Baseball Hall Welcomes Four

The baseball writers announced the election of four new members to the Hall Of Fame on Tuesday: pitchers Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and John Smoltz along with infielder Craig Biggio.

The Hall is almost certainly going to decide to put an Arizona Diamondbacks hat on Randy’s plaque, as that is the team he had his best seasons with. So we’ll have to wait one more year to get a “true Mariner” in there (Ken Griffey Jr. is eligible for election next year and it would be stunning if he didn’t get in on the first ballot).

The internet is full of great stuff about the new HOFers, but I started thinking about their Triple-A days.

Randy Johnson came up through the Montreal Expos organization when their Triple-A affiliate was in Indianapolis. He spent most of 1988 and a little bit of 1989 with Indy. He did make a total of five PCL starts for Tucson in 2002, 2007, and 2008 – these were injury rehabilitation starts, and none of them came against Tacoma.

John Smoltz was traded as a minor leaguer from Detroit to Atlanta, and he pitched in Triple-A for the Braves affiliate in Richmond, Virginia in 1987 and 1988 (Richmond is now a Double-A team). In the last year of his career, Smoltz made three appearances for Pawtucket in 2009.

Pedro Martinez was signed and developed by the Dodgers, reaching Triple-A Albuquerque in 1991. He made 27 starts for the Dukes from 1991 to 1993 so it seems likely that he faced the Tacoma Tigers at some point. Did he ever pitch at Cheney Stadium? This was before my time.

(An interesting shared trait among the three pitchers: each was traded very early in his career, when he was essentially still a “prospect.”)

Craig Biggio played a half-season in the PCL with the Tucson Toros in 1988, appearing in 77 games. That was his only Triple-A time. He probably played against Tacoma during that season and maybe even appeared at Cheney Stadium, but unfortunately we don’t have any historical records to confirm.

I wonder if we’ll see a future Hall Of Famer play at Cheney Stadium in 2015?

Links:

  • The News Tribune was all over the Randy Johnson Hall Of Fame story. Bob Dutton has a news story on the vote which includes all voting totals, John McGrath has a column, and the paper ran a historical photo gallery.
  • Here’s the Seattle Times story on Johnson’s election.
  • In a conference call with the baseball media, Johnson endorsed Edgar Martinez‘s Hall Of Fame candidacy.
  • The City of Memphis and the St. Louis Cardinals have teamed up to make nearly $5 million in improvements to AutoZone Park (note: the Cardinals now own their Triple-A affiliate). Here is the list of improvements – for my fellow RGs, there are no listed changes to the visiting radio booth/storage room.

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