The 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 is going to be a super-sized one.
HOF President Jeff Idelson announced Wednesday evening on the MLB Network that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America picked an unusually large group of four inductees: Larry “Chipper” Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.
Edgar Martinez just missed induction this year.
To be inducted to the Hall, a player must be named on 75 percent of the ballots.
Jones, who played for the Atlanta Braves for 19 seasons, mostly at third base, made the Hall on the first ballot in legendary fashion. He was named on 97.2 percent of the ballots, close to the best percentage ever. In 2016, Ken Griffey Jr. was picked on 99.32 percent of the ballots; Tom Seaver in 1992 was named on 98.84 percent of the ballots; Nolan Ryan in 1999 got 98.79 of the vote and Cal Ripken Jr. in 2007 was selected with 98.53 percent of the vote.
A switch-hitter, Jones hit .303 in his career, with 2,726 hits, 468 home runs and 1,623 runs batted in. He was an eight-time All-Star, the batting champion in 1998, the National League MVP in 1999 and a two-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award. He made the Braves major league team in 1993, and played on most of the Braves’ record 14 straight division championship teams. He won a World Series title with the Braves in 1995, and also played on the 1996 and 1999 teams, which both lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees.
A “five tool” player, Guerrero made the Hall in his second year of eligibility, after missing in 2017 by 15 votes. He got 92.9 percent of the vote this year.
From a baseball family in the Dominican Republic, Guerrero played 16 seasons, most of them with Montreal or the Los Angeles Angels. He played right field and designated hitter, with a .318 career batting average, 2,590 hits, 449 home runs and 1,496 RBIs. He was a nine-time All-Star, an eight-time Silver Slugger winner and the 2004 American League MVP.
A classic power hitter, Thome also earned induction in his first year of eligibility, with 89.8 percent of the vote.
Thome played 22 seasons in the major leagues, at first base, third base and designated hitter. He played for six teams, with Cleveland being his first, and the team he played for the longest. In his career, he hit 612 home runs, eighth all time, with a .276 average, 2,328 hits and 1,699 RBIs. He was a five-time All-Star and won a Silver Slugger, a home run title in 2003, and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2002. He played for the Indians in the 1995 World Series, and is in the Indians’ Hall of Fame. He is also on the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame. In 2006, Thome won the Comeback Player of the Year Award while playing for the Chicago White Sox.
After missing induction in 2017 by five votes, Hoffman made the Hall on his third year on the ballot, with 79.9 percent of the vote. The National League leader in saves, with 601, he had 1,133 career strikeouts with a 2.87 ERA. A seven-time All-Star, Hoffman played 16 seasons in the majors, breaking in with Florida and finishing in Milwaukee, but mostly playing for the San Diego Padres. He helped the Padres get to the 1998 World Series, but they were swept by the Yankees, and Hoffman gave up a big Game 3 home run to eventual World Series MVP Scott Brosius.
Martinez just missed induction on his ninth and penultimate time on the ballot with 70.4 percent of the vote. He was 14 votes short. He will be on the BBWAA ballot for the last time in 2019.
A designated hitter who played 18 seasons, all with Seattle, Martinez hit. 312 in his career, with 2,247 hits, 309 home runs and 1,261 RBIs. He was a seven-time All-Star, a five-time Silver Slugger winner and the Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2004. He led the American League in batting average twice (1992, 1995) and RBIs once (2000).
In his fifth year on the ballot, Mike “Moose” Mussina is trending up; he went from 58.6 percent in 2017 to 63.4 percent in 2018.
Mussina pitched for 18 seasons in Baltimore and for the New York Yankees. He had a career record of 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts. He played for the Yankees in their 2001 World Series loss to Arizona, going 0-1 in two starts. He won seven Golden Gloves and was a five-time All-Star.
Other notable vote getters were: Roger Clemens at 57.3 percent and Barry Bond at 56.4 percent. Victims of the five percent rule were Johan Santana and Johnny Damon; they will be taken off the ballot.
In December, the Modern Era committee selected Detroit Tiger duo Alan Trammell and Jack Morris for induction. Teammates on the Tigers’ 1984 World Series team, the duo had fallen off the BBWAA ballot.
The 2018 Induction will be July 29 at The Clark Sports Center in the town of Middlefield.