Two years ago, I wrote a column in this space questioning the voting process behind baseball writers in regards to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Had I been here a year ago, I would have written a similar column, bashing the three geniuses who didn’t make Ken Griffey Jr. the first unanimous selection.

Today, however, I have to tip my cap and give my respects.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim ‘Rock’ Raines and Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez were the three lucky individuals selected for the Hall on Wednesday night. Bagwell and Raines both received 86 percent of the vote, while Rodriguez barely made it in with 76 percent (you must have 75 percent of the vote or higher for Hall entry).

The trio will join former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz — both selected by the Veteran’s Committee — for enshrinement in Cooperstown, New York, on July 30.

The feel-good story is Raines, who made it to Cooperstown on his 10th try. It’s the accepted opinion of many that Raines is the second-best leadoff hitter of all-time, right behind Rickey Henderson, a 2009 inductee. Raines stole 808 bases over the course of 23 seasons with six teams — most notably the Montreal Expos — with a success rate of 84.7 percent, the highest percentage ever for a player with more than 400 attempts.

Rodriguez — who was elected on his first ballot — is the best defensive catcher of my lifetime (I’m 31, so not old enough to see Johnny Bench in action). At first glance, Rodriguez is an easy selection. He won the Gold Glove award 13 times. He was selected to 14 All-Star teams. If Mike Piazza didn’t exist, Rodriguez would have been the best catcher of an entire generation of baseball.

But thanks to a book by former teammate Jose Canseco, Rodriguez was tied to possibly using performance enhancing drugs. Baseball writers, to their credit, saw that no hard evidence was ever brought against Rodriguez, voting him in on his first try.

Bagwell — who got in on his seventh try — has the closest ties to Red Sox Nation, albeit in the form of a punchline. Born in Boston and raised in Connecticut, Bagwell was a Red Sox prospect that was traded to the Houston Astros in 1990 in exchange for relief pitcher Larry Andersen. Bagwell went on to spend the next 15 years with the Astros, hitting 449 home runs with 1,529 runs batted in and a career .297 batting average. Andersen pitched a total of 15 games for Boston, though he did strike out 25 batters in 22 innings of work. Bagwell’s career was cut short with shoulder problems before he reached 500 home runs and, like Rodriguez, had PED allegations with no hard evidence, prolonging his eventual selection.

A couple players were extremely close to election.

Former Montreal Expos and Anaheim Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero racked up nearly 72 percent of the vote. He’ll likely get in next year, as he has the exact number of home runs as Bagwell (449) with just 33 less RBIs and a better career batting average (.318). Former San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was five votes short of election. At a position where all the attention is bestowed on the inevitable election of New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera, Hoffman is right in the discussion of the game’s all-time best closers. Hoffman had 601 saves — striking out 1,133 batters in 1,089 innings of work. He was also a seven-time All-Star. Hopefully, Hoffman gets in next year before he’s overshadowed by Rivera.

Then there’s the middle-of-the road players, led by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. The numbers speak for themselves on both players. Bonds (53.8 percent of the vote) owns the career home run record with 762 home runs. Clemens (54.1 percent) has 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts. Those numbers would get both into Cooperstown on the first ballot, but both have waited for years due to PED allegations. The good news (if you view it that way) for both players is their percentages are rising, meaning they both will likely get in down the road.

Not so much for Curt Schilling — the bloody-socked hero of the 2004 Red Sox that broke the Curse of the Bambino — as his numbers fell to an even 45 percent. Schilling’s mouth has overtaken his playing accomplishments, as he re-Tweeted a photo recently alluding to the support for reporters to be lynched. Not exactly a way of making friends if one wants to go to the Hall of Fame.

Whether Bonds or Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame is fodder for future columns (neither do, in my opinion), but it seems the current crop of writers are slowly thawing their collective stance on the “Steroid Era” of baseball. And while what Schilling did on his Twitter feed is nothing less than idiotic, the Baseball Hall of Fame is for on-field achievements. If it was the Hall of Character, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and quite possibly half of the Hall of Fame wouldn’t get in.

Rounding out the middle group is Edgar Martinez, whom Boston fans should root for if they hope David Ortiz will someday get elected. Martinez is not only the greatest designated hitter of all-time (so much so an award is now named after him), he was one of the most feared hitters of the 1990s. Martinez was a seven-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger award winner. His percentage rose to 58.6 percent, his highest percentage since he’s been eligible. There’s also former Baltimore Orioles/New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, who finished his career just 30 wins short of 300 and 187 strikeouts from 3,000, the magical numbers that almost guarantee enshrinement. Mussina’s percentage also rose, to 51.8 percent.

What will make the process even better going forward will be transparency. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has finally agreed to let every ballot be visible — allowing fans to see who voted for whom — beginning next year. This move will allow — hopefully — two major issues to go away. Writers who don’t vote for an obvious Hall of Fame candidate — such as the three who didn’t vote for Griffey — will have to defend their vote and explain their reasoning. It will also show certain trends as the years go along within the voting — which voters are okay allowing players from the “Steroid Era” of baseball into the Hall in contrast with those who are not.

Let’s be real: The process will never be perfect. Ever. But to the BBWAA’s credit, it took a giant leap forward. And because of this move, the patience is beginning to pay off for longtime sufferers like Bagwell and Raines, and hopefully in the future with the likes of Martinez and Mussina.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Dave_Dyer