Joining the three first-ballot players were a trio of legendary managers—Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. The group combined to manage eight World Series champions, and each of the three ranks in the top five of the all-time manager wins list.
While nothing compares to the first few classes elected in the mid-to-late 1930s, this year's group has a case to be considered the greatest Hall of Fame class of the last 75 years.
Maddux and Glavine, who were teammates on the Cox-managed Atlanta Braves from 1993 to 2002, became the first duo of first-ballot pitchers since Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson were enshrined in the legendary inaugural Hall of Fame class back in 1936, according to MLB.com.
The former Braves also became just the third duo of 300-win pitchers to enter the Hall together, joining Warren Spahn and Mickey Welch (1973) in addition to Johnson and Mathewson.
Thomas, meanwhile, is one of the more underrated sluggers in baseball history despite being one of just seven players to post a career .300/.400/.500 slash line over 10,000 or more plate appearances, per ESPN.com. "The Big Hurt" struggled with injuries later in his career and hung around well past his prime yet still retired with a .301/.419/.555 slash line, not to mention 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI.
In terms of recent Hall of Fame classes, only the 1999 group can compare to the six men enshrined Sunday. George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were all first-ballot selections that year, joined by Orlando Cepeda, Negro League pitcher Joe Williams, manager Frank Selee and umpire Nestor Chylak.
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