(CNN) — Pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and slugger Frank Thomas were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson announced Wednesday. All three were on the ballot for the first time.
It’s only the second time since 1936 that three players were elected in their first year of eligibility. George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were first-year players elected in 1999.
Maddux received 97.2% of the vote of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to lead the superstar class. Tom Glavine received 91.9%, and Frank Thomas had 83.7%. Craig Biggio fell 0.2 percentage points short of the requisite 75% for being elected.
In the history of the Baseball Hall of Fame, no player has ever been unanimously elected. The player who garnered the highest percentage was Tom Seaver, who had 98.84% of the vote in 1992.
Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa — who each won more than 2,000 games as managers — were unanimously elected by the Expansion Era Committee in December. They will be enshrined with the players on July 27 in Cooperstown, New York.
“It’s a tremendous class we’ll have in Cooperstown,” Idelson said.
Maddux and Glavine — both 300-game winners who won multiple Cy Young Awards — were together in Atlanta from 1993 to 2002 with Cox. They won a World Series together in 1995.
“You can’t help but be around a guy like Greg and pick something up and learn something from Greg,” Glavine said. “Congratulations to him. Tremendous career.”
Maddux won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995. He also won a record 18 Gold Glove Awards in his 23-year career. Maddux won 355 games with a 3.16 earned-run average, led the NL in ERA four times and won at least 15 games for 17 consecutive seasons. He played for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
“What an incredible honor, and to be able to share it with my teammate Glav,” Maddux said in a phone interview on MLB Network.
Glavine won the NL Cy Young in 1991 and 1998 and was a 10-time All-Star. He won 305 games in 22 seasons with the Braves and the New York Mets. He won 20 games in a season five times and won four Silver Slugger Awards.
Thomas won back-to-back American League MVP Awards with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994. He finished his 19-year career with 2,468 hits, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs. He played the majority of his games as a designated hitter, a first for the Hall of Fame.
After Biggio, Mike Piazza was the next-highest vote-getter with 62.2%. Jack Morris, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received 61.5%.
The class of 2014 will be much different than last year. In 2013, no players were inducted to Cooperstown for the first time since 1996. The headlining players then were from the heart of the steroid era: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, none of whom were close to getting in this year.
But many of the newcomers to this ballot were perceived to have had clean careers, making it one of the best in history.
A total of 36 players were up for election, and 19 were newcomers. The complete ballot: Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Armando Benitez, Craig Biggio, Bonds, Sean Casey, Clemens, Ray Durham, Eric Gagne, Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, McGwire, Morris, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, Richie Sexson, Lee Smith, J.T. Snow, Sosa, Thomas, Mike Timlin, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.