Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was announced Wednesday. Jones and Thome were both elected in their first year of eligibility. This is the fourth time that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has elected four players in a year (1947, 1955, 2015). The four will join veterans committee inductees Jack Morris and Alan Trammell in entering the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29 in Cooperstown, New York.

It took 75 percent for election, or 317 votes, to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Designated hitter Edgar Martinez came close — falling just 20 votes shy — after a grass-roots campaign. Roger Clemens, who was picked on 57.3 percent of ballots, and Barry Bonds (56.4), both tainted by the steroids scandal, edged up in voting totals but again fell far short.

Jones, an eight-time All-Star who played all 19 seasons for the Atlanta Braves, ranks third all time in home runs by a switch-hitter. The veteran third baseman had a career .303 batting average with 468 home runs. He is the only switch-hitter with at least 1,000 at-bats and a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage. Jones, a force for most of the Atlanta teams that won 14 straight division titles, joins former teammates John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz in the Hall. Of the four new members, Jones was the only one to win a World Series. He joins Ken Griffey Jr. as the only overall No. 1 draft picks to reach the Hall.

Thome hit 612 home runs, which ranks eighth all time, over his 22 seasons with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Orioles. The infielder’s 13 walk-off home runs are more than any other player. Thome was known for his batter’s box routine, standing absolutely still in the box while pointing his bat at the pitcher. He said the posture helped him relax, slow down and “not be so tense.”

Guerrero, a nine-time All-Star, was elected in his second try, getting 92.9 percent of the vote. Over his 16 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Angels, Rangers and Orioles, Guerrero had a .318 career batting average and a .553 slugging percentage — one of nine players with numbers higher than .315/.550. The outfielder, a notorious bad-ball hitter, also had 449 home runs and 1,496 RBIs. His career batting average is sixth highest among players with at least 400 career home runs. Guerrero said he developed his hitting talent as a kid in the Dominican Republic, playing a game similar to cricket in which hitters swung broomsticks while pitchers tried to bounce balls past them and knock over folded license plates.

Hoffman, getting 79.9 percent of the vote to become just the sixth reliever to be elected into Cooperstown, has 601 career saves, which ranks second to Mariano Rivera on the all-time list. And his nine seasons with at least 40 saves are tied with Rivera for most all time. The seven-time All-Star, who played for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers during his 18 seasons, also had 1,133 career strikeouts. “Trevor Time” became an event in San Diego, where AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” blared when batters knew they’d be facing Hoffman’s flummoxing changeup, which dropped toward the dirt and more often than not eluded their bats.

Rivera highlights the newcomers on next year’s ballot, once again raising debate over whether any player will be unanimously elected to the Hall. Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte and the late Roy Halladay also will be first-time candidates.

For Martinez, who finished with 70.4 percent of the vote in his ninth time on the ballot, it was the second straight year with a significant jump; he was at 58.6 percent in the 2017 voting. Martinez remains optimistic about his chances in 2019. “Getting 70.4 percent is a big improvement, and all I can think right now is that it’s looking good for next year,” Martinez said on a conference call. “It would have been great to get in this year, but it looks good for next year.”

Just four years ago, Martinez was slogging at 25.2 percent in the balloting, but the past few years have marked a major change in how voters are viewing his contributions, even though he rarely played the field after 1992. Martinez’s career .312 batting average, .933 on-base plus slugging and seven All-Star Game appearances created a strong foundation for his candidacy. In addition to Martinez, Clemens and Bonds, pitchers Mike Mussina (63.5) and Curt Schilling (51.2) were named on more than half the ballots but were not elected. Clemens and Bonds each get four more tries. They seem to be “gaining steam with newer voters,” Jones said.

Omar Vizquel (37 percent), Scott Rolen (10.2) and Andruw Jones (7.3) were first-time candidates. Among the players who drew under 5 percent and fell off the ballot were Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Johan Santana.

Pete Rose, permanently banned from Major League Baseball after an investigation into his betting on the game, didn’t receive any write-in votes, as he often has in the past.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has elected 16 players to the Hall over the past five years, the largest total over a five-year span, breaking the previous mark of 13 from 1952 to 1956.

Related Posts:




You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment