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Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines on doorstep, but field will be just as crowded next year

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

So, the Hall of Fame didn't do a great job of disguising their big announcement this evening:

Despite subsequent attempts to cover its tracks, it still spoiled the news: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will head to the Hall of Fame as Cooperstown's regretfully small Class of 2016.

Griffey sailed into the Hall of Fame with 99.3% percent of the vote, giving him the highest vote total of all time.

  1. Ken Griffey Jr. 99.31
  2. Tom Seaver, 98.84
  3. Nolan Ryan, 98.79
  4. Cal Ripken Jr., 98.53
  5. Ty Cobb, 98.23

Piazza completed his climb to Cooperstown in his fourth year, finally crossing the threshold with votes to spare at 83%.

Jeff Bagwell (71.6%) and Tim Raines (69.8%) are left hoping to follow Piazza's lead next year. Some of the backlog should be relieved for those who are close to 75 percent -- besides Griffey and Piazza, Mark McGwire (12.3%) and Alan Trammell (40.9%) will also be off the ballot, as they exhausted their 10 and 15 years of eligibility, respectively.

However, those four spots will be replaced by formidable first-timers like Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Jorge Posada, among others. And with the field already crowded enough to force guys like Jim Edmonds (2.5%) off the ballot in their first year, the immediate future remains as murky as ever.