Posted on January 24, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Major League Baseball announced the Hall of Fame class of 2018 Wednesday night. With a slew of eligible players who warranted serious consideration, this was one of the more intriguing ballots in recent years. In the end, four players will be welcomed to Cooperstown this summer. Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, and Vladimir Guerrero are the four who will make up the Hall of Fame class of 2018.
Jones, the longtime Atlanta Braves star, was the most obvious choice as a first-time candidate. He was an eight-time all-star who is the only switch hitter in baseball history to finish his career with an average of .300 or better, an on-base percentage of .400 or better, and a slugging percentage of .500 or better. After an illustrious 19-season career in the big leagues, Jones garnered 97.2% of the vote, tying him with Greg Maddux for the 10th highest voting percentage.
Thome is the other player to be elected in his first year of eligibility. In 22 major league seasons, Thome hit 612 home runs, which puts him 8th on the all-time list. He’s never directly linked with performance-enhancing drugs despite playing in the middle of the steroid era. His strong reputation and consistent production for over two decades earned Thome 89.9% of the vote on his first try.
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Hoffman, meanwhile, has been elected to the Hall on his third try. He narrowly fell short of the 75% threshold last year but managed 79.9% this time around. Much like Jones and Thome, Hoffman had incredible longevity, pitching in the big leagues for 18 seasons. The longtime Padres closer finished his career with 601 saves. Along the way, he became the first pitcher to reach both the 500 and 600 save mark. He now ranks second on the all-time save list.
Finally, Guerrero has gained entry to Cooperstown in his second year of eligibility. He barely missed out on being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, earning 71% of the vote last year. However, voters made up for that this year, putting Guerrero on 92.9% of the ballots. Among players with over 400 home runs (449), Guerrero has the sixth highest batting average, displaying the combination of average and power that made him an all-star nine times in his 16 big league seasons.
Of course, while four players were deservingly elected to the Hall of Fame, others fell short. Edgar Martinez, who has long been a controversial pick because he spent most of his career as a DH, earned 70.4% of the votes. He fell 20 votes short of qualifying for the Hall of Fame in his ninth season of eligibility. Mike Mussina was also close but came up short with 63.5% of the vote.
Meanwhile, the battle rages on for the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling. All continue to make progress year by year toward reaching 75% of the vote. However, all three still need a large number of votes if they hope to get invited to Cooperstown. Clemens earned 57.3%, Bonds was at 56.4%, and Schilling garnered 51.2%.
Sadly, a few players will drop off the ballot completely after receiving less than 5% of votes. Johan Santana is by far the most notable, perhaps ever. The two-time Cy Young winner earned just 10 total votes, putting him at 2.4%. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Kerry Wood, and Livan Hernandez are among the players who have also been bumped from the ballot entirely.