. Previously, the highest percentage was for Tom Seaver’s 98.84. Seaver is in the 1992 Class. Both Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza played in the MLB for over a span of 15 years. Ken Griffey Jr. played in the Major league Baseball as an outfielder (MLB) for 21 seasons. He was drafted in the first round by the Seattle Mariners in 1987. His MLB debut was April 3, 1989. During his debut he made a line drive double and one week later he made his first home run. He played for the Seattle Mariners from 1989-1999 and then he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds his hometown city. The reason he wanted to go back to play his hometown team was because of golfer Payne Stewart who died in a plane crash on October 25, 1999. He played for the Reds until 2008 and then he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for the last couple seasons of his professional career. After the 2010 season, he retired from the MLB with some records that still stand, and accomplishments that made Griffey Jr. a good player.

Mike Piazza played in the MLB as a catcher for sixteen season under multiple teams. He played for Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and Athletics. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and made his debut during September 1, 1992 and eleven days later he made his first home run. He played for the Dodger until 1998. During the first month of the 1998 MLB season the Los Angeles Dodgers traded him to the Florida Marlins. One week later he was traded to the New York Mets. He help the team during the 1999 and 2000 season making the playoffs. Especially, during the 2000 season the Mets made it to the World Series and it was known as the “Subway Series”. The Yankees won the World Series four to one. Before the 2005 season ended, the last game he wore a Mets uniform he had a standing ovation at Shea stadium. Piazza parted ways with the Mets when his seven-year contract expired. During the offseason as a free agent, the San Diego Padres signed him to a one year contract for the 2006 MLB season. After the 2006 season he was a free agent again and he was signed to a one year contract with the Oakland Athletics. After the 2007 MLB season, he announced that he was retiring from the Major Baseball League. The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on July 24, 2016 at Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will be presiding the awards to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza.

Will Walde, 16, is a junior at the Lab School of Washington in the District of Columbia.

 

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