The 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class is arguably one of the greatest of all-time, as the MLB plans to enshrine six legendary players and managers to grace the game. With unparalleled talent that dominated all aspects of the field, the class of 2014 has left a legacy on Major League Baseball history that will be forever enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame as of Sunday, July 27th 2014.
Despite being known as the leader in ejections within the MLB, former Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, ranks fourth on the all-time wins list among managers. Due to Cox’s strong leadership, the Braves created a baseball dynasty during the 1990’s and 2000’s. Atlanta won their division for an astounding 15 consecutive seasons and took home the 1995 World Series championship, all while under Bobby Cox’s management. After etching his name in baseball history, Bobby Cox’s jersey number 6 was retired by the Atlanta Braves and he was a unanimous selection for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joining the storied manager, Bobby Cox, in Cooperstown this year is another unforgettable member of the Atlanta Braves; Tom Glavine. The former Braves pitcher consistently dominated the mound during his 22-season Major League career. Despite his short stint with the New York Mets, Glavine is best remembered for his 17 years in Atlanta. The 300 game-winner put up numbers like no other, and Glavine finished his illustrious career with ten MLB All-Star Game selections, two National League Cy Young Awards, and a World Series MVP title. Deservedly so, Tom Glavine was a first ballot Hall of Fame selection in just his first year of eligibility.
No major league player was more talked about during the 1990’s than Greg Maddux. Pitching megastar, also known as “Mad Dog” Maddox, spent the majority of the career playing for the Chicago Cubs and, ironically, the Atlanta Braves where his play was nothing short of extraordinary. In addition to earning eight MLB All-Star selections, Maddux’s name was solidified in baseball history upon recording the unbelievable feat of winning four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards from 1992 through 1995. He was also a three-time NL wins leader, four-time NL ERA leader, and an 18-time Gold Glove winner. Maddux is one of the few players in Major League history to have their number retired by two different teams and will join the likes of the greatest baseball players ever in the Hall of Fame.
Few managers in baseball history are as talented as Tony La Russa was during his three full decades holding a leadership position in the MLB. No matter what jersey the once remarkable infielder played for, La Russa brought an unmatched level of success to his team. La Russa went on to be named the MLB Manager of the Year title on four different occasions. He also won the award at least once with each of the three different teams he managed for, which includes the White Sox, Athletics, and Cardinals, in addition to winning a World Series in three different decades. La Russa led the dominant Oakland Athletics teams of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, in addition to the St. Louis Cardinals dynasty that made three World Series appearances and took home two title. After a renowned career as both a player and manager, it goes without saying that Tony La Russa was a unanimous selection to the 2014 Hall of Fame class.
There are few nicknames in baseball history that have been more appropriate than the “Big Hurt”, a title that was given to legendary White Sox slugger, Frank Thomas. Thomas was known for his natural ability to knock a ball out of the park and finished his career with over 520 home runs and 1,700 RBIs. Often regarded as the greatest designated hitter of all-time , Frank Thomas was the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year and was a to five-time MLB All-Star selection. Additionally, Thomas earned two consecutive American League MVP honors in 1993 and 1994, which deservedly resulted in his number 35 jersey being retired by the White Sox upon his retirement and his induction in the Hall of Fame.
Although the 2014 class is already manager-focused, the Baseball Hall of Fame will enshrine the fifth most winning leader of all-time with Joe Torre. Torre is credited with recording one of the most eminent careers in MLB history as both a player on the diamond and manager in the dugout. As a catcher for the Braves and Cardinals, Torre was a nine-time All-Star. He then went on to become one of the most successful managers of ever to command the dugout. Torre became an icon in New York as he managed the Yankees to win four World Series championships during their extraordinary dynasty of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Twice designated as the American League Manager of the Year, Joe Torre was deservedly a unanimous selection for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class.
These six baseball heroes are set to join the greatest ever to grace the game with likes of the many legends that came before them. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has never before has a class so diverse and talented on so many different levels. Cooperstown will have the pleasure of hosting one of the most well-rounded and memorable enshrinement ceremonies with the class of 2014.