On January 10, 2006 — Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter is elected to the Hall of Fame. With 75% of the votes cast by BBWAA members needed for election. Sutter receives 76.9%, slugger Jim Rice is second with 64.8%, followed by reliever Goose Gossage at 64.6%. Sutter, who is credited with perfecting the split-fingered fastball, which is a pitch many major leaguers use in some form today, joins Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley as the only relief pitchers in Cooperstown. In a special election, seventeen Negro Leagues figures are also elected: Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Andy Cooper, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Biz Mackey, Effa Manley, Jose Mendez, Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, Louis Santop, Mule Suttles, Ben Taylor, Cristóbal Torriente, Sol White, J.L. Wilkinson, and Jud Wilson. Manley is the first woman ever elected to the Hall, and the 18 inductees are the largest class in the Hall’s history.
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