The Kid gets enshrined; Piazza gets in on 4th try


(AP) — Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will become the newest members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Griffey was on 437 of 440 votes in his first appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. His 99.3 percentage topped Tom Seaver’s 98.84 in 1992.

Griffey won seven Silver Slugger awards and hit 630 home runs.

Piazza (pee-AHT’-zah) got in with 83 percent of the vote on his fourth time on the ballot. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star with the Mets and Dodgers and leads all catchers with 427 home runs.

Jeff Bagwell fell 15 votes shy of induction, while Tim Raines missed by 23 votes.

Induction ceremonies at Cooperstown are July 24.

(AP) — All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

Gordon declined an option for $13.75 million to test free agency.

He’s become not only one of the best defensive outfielders in the game with four Gold Gloves to his resume, but also a consistent hitter and clubhouse leader.

(AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Lovie Smith on Wednesday night.

Smith went 6-10 this season and 8-24 over two years in charge of the team. The announcement came as a surprise to many because Smith’s job was not considered to be in danger.

A statement from Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer said, “This decision was difficult on a variety of levels. I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve. ”

General manager Jason Licht will oversee the search for a new coach.

Smith led the Chicago Bears to the NFC title in 2006, when they lost to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl. He was 84-66 in nine seasons with Chicago.