The Hall of Fame opened its doors Wednesday for former Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell, former Expos and Yankees outfielder Tim Raines and 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Bagwell, in his seventh year, got 86.2 percent of the vote. Raines, in his 10th and final year of eligibility, received 86.0 percent. Rodriguez, in his first year, received 76.0 percent.
Candidates need 75 percent of the vote from the eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. There were 442 ballots submitted, including two blank ones. A candidate needed 332 votes to be elected.
One candidate in his first year of eligibility and one in his second finished just short of 75 percent. Closer Trevor Hoffman picked up 74.0 percent of the vote in his second year on the ballot, finishing five votes short. First-timer Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) also will have to wait until next year.
Bagwell, Raines and Rodriguez will join former commissioner Bud Selig and longtime executive John Schuerholz as the Class of 2017 when the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held July 30 in Cooperstown, New York.
Bagwell, the 1994 NL MVP and a four-time All-Star, spent his entire career with Houston. He holds club records of 449 home runs and 1,529 RBIs. In 15 seasons, he had a .408 on-base average, a .540 slugging percentage and batted .297.
“I don’t even know how I’m supposed to react,” Bagwell said. “It’s like a whirlwind and fun and exciting. My family is very, very excited for this thing. I told my kids I’m still going to be their dad, so it is what it is. But I could not be more excited. It’s a weird thing to be a Hall of Famer. I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of crazy. It was cool.”
Bagwell, 48, played during the steroid era, and the belief is his candidacy was hurt by suspicions — never proven — that he used performance-enhancing drugs. As with Mike Piazza, who got in last year on his fourth try, the barriers seem to be coming down around players who are thought to have possibly used PEDs, but who never failed a drug test.
Raines, 57, was a key bench player on the Yankees’ World Series champions in 1996 and 1998. He was an All-Star in each of his first seven seasons with the Expos. Raines batted .294 with 2,605 hits, 1,330 walks and a .385 on-base percentage. He scored 1,571 runs and ranks fifth with 808 stolen bases. His 84.7-percent success rate is the best of any player with at least 400 attempted steals.
“It’s definitely the biggest day of my career,” Raines said. “The final chapter of my career. I’m looking forward to going to Cooperstown and giving my speech and being part of the Hall of Fame . . . Last night was probably the worst night I’ve had in the 10 years. Everything is out of your control. Until that phone rang, I was probably one of the most nervous guys — well, me and two other guys — on the face of the Earth.”
Raines will become the third Hall of Famer to represent the defunct Montreal franchise, joining Andre Dawson and the late Gary Carter.
Rodriguez, 45, who appeared in 33 games for the Yankees in 2008, spent the best part of his career with the Rangers. He also was the catcher for the 2003 Marlins, who beat the Yankees in the World Series. He was the 1999 AL MVP and won 13 Gold Gloves to go along with 311 home runs in a 21-year career. Rodriguez is the second catcher elected on the first ballot, joining Johnny Bench.
“I was having trouble sleeping for three days, I can tell you that,” Rodriguez said. “It was almost 25 years of professional baseball. I think it was a pretty amazing career. I loved the game of baseball and I took a lot of pride every single day, and I was a winner.”
Rodriguez was implicated as a steroid user in Jose Canseco’s book, “Juiced.” He has denied the accusations.
The class of 2018 could be packed if Hoffman and Guerrero make the leap to 75 percent. First-timers on next year’s ballot include Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel.
442 votes cast, 332 needed (percentage in parentheses)
Jeff Bagwell 381 (86.2)
x-Tim Raines 380 (86.0)
Ivan Rodriguez 336 (76.0)
Trevor Hoffman 327 (74.0)
Vladimir Guerrero 317 (71.7)
Edgar Martinez 259 (58.6)
Roger Clemens 239 (54.1)
Barry Bonds 238 (53.8)
Mike Mussina 229 (51.8)
Curt Schilling 199 (45.0)
x-Lee Smith 151 (34.2)
Manny Ramirez 105 (23.8)
Larry Walker 97 (21.9)
Fred McGriff 96 (21.7)
Jeff Kent 74 (16.7)
Gary Sheffield 59 (13.3)
Billy Wagner 45 (10.2)
Sammy Sosa 38 (8.6)
By receiving fewer than 23 votes (less than 5 percent) these players are no longer eligible for election:
Jorge Posada 17 (3.8)
Magglio Ordoñez 3 (0.7)
Edgar Renteria 2 (0.5)
Jason Varitek 2 (0.5)
Tim Wakefield 1 (0.2)
Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez and Matt Stairs received zero votes.
x-Final year on BBWAA ballot
HALL OF FAME NUMBERS