Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza elected to baseball Hall of Fame – USA TODAY

Ken Griffey Jr., the sixth-leading home run hitter in history and one of the most complete players of his generation, and power-hitting catcher Mike Piazza were elected Wednesday to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Griffey set a record for highest vote percentage, as he was named on 437 of 440 ballots for 99.32%, breaking the record of 98.84% set by Tom Seaver in 1992. Piazza received 83% of the 75% of votes required for election.

In some ways they will enter the shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y., together as polar opposites. Griffey was baseball royalty all along, the son of a three-time All-Star who played 19 seasons in the majors, the last two alongside him. Junior was the first overall pick in the 1987 draft, reached the big leagues two years later and always seemed destined for greatness without the need of chemical enhancement.

Piazza was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft as a favor to his father, converted from first baseman to catcher and was dogged by steroid rumors for parts of his career. Nobody drafted that late ever made it to the Hall before.

Griffey sailed through in his first year of eligibility, as was expected of a player who earned an MVP award in 1997, was named to 13 All-Star teams and won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves as the Seattle Mariners’ center fielder. A seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, Griffey led the American League in home runs four times and finished with 630 career homers.

In a 10-year stretch from 1991-2000, he averaged 40 home runs, 113 RBI and a .976 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, before a series of injuries hampered his play during the second half of his 22-year career, after he joined his hometown Cincinnati Reds in 2000.

During his heyday in the mid-to-late ’90s, Griffey, teammate Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds were regarded as the premier position players of their era. But while the last two were later directly linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Griffey never aroused skepticism, which clearly helped his case with Hall voters.

Piazza, on the other hand, had to wait until his fourth year on the ballot partly because of suspicions that he rose from a 62nd-round draft pick to a 12-time All-Star with the help of steroids. Piazza was also never regarded as an accomplished fielder at a position where defense is typically the focus.

But oh, could he hit. Piazza won 10 consecutive Silver Slugger awards with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, and his 396 home runs as a catcher (427 overall) are the most of any backstop in history. A .308 career hitter, Piazza became the first catcher to compile 200 hits in a season, in 1997, and batted .300 or better nine years in a row.

He finished in the top five in NL MVP voting four times, including 2000, when he led the Mets to the 2000 World Series. After drawing 69.9% of the votes last year, Piazza figured to have a good chance to clear the threshold this time.

GALLERY: 2016 HALL OF FAME CLASS

***

VOTING RESULTS

Ken Griffey Jr., the sixth-leading home run hitter in history and one of the most complete players of his generation, and power-hitting catcher Mike Piazza were elected Wednesday to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Griffey set a record for highest vote percentage, as he was named on 437 of 440 ballots for 99.32%, breaking the record of 98.84% set by Tom Seaver in 1992. Piazza received 83% of the 75% of votes required for election.

In some ways they will enter the shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y., together as polar opposites. Griffey was baseball royalty all along, the son of a three-time All-Star who played 19 seasons in the majors, the last two alongside him. Junior was the first overall pick in the 1987 draft, reached the big leagues two years later and always seemed destined for greatness without the need of chemical enhancement.

Piazza was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft as a favor to his father, converted from first baseman to catcher and was dogged by steroid rumors for parts of his career. Nobody drafted that late ever made it to the Hall before.

Griffey sailed through in his first year of eligibility, as was expected of a player who earned an MVP award in 1997, was named to 13 All-Star teams and won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves as the Seattle Mariners’ center fielder. A seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, Griffey led the American League in home runs four times and finished with 630 career homers.

In a 10-year stretch from 1991-2000, he averaged 40 home runs, 113 RBI and a .976 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, before a series of injuries hampered his play during the second half of his 22-year career, after he joined his hometown Cincinnati Reds in 2000.

During his heyday in the mid-to-late ’90s, Griffey, teammate Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds were regarded as the premier position players of their era. But while the last two were later directly linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Griffey never aroused skepticism, which clearly helped his case with Hall voters.

Piazza, on the other hand, had to wait until his fourth year on the ballot partly because of suspicions that he rose from a 62nd-round draft pick to a 12-time All-Star with the help of steroids. Piazza was also never regarded as an accomplished fielder at a position where defense is typically the focus.

But oh, could he hit. Piazza won 10 consecutive Silver Slugger awards with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, and his 396 home runs as a catcher (427 overall) are the most of any backstop in history. A .308 career hitter, Piazza became the first catcher to compile 200 hits in a season, in 1997, and batted .300 or better nine years in a row.

He finished in the top five in NL MVP voting four times, including 2000, when he led the Mets to the 2000 World Series. After drawing 69.9% of the votes last year, Piazza figured to have a good chance to clear the threshold this time.

GALLERY: 2016 HALL OF FAME CLASS

***

VOTING RESULTS

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