Will Maddux approach Seaver for highest Hall vote?

In 1992, Tom Seaver recorded the highest percentage of votes ever for the Baseball Hall of Fame at 98.84.

If there were any justice, Greg Maddux would come close if not eclipse that number when it’s announced in early January that he’s been elected, most likely with teammate Tom Glavine and former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas.

But in classic Maddux fashion, he will not admit that he’s thinking about percentages or even enshrinement.

“I guess we’ll find out in January,” Maddux said when I spoke to him on WSCR 670-AM last week. “You look back on your career and you never really thought about going to the Hall of Fame or anything like that.”

Maddux said the topic came up from time to time in interviews, especially later in his career, but he was always too busy to concern himself with after-career thoughts.

“As a player, you’re trying to get to arbitration, you’re trying to get to free agency, you’re trying to get a World Series ring, you’re trying to stay healthy,” Maddux said. “There’s always something you’re trying to achieve. The Hall of Fame is not one of those things.

“When you look back, you’re just glad to be on the ballot when it’s all said and done.”

Well, he’s on the ballot now, and if he doesn’t get at least 95 percent, the writers who didn’t vote for him will have a difficult time explaining that decision.

Craig Biggio

Last year, when no player was voted in, Craig Biggio received 68.2 percent in his first year on the ballot.

It’s worth noting that in the history of the game, 28 players have reached 3,000 hits, 35 have 1,000 extra-base hits and only 13 have done both, including Biggio.

All are in the Hall of Fame, except Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro and Biggio. The rest are Ty Cobb, Henry Aaron, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, George Brett and Dave Winfield.

Crowded ballot

The problem for Biggio, who isn’t likely to get in this time with three nearly certain locks in Maddux, Glavine and Thomas, is the next few years have more first-ballot candidates.

A year from now will present Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz and the following year it’s Ken Griffey and Trevor Hoffman. In 2017, it’s Pudge Rodriguez, 2018 Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, and 2019 Mariano Rivera.

By no means is it fair, but Biggio may have to wait a few years before he gets voted into the Hall.

Jack Morris, who was at 67.7 percent last year, is in his final year on the ballot.

Paul Konerko

From the White Sox’ perspective, there’s little downside to having Paul Konerko return for one more season. He knows there will be limited opportunities to play, and he won’t be taking at-bats or playing time from Jose Abreu, if we’re to take Robin Ventura at his word.

At the same time, it gives Konerko the chance to say goodbye to Sox fans and to the game itself. Considering that the Sox are unlikely to compete again, it’s hard to argue with that.

Ivan Boldirev-ing

The Anaheim team that defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago on Friday night has lost the second-most games to player injury this season, just one more reason to keep an eye on the Ducks in the West this season.

Having to use a small-market approach means relying heavily on scouting, drafting, player development and minor-league coaching, and the Ducks have done that.

So far, Anaheim has received significant contributions from Hampus Lindholm and Patrick Maroon, who played at Norfolk last year; Sami Vatanen, Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem, who have split time this season between Anaheim and the American League; and Kyle Palmieri, who split time last year.

Just drafting

The Kyle Beach experiment is finally over, with the Blackhawks having moved him to New York for Brandon Mashinter.

The No. 11 overall pick in 2008, Beach was selected in front of players like Erik Karlsson (15), Luca Sbisa (19), Michael Del Zotto (20), Jordan Eberle (22), John Carlson (27) and Slava Voynov (32), to name a few.

Just bargaining

Next time there’s a work stoppage in any sport, remember that 30-minute period Friday morning when 31-year-old Robinson Cano got 10 years and $240 million and Curtis Granderson (33 in March) got four years and $60 million.

Whenever there’s a lockout (or strike), the owners’ fight is rarely, if ever, with the players. The fight is usually owner vs. owner, while they force (or beg) the players to police owners, who can’t possibly stop their brethren from spending.

The quote

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: “When I brought up (to someone close to Jay Cutler) the Titans as a possibility … what I was told is he would be very interested.”

And finally …’s Bart Scott, on Dallas owner Jerry Jones: “He’s horrible. Until he steps aside they will never have consistent success because he’s trying to do everything at once. He needs to get a football mind in there. He got rid of Rob Ryan and now their defense can’t stop a nose bleed.”

ŸHear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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