Former MLB superstars Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, and Trevor Hoffman were each enshrined in the Hall of Fame by BBWAA writers on Wednesday. They join Modern Baseball Era Committee inductees Alan Trammell and Jack Morris.
Chipper Jones’s election to the Hall of Fame comes in his first year of eligibility with 97.2% of ballots. By the time Chipper strode up to the plate to the sound of Ozzy Osborne’s Crazy Train for the final time, he had amassed a .303/.401/.529 slash line and 409 home runs. He’s one of only nine players in history to hit at least .300/.400/.500 with 400 HR or more, and the only switch hitter to do it. Like few players before him, he came to be synonymous with his team, more of a Brave than perhaps any other player in the franchise’s history. He lead Atlanta to 11 of its 14 straight division titles, winning a World Series in 1995 and an NL MVP in 1999.
Like Chipper, Jim Thome made it into the Hall in his first year with 89.8% of voters. Unlike, Chipper, a first overall pick, Thome, was selected by the Indians in the 13th round. He spent 13 of his 22 seasons with Cleveland, winning two AL Pennants with the team. Among the most prolific power hitters of his generation, he is one of only nine members of the 600 HR club and holds the all-time record for walk-off homers with 13. His .278 ISO ranks ninth in history among qualified hitters.
Vladimir Guerrero got the nod from 92.9% of voters after narrowly missing Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility. Vlad is now one of three Dominican players in the Hall and the country’s first position player. While his team choice remains to be seen, he could go in as the last Expo or the first Angel, with whom he won an MVP award in 2004. While his 54.3 WAR doesn’t jump off the page compared to many Hall-of-Famers, there was something special about the way Vlad played the game. Known for his free-swinging approach, he could hammer pitches that would make most players hopelessly whiff. Despite his aggressive approach, he batted .318 over his career and has the fifth-fewest strikeouts of any player with at least 400 home runs.
Trevor Hoffman was voted into the Hall of Fame in his third year on the ballot with 79.9% of the vote after narrowly missing the 75-percent threshold last year. Hoffman, drafted as a shortstop, was consistently one of the best closers during his 18-year career. For 15 of those seasons he was a staple for the Padres and holds franchise records in bWAR, ERA, K/9 and saves. He ranks second all-time in saves at 601, behind only Mariano Rivera. While the save has its issues as a stat, few players in history converted them as effectively as Hoffman for so long.
Narrowly missing out on the Hall after a big grassroots push was Edgar Martinez, coming just shy of enshrinement at 70.4 percent. While many cite his role as a DH as reason to deny him a spot in the Hall, his recent upward trend in votes suggests many voters are changing their minds.
Bonds and Clemens, however, still fell far short with about 56% of votes each, just weeks after Joe Morgan’s controversial letter imploring writers not to vote for alleged PED users. Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Johan Santana fell off the ballot, while first-timers Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, and Andruw Jones each earned another shot in 2019.