Ken Griffey Jr. was selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 1987 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. A year later, the Los Angeles Dodgers chose Mike Piazza with the No. 1,390 overall pick in the 62nd round of the 1998 MLB Draft as a favor to Piazza’s father, who was a friend of then-Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.
Both Griffey and Piazza were elected to the MLB Hall of Fame on Wednesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), becoming the highest and lowest draft picks to earn induction into Cooperstown.
Griffey broke a record by being named on 99.3 percent of the 440 submitted ballots, surpassing the record set by Tom Seaver (98.8 percent) in 1992.
The epitome of a five-tool player, Griffey burst onto the scene as a scrawny 19-year-old with a picturesque swing and swagger to match. His skill and smile endeared him to young fans and arguably saved baseball in Seattle, which had never seen much success on the diamond before the arrival of Griffey. By 1995, the team secured its first division title and postseason series win, with Griffey fittingly acting as the series-clinching run in a thrilling victory over the vaunted New York Yankees.
Junior’s acrobatic exploits in the field were only matched by his prowess at the plate. His 630 career home runs are the sixth-most in history, and he could have racked up many more if the second stage of his career with his hometown Cincinnati Reds wasn’t ravaged by injuries.
Meanwhile, Piazza also comfortably achieved induction in his fourth year on the ballot, garnering 83 percent of BBWAA votes.
Widely regarded as the greatest offensive catcher of all time, Piazza is the only catcher to mash at least 250 home runs while maintaining a .300 career batting average. His 427 home runs are the most by a catcher in baseball history, 38 more than Johnny Bench.
Jeff Bagwell (71.6% of votes) and Tim Raines (69.8%) fell short of the 75-percent mark necessary for induction by 15 and 23 votes, respectively, but both are seemingly primed for election next year. After all, Piazza fell 28 votes short in 2015.
At this point, the only question appears to concern the appearance of each inductee’s bust.
For Piazza, fans are curious whether he’ll be enshrined with a Dodgers or New York Mets cap. He won Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles in 1993 and was twice the runner-up for MVP in Dodger Blue, but led the Mets to a World Series appearance in 2000 and earned six All-Star Game nods with both teams.
The “controversy” surrounding Griffey’s bust is less contentious, but equally important, if not more so.
Griffey: "I haven't really thought about the hat backwards."
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) January 6, 2016
The PointAfter staff hopes Griffey has the choice to become the first player with a backwards cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. As the most deserving inductee in history by voting percentage, he’s earned the right to make his bust look exactly how he wants it.