Matt Bryant closed the first half with a 21-yard field go

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Matt Bryant closed the first half with a 21-yard field go

NEW YORK -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected to baseballs Hall of Fame on Wednesday, while Craig Biggio fell two votes short and tainted stars of the Steroids Era remained a long way from Cooperstown. Tom Wilson Jersey . Maddux was picked on 555 of 571 ballots by senior members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. His 97.2 percentage was the eighth-highest in the history of voting. Glavine, Madduxs longtime teammate in the Atlanta rotation, appeared on 525 ballots and received 91.9 per cent. Thomas, the first Hall of Famer who spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter, was at 478 and 83.7 per cent. Thomas said he accepts the view of many Hall of Famers that players whose accomplishments are muddied by accusations of steroid use, such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, dont belong in the Hall. "Ive got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldnt get in," he said. "There shouldnt be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame." The trio will be inducted July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. Maddux and Glavine, who played under Cox for most of their careers, will become the first pair of 300-game winners to be inducted in the same year. "Its exciting for me to go in with my teammate," Maddux said. The only other time three players were elected together in their first appearances was in 1999 with Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount. Biggio received 427 votes and 74.8 per cent, matching Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the smallest margin to just miss. Traynor made it the following year, and Fox was elected by the old Veterans Committee in 1997. Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Houston Astros, appeared on 388 ballots last year in his initial appearance -- when writers failed to elect anyone -- and appears to be on track to gain election next year. "Obviously, Im disappointed to come that close," he said in a statement. "I feel for my family, the organization and the fans. Hopefully, next year." Mike Piazza was next with 62.2 per cent, up from 57.8 last year. Jack Morris was 78 votes short at 61.5 per cent in his 15th and final appearance on the writers ballot, a drop from 67.7 per cent. Morris replaces Gil Hodges (63 per cent in 1983) as the player with the highest-percentage of the vote not in the Hall. Jeff Bagwell dropped to 54.3 per cent from 59.6, and Tim Raines to 46.1 from 52.2. Controversy over how to evaluate stars tainted by the Steroids Era continued to impact the vote totals of players with stellar statistics. In their second appearances on the ballot, Roger Clemens dropped from 37.6 per cent to 35.4, Barry Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sammy Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2. Bonds, baseballs career home run leader, is the only seven-time MVP in major league history. Clemens is the lone seven-time Cy Young Award winner. "As for what they did, I dont think any of us will ever really know," Thomas said. "But I can just tell you, what I did was real and thats why Ive got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right." Mark McGwire, appearing for the eighth time, fell from 16.9 to 11 per cent -- down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008. Rafael Palmeiro will be dropped from future ballots after falling to 25 votes and 4.4 per cent -- below the 5 per cent threshold necessary to remain eligible. One voter submitted a blank ballot. "I can go home and sleep at night and rest," Thomas said, "so I dont have to worry about all the nonsense that the other people are going through, because I know I wont be getting a call in the middle of the night from someone saying, oh, he did this or he did that." Deadspin.com announced Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard had turned his ballot over to the website, which allowed readers to vote on how it should be cast. "I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general, but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this," Le Batard said in remarks posted by Deadspin. "I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral weve made of sports." BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack OConnell declined comment. Maddux reached the major leagues in 1986 and Glavine a year later. They become the first primarily starting pitchers to enter the Hall whose careers began after Bert Blyleven, who debuted in 1970. And they are the first teammates on a starting rotation to be elected together since 1946. Add in Cox, and the induction will be dominated by Braves. "Its fitting, given the influence those two guys had on my career," Glavine said. "The thing that would have disappointed me the most had it not happened would have been a lost opportunity to go in with Bobby and Greg." Eighth on the wins list with a 355-227 record and a 3.16 ERA over 23 seasons, Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and a record 18 Gold Gloves with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego. An eight-time All-Star, he won at least 13 games in 20 straight seasons. Glavine, a 10-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young winner, was 305-203 over 22 seasons. A two-time AL MVP, Thomas hit .301 with 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs in 19 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto and Oakland. Thomas becomes the sixth ex-Blue Jay to enter the Hall of Fame, following Phil Niekro, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson and Roberto Alomar. Of those players, only Alomar entered the Hall as a Jay. Writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point were eligible to consider the 36-player ballot. Next years vote will be even more crowded when Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado and Gary Sheffield become eligible, five years after their retirements. The BBWAA last month formed a committee to study whether the organization should ask the Hall to change the limit of 10 players per ballot. In a sign of how some newly eligible players have taken votes from holdovers, Lee Smith dropped to 171 from 272 last year, his percentage falling to 29.9 from 47.8. Jakub Vrana Jersey . And follow TSN.ca right through Wednesdays 3pm et trade deadline for all the updates. Blue line help for Red Wings? In addition to what he reported in Insider Trading, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote on ESPN. Lars Eller Jersey . It will be their 15th head-to-head meeting and fourth in the post-season (Sunday at 2pm et/11am pt on CTV) and for his part, Brady isnt downplaying just how big the game is for him. "Im excited - Its everything you could ask for as an athlete," the New England Patriots quarterback told WEEI Radio in Boston on Monday. ATLANTA -- One year ago, the Falcons 0-4 preseason record set the stage for coach Mike Smiths first losing record in six seasons in Atlanta. Smith was more than ready for a positive start to Atlantas 2014 preseason. Matt Ryan was sharp in leading Atlanta to a touchdown on the teams first possession and the Falcons recovered a late fumble for the games only turnover to hold off the Miami Dolphins 16-10 on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams. "Individually and collectively, I thought the first impression was good," Smith said. "We want to be a physical football team and I thought we showed that." Rookie quarterback Seth Lobato led Miami to the Atlanta 5-yard line with less than 3 minutes remaining before fumbling a shotgun snap. Defensive end Nosa Eguae recovered for Atlanta. "As a quarterback, I have to make that play and cant let the ball get on the ground in that situation," said Lobato, who took over after Ryan Tannehill opened the game with a touchdown drive. Tannehill was 6 for 6 for 62 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, to open the game. Ryan was just as strong, completing each of his seven attempts for 53 yards on Atlantas opening drive. Jacquizz Rodgers capped the drive with a 2-yard scoring run. Rodgers started as Steven Jackson continued to recover from a left hamstring injury. Ryan completed passes of 17 yards to Harry Douglas and 5 and 12 yards to Roddy White on the drive. Ryan called the opening possession -- 15 plays for 77 yards -- "exactly what you want for your first drive of the year." "We were able to run the ball pretty effectively, and when we did have the opportunity to throw, we were able to move the chains," Ryan said. "We were able to overcome a couple of penalties, we were able to keep going, and punch the ball into the end zone." Smith said it was important for Ryan to have a strong answer to Miamis touchdown drive. "I like the way our first-team offence came back and answered the opening drive the Dolphins were able to put together," Smith said. "We haad three other opportunities in the red zone where we did not finish the drive. Ilya Samsonov Jersey. Those are things we definitely need to be addressing and talking about." Lobato, an undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado, completed 14 of 28 passes for 124 yards. "I felt really comfortable and thought the line did a great job protecting me," Lobato said. "I thought that we did some pretty good things as an offence and made some plays. We just didnt make enough plays." Matt Bryant closed the first half with a 21-yard field goal. Danny Hrapmann kicked a 42-yarder in the second quarter for Miami. Sergio Castillo added field goals of 21 and 34 yards in the second half for Atlanta. T.J. Yates, the favourite to win the job as Ryans top backup, looked poised in Atlantas two-minute offence to set up Bryants field goal. Yates completed 7 of 16 passes for 123 yards. Yates is competing with Sean Renfree, who led field-goal drives in the third and fourth quarters. Renfree, a second-year player from Duke, completed 6 of 15 passes for 108 yards. Falcons rookie running back Devonta Freeman had 10 carries for 50 yards and one catch for 57 yards. Another rookie, Bernard Reedy, caught two passes for 61 yards. Atlanta running back Antone Smith had two big plays negated by penalties. On Atlantas opening drive, Ryan dumped a short pass to Smith from the Miami 46. Smith took off for an apparent big gain to the Dolphins 11, but an illegal formation penalty brought the play back. In the second quarter, Smith broke free on what appeared to be a 76-yard touchdown run, but a holding penalty against Falcons rookie right tackle Jake Matthews wiped out the play. NOTES: Miami QBs Matt Moore (shoulder) and Pat Devlin (hamstring) were held out. ... Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he had no update on RB Damien Williams, who was carted off the field with an undisclosed injury late in the game. ... Miami S Reshad Jones, who on Friday was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, played with the other defensive starters. 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