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Mike Piazza elected to Hall of Fame on 4th try

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LOS ANGELES -- Fourth time was a charm for former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza will be joined in the 2016 class by outfielder Ken Griffey, who sailed in on his first year on the ballot.

Piazza received 365 of 440 votes (83.0 percent), above the 75-percent threshold required for induction to Cooperstown, in his fourth year on the ballot, up from 69.9 percent in 2015.

Piazza is the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame since Gary Carter in 2003.

The Dodgers drafted Piazza in the 62nd round in 1988, making him the lowest-drafted member of the Hall of Fame. He hit .308/.377/.545 with 424 home runs in 1,912 games over 16 seasons, including a major league record 396 home runs hit as a catcher.

"Congratulations to Mike, an outstanding ballplayer and a great man," said Tommy Lasorda in a statement. "I couldn’t be prouder of him after seeing his hard work to go from a 62nd round pick and converted catcher to one of the best ever at his position and now, a fellow Hall of Famer. I’d also like to congratulate Mike’s family and everyone back in Norristown on this honor."

Piazza hit .331/.394/.572 with 177 home runs in 5½ seasons with the Dodgers before he was traded in 1998.

Griffey, a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, ranks sixth all-time with 630 career home runs. He hit .284/.370/.538 in his 22 years with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox.

In 55 career games against the Dodgers, roughly one third of a full season, Griffey hit .239/.319/.509 with 16 home runs and 38 RBI. In Griffey's first career game against the Dodgers, he homered off of Tom Candiotti on June 14, 1997 in The Kingdome.

Griffey was 1-for-5 in that game. Piazza, starting at catcher for the Dodgers, was 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Seattle won the game 9-8 on a walk-off home run by Russ Davis off of Antonio Osuna.

"We are very proud of the fact that the best-hitting catcher in baseball history began his Major League career in Los Angeles," Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement.

Piazza and Griffey will be inducted during ceremonies in Cooperstown on Sunday, July 24.