Ken Griffey Jr. sets Hall of Fame record with 99.3 percent of baseball writers' vote

Cincinnati Kid not too superstitious for Hall now
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2017-01-18 16:06:10-05

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. says his superstitions have stopped him from stepping foot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But he'll probably be willing to walk past a black cat and under a ladder to go through the front door this summer.

Griffey will surely want to see his likeness in the hallowed hall at Cooperstown after breaking the record with the highest percentage of votes for election.

"The Cincinnati Kid"  was named on 99.3 percent of the ballots - 437 of 440 - leaving three baseball writers to explain why they left him off. Tom Seaver held the record (98.84) since 1992.

Griffey said he was "happy and shocked" by the overwhelming support. "Happy to get into such an elite club," the  Mariners and Reds superstar said. "And shocked because anytime people say [high praise] about you, it means a lot."

Asked if he was disappointed to be so close to unanimous, he said: "I can't be upset. It's just an honor to be elected and to have the highest percentage is definitely a shock."

HALL OF FAME WHO DIDNT: Everybody's asking "Who didn't vote for Griffey?" But so far no one is fessing up. Voters don't have to reveal their ballots, but many do - some in columns and blogs. The BBWAA's website has a page where voters can record their ballot. Nearly 130 had done so as of 9 p.m. Wednesday and all of them said they had voted for Griffey.

Griffey said he played in exhibition games there during his career but never visited baseball's shrine or even looked at the front of it, so not to jinx his chances for election.

"In case you don't know, I'm really superstitious. I've played in the Hall of Fame game three times and I've never set foot in the building. I've never even seen the front of it," Griffey said. "The one time I wanted to go in there, I wanted to be a member."

Ken Griffey Jr. talks about his Hall of Fame election on MLB Network.

Griffey will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 24 along with Mike Piazza, the only other player elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza, on the ballot for the fourth time, received 365 votes.

SEE the complete vote here or below.

Griffey will become the third homegrown player of the modern era in the Hall of Fame, joining Reds teammate Barry Larkin and former Tigers and Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning. Both Griffey and Larkin graduated from Moeller High School. Griffey was the No. 1 pick in the 1987 draft right out of high school.

Ken Griffey Jr. was 17 when the Mariners drafted No. 1 in 1987

Griffey is the 32nd Reds player elected to Cooperstown. The Reds are also represented by 12 managers and executives.

SEE Bench, Larkin, other Reds notables salute Griffey

SEE the Reds representatives in the Hall of Fame.

Griffey has said he would go into the Hall as a Mariner, with his plaque depicting him in a Seattle "S" cap, not a Cincinnati "C". That's because Griffey had his best years in Seattle and carries his fondest memories from his Mariners days (even though he hit his 500th and 600th homers as a Red).

Junior got to be teammates with his dad, Big Red Machine right fielder Ken Griffey Sr., in Seattle in 1990-91, and father and son even hit back-to-back homers in a Mariners game.

Ken Griffey Jr. was playing for the Mariners while his dad played for the Reds in 1989. (Photo provided by Brian Goldberg)

Griffey, now 46, hit  630 home runs - sixth all-time -  and had 2,781 hits in his 22-year career. He won 10 Gold Gloves in center field and seven Silver Slugger Awards (all with the Mariners) and was a 13-time All-Star (10 in Seattle, three in Cincinnati).

SEE Griffey's career stats.

Griffey was 19 when he debuted with the Mariners in 1989 and went on to play 11 seasons in Seattle, leading the AL in homers four times. He had his best year in 1997 when he led the league with 56 homers, 147 RBI and 125 runs and won MVP.

Cincinnati celebrated and gave Griffey had a huge homecoming when he was traded to the Reds before the 2000 season, but injuries hampered him in 8-1/2 seasons here (2000-2008).

Griffey's best year with the Reds was his first year when he had 40 homers, 118 RBI and 100 runs. He was traded to the White Sox during the 2008 season, returned to the Mariners for 2009 and retired early in 2010.

Jeff Bagwell missed election by 15 votes and Tim Raines was short 23 in totals announced Wednesday. A player needs to be named on 75 percent of the ballots to gain election.

After about 100 writers who no longer are active lost their votes under new rules, there were significant increases for a pair of stars accused of steroids use. Roger Clemens rose to 45 percent and Barry Bonds to 44 percent, both up from about 37 percent last year, but far short of the needed 75 percent.

VOTING RESULTS: Ken Griffey Jr. 437 (99.3), Mike Piazza 365 (83.0), Jeff Bagwell 315 (71.6), Tim Raines 307 (69.8), Trevor Hoffman 296 (67.3), Curt Schilling 230 (52.3), Roger Clemens 199 (45.2), Barry Bonds 195 (44.3), Edgar Martinez 191 (43.4), Mike Mussina 189 (43.0), Alan Trammell 180 (40.9), Lee Smith 150 (34.1), Fred McGriff 92 (20.9), Jeff Kent 73 (16.6), Larry Walker 68 (15.5), Mark McGwire 54 (12.3), Gary Sheffield 51 (11.6), Billy Wagner 46 (10.5), Sammy Sosa 31 (7.0), Jim Edmonds 11 (2.5), Nomar Garciaparra 8 (1.8), Mike Sweeney 3 (0.7), David Eckstein 2 (0.5), Jason Kendall 2 (0.5),  Garret Anderson 1 (0.2), Brad Ausmus 0, Luis Castillo 0, Troy Glaus 0, Mark Grudzielanek 0, Mike Hampton 0, Mike Lowell 0, Randy Winn 0.