The Hall of Fame electorate acted as expected by making the Class of 2018 four players strong. Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman all coasted into Cooperstown on Wednesday, and without a whole lot of waiting involved.
- Jones received 97.2 percent of the vote in his first year.
- Guerrero‘s support shot up more than 21 percent in his second year, ending up at 92.9 percent.
- Thome made it on his first ballot with a healthy 89.8 percent.
- Hoffman cleared the bar in his third year with 79.9 percent.
Thome, who clubbed 134 of his 612 homers for the local team of interest, will be a part of the Carlton Fisk wing of White Sox Hall of Famers. He’ll likely wear a Cleveland cap since he’s still that franchise’s all-time home run leader, but the White Sox are the team he’s likely next-most associated with.
You can imagine how he took the news:
The moment Jim Thome got the call: pic.twitter.com/oPzwn9XS43
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 25, 2018
The inductions of Guerrero and Hoffman puts a small dent in the backlog, which is crucial since 2019’s ballot is only likely to add to it. Mariano Rivera will coast in, but the three other compelling cases — the late Roy Halladay, along with Todd Helton and Andy Pettitte — all may get caught in the same electoral quicksand that has snagged comparable players. (I’m especially interested in Pettitte, who could be telling about whether PED protests are selectively applied.)
As for the guys who fell short, there were a few notable developments. Parsing the results:
*Edgar Martinez jumped from 58.6 to 70.4 percent in his ninth year on the ballot. With only one no-doubt Hall of Famer in next year’s class, he seems likely to get into Cooperstown in his final year of eligibility. (Fred McGriff will also fall off the ballot, but in the other direction.)
*Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds saw an increase of three and zero votes, respectively, but both gained a few percentage points (57.3 and 56.4). Their fate rests upon how quickly the electorate turns over during their final four years of eligibility, as they’re clearing the bar with first-time voters.
*Mike Mussina got past Clemens and Bonds, which seems like a milestone for any candidate. His support jumped nearly a dozen points to 63.5 percent, and he has five more years to get to 75 percent. This was a big year for him.
*Curt Schilling‘s self-sabotage is working, as he’s still stuck below Bonds and Clemens at 51 percent, although it’s up from 45 percent last year. He could probably make up the ground over the next four years if, well, you know.
*Omar Vizquel debuted at 37 percent, which is strong for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is close to his ceiling, as he seemed to be the one most associated with weird-assed ballots.
*Larry Walker got a big boost of a dozen points. At 34.1 percent with two years remaining, he’s got 41 points to go and a short time to get there.
*Gary Sheffield lost two points, however, going from 13.3 to 11.1 percent.
*Carlos Lee got a vote.
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