John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and Pedro Martinez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday. Before they take the microphone to deliver their acceptance speeches, relive these 15 memorable moments for the Class of ’15.
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Randy Johnson: Seattle stopper
The 1995 Mariners trailed the Angels by 13 games in early August before forcing a one-game playoff to determine the AL West champions. Johnson started that game at the Kingdome and went the distance, striking out 12 batters in Seattle’s 9-1 win. That victory clinched the first playoff berth in franchise history.
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Randy Johnson: Mr. 3,000
The Big Unit joined the Big 3-0-0-0 club on Sept. 10, 2000, when he fanned the Marlins’ Mike Lowell to reach the mark (one of a season-high 14 K's in that game). He became the quickest pitcher to ever reach that threshold and he did it, of course, on his 37th birthday. Only fellow Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (5,714) has more strikeouts than Johnson (4,875) in major-league history. Nine times during his career, Johnson was the league leader in strikeouts.
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Randy Johnson: Bird hunter
Johnson's career featured both the dominant (4,875 strikeouts) and the bizarre, as witnessed by the poor bird that flew in front of one of his pitches on March 24, 2001. Johnson was delivering a pitch to the Giants’ Calvin Murray in a spring training game when a cloud of feathers suddenly appeared. (*Actual bird not pictured here.)
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Randy Johnson: World Series machine
The Diamondbacks leaned heavily on Johnson and Curt Schilling during their 2001 World Series win over the Yankees. So much, in fact, that the aces shared the MVP Award. Johnson went 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 19 strikeouts in two starts and a relief appearance in that World Series. A few weeks after hoisting that trophy, Johnson collected the fourth of his five Cy Young Awards.
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Randy Johnson: Mr. Perfect
Johnson already had a no-hitter on his resume when he stepped on the mound on May 18, 2004, to face the Braves at Turner Field. And it wasn’t even a contest. The Big Unit struck out 13 batters en route to a perfect game – at age 40, he was the oldest to ever achieve perfection.
Pedro Martinez: All-Star Game ace
Pitching on the familiar Fenway Park mound, Martinez put on one of the most memorable performances in All-Star Game history in 1999. He struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa in the first inning, then added K's of Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell in the next frame. Pedro's dominant outing earned him the All-Star Game MVP honors.
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Pedro Martinez: He's their daddy
Pedro never pitched a no-hitter, but arguably his best single-game performance came against his biggest rivals. On Sept. 10, 1999, Martinez allowed only a second-inning single and a first-inning hit batsman in a 17-strikeout, one-hit gem at Yankee Stadium.
AFP/Getty ImagesHENNY RAY ABRAMS
Pedro Martinez: The Zimmer incident
Back when the Yankees and Red Sox routinely brawled – even during the postseason – Martinez had the most unusual challenger of his pugilistic career: Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer. After Zimmer charged the right-hander in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, Pedro tossed the 72-year-old to the ground. In Game 7 of the series, Martinez fatefully was kept in too long, resulting in a Yankees eighth-inning rally. The next postseason would prove more positive for Pedro.
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Pedro Martinez: Bambino buster
Making his first career World Series start, Martinez shut out the Cardinals for seven innings in Game 3 in St. Louis. The win moved the Red Sox within one game of ending the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino – and they would do just that the following night. The Game 3 win also marked the final time the three-time Cy Young Award winner took the mound for Boston.
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John Smoltz: Game 7 goliath
In one of the most epic World Series showdowns in recent season, Smoltz tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 7 against the Twins' Jack Morris in 1991. Minnesota won it in 10 innings, but Smoltz solidified himself as a young ace and celebrated a World Series championship four years later with Atlanta.
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John Smoltz: Record-breaking reliever
After converting from a starter to a reliever, Smoltz set the NL single-season saves record in his first full season in the bullpen in 2002. He is the only pitcher in major-league history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
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John Smoltz: Mr. 3,000
On April 22, 2008, Smoltz became just the 16th member of the 3,000-strikeout club by fanning Nationals second baseman Felipe Lopez in the third inning. The 1996 Cy Young Award winner would pitch only twice more that season – his final two games as a Brave – because of a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery.
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Craig Biggio: Mr. 3,000
Biggio joined the 3,000-hit club on June 28, 2007, and he did it in grand style. After grounding out in his first at-bat of the game, Biggio delivered hits in each of his next five at-bats in the Astros’ 8-5 win over the Rockies. His seventh-inning single made history, and he celebrated with his family. Biggio retired as the only player with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 250 homers and 400 stolen bases.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
Craig Biggio: The 'B' is for bruised
Biggio wasn't a huge target – he allegedly stood at 5-11 – but he must have been a magnet for the baseball. He finished his career with 285 hit by pitches, trailing only Hughie Jennings, who was hit 287 times during his career in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
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Craig Biggio: World Series at last
The Astros had never been to a World Series before Biggio and the Killer B’s led the franchise to the 2005 Fall Classic, where they were swept by the White Sox. Biggio scored a team-best three runs in that World Series after hitting .333 in Houston’s NLCS win over the Cardinals.