It’s been just under two decades since George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of a historic class.
Thursday marks the 18th anniversary of the election of the Hall of Fame Class of 1999, which included an unprecedented three first-ballot inductees in Brett, Ryan and Yount. The class also featured four selections by the Veterans Committee: Orlando Cepeda, Nestor Chylak, Frank Selee and Joe Williams.
The Class of 2017 will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.
At the time, the Hall of Fame had not seen a class with more than two first-ballot inductees since the inaugural Class of 1936, which started with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
There have since been two more instances of a trio of first-ballot inductees. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas accomplished the rare feat in the Class of 2014, which was followed by Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz in the Class of 2015.
Candidates for the Class of 1999 needed 373 of 497 votes for election. Ryan led the way with 491 votes, followed by Brett with 488 and Yount with 385.
Brett, a third baseman, spent his entire 21-year with the Kansas City Royals. As one of the greatest hitters in the game, Brett’s lifetime numbers include a .305 average, 317 home runs, 1,595 RBIs and 3,154 hits. A 13-time All-Star, Brett was the first player to win batting titles in three decades (1976, ’80, ’90), and he had 11 seasons with a .300 batting average, including a career-high .390 in 1980, when he was the MVP of the …