January 28, 2018. Cooperstown, NY. **The Association Press apologies for the tardiness of this report. After a COVID-17 outbreak in the newsroom, remaining staff let this story slip through the cracks.** After the ballots were tallied, Cooperstown welcomed 3 new faces – all arms – to their ranks. John Smoltz, Kerry Wood and first ballot HOFer Dan Haren were all elected in.
Dan Haren was the 6th overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Seattle Steelheads, and was already up earning his first Cy Young in 2002 in his age 21 season. It would be the first on his incredible run of eight (!!) Cy Young awards in a stretch of ten years, a feat no era of baseball has ever seen. Injuries unfortunately forced Haren to call it quits earlier than fans would have liked, but he still amassed 3207 strikeouts (11.3 k/9), 201 wins, carried a lifetime ERA of 2.42 and WHIP of 0.93. Haren led the league in wins 3 times, ERA 5 times, WHIP 7 times, and WAR 6 times while being elected to 9 all star teams.
Next in was the 206 game winner John Smoltz, who needed 13 tries to get elected to the Hall. Smoltz began his career in the defunct Major League Baseball, playing 7 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, and was promptly drafted 6th overall by the New Orleans Voodoo in the inaugural UBA draft, immediately leading them to the first two WCS titles. Smoltz tallied 3007 strikeouts, sported a 3.42 career ERA and 1.26 career WHIP while earning just 5 trips to the all star game.
This year’s final inductee is flamethrower Kerry Wood. Wood was the second overall pick in the 1996 draft by the Coney Island Whitefish, where he played almost every year of his 16 year career. Wood dealt with elbow and back problems for the majority of his career, which kept him to only leading the league in strikeouts twice at the age of 22 and 24, but he still racked up 3204 k’s all together, sporting a career 2.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.
The full results can be seen below: