The MLB Hall of Fame class of 2018 has been announced, and there will be four new plaques lining the walls of this hallowed spot in Cooperstown, New York.
Hall of Fame members are elected by a committee made up of active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), writers who have covered baseball for at least 10 years.
Former players are elected based on a few criteria: It must be at least five years since they retired from play, and they must have at least 10 years of experience playing in the majors. Also, at least part of their career must have taken place within the 15-year period before the election takes place.
Players who receive at least 75 percent of the ballots cast will be elected to the Hall of Fame, and those who receive 5 percent or less will be removed from future ballots.
Let’s take a look at the metrics of Hall of Fame voting and see how many of our favorite former players made their way into the Hall.
A Decade of HOFers
Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman represent the 2018 HOF class. This was Jones’ first year on the ballot, and he was elected with 97.2 percent of votes. His career began with the Atlanta Braves when he was drafted No. 1 overall in 1990. His major league debut took place a few years later in 1993, and he racked up the accolades during his career. He was an eight-time All-Star, was awarded the National League MVP in 1999, won the World Series in 1995, and had a great stat line throughout his career – he hit .303/.401/.529 over 19 seasons with the Braves. He was a part of a solid Braves team that won their division 11 years in a row.
Vladimir Guerrero was elected as a second-timer (on the ballot) with 92.9 percent of the votes. He had a great batting average over his 16-season career (.318) and was a nine-time All-Star. He was the 2004 American League MVP when he was a part of the Angels squad and was a prolific base stealer and home run hitter, having had two seasons with more than 30 of each (2001 and 2002).
Jim Thome was elected as a first-time candidate on the HOF ballot this year as well. He was a 13th-round draft pick in 1989 and spent time with six MLB teams over the course of his 22-season career. His career on-base percentage was a whopping .402, and his slugging percentage ranks 23rd of all time (just two spots ahead of Guerrero above).
The fourth and final 2018 inductee is pitcher Trevor Hoffman, who was drafted in the 11th round of the 1989 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Hoffman did his best work as a closer and is currently second on the all-time saves list (with 601 career saves) behind only Mariano Rivera.
Jones and Thome aren’t the first to be elected their first time through – over the last 10 years, in fact, there have been quite a few, from Rickey Henderson in 2009 and Greg Maddux in 2014 to John Smoltz in 2015 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016. Other inductees had to wait for a bit, including Jim Rice, who was elected in 2009 in his 15th year on the ballot, and Bert Blyleven in 2011 after 14 years.
Top of the Class
As mentioned above, a player needs at least 75 percent to be elected to the Hall of Fame. While nobody has gotten 100 percent, there have been a few who’ve been close. Ken Griffey Jr., elected in 2016, received 99.3 percent after a career full of awards and accomplishments, including 13 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove Awards, and seven Silver Slugger Awards. He’s also No. 6 on the home run leaderboard, with 630 to his name.
Second on the list is pitcher Randy Johnson, who earned a voting percentage of 97.3 and was also elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance. It’s not a surprise he made his way to the HOF so easily, as he won the Cy Young Award five times, was a 10-time All-Star, won the ERA title four times (his 22-season career ERA was 3.29), and won a World Series title (and MVP nod) with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
Third on the list is Chipper Jones, whose career accomplishments are outlined above, and directly below him appears his former Braves teammate Greg Maddux. Maddux worked as a pitcher with a career ERA of 3.16 and was a part of the 1995 Braves’ World Series win. He also took home the Cy Young four times over his career, notched the ERA title four times, and won 18 Gold Glove Awards – and was a first-ballot HOFer.
The rest of the squad who received at least 90 percent of the votes were also first-ballot inductees except for two – this year’s selection of Vladimir Guerrero was a second ballot, as was a 2011 election, Roberto Alomar.
Tracking Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is one of the sport’s all-time greatest players, yet in 2018, he again didn’t find his way into the Hall. This was his sixth year of eligibility, and while his vote percentage does increase every year, he has yet to top the 75 percent requirement needed for induction.
Bonds’ career is littered with amazing accomplishments (seven-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove recipient, 12-time Silver Slugger recipient, and just shy of 2,000 RBIs). His career home run record of 762 is currently the most in MLB history (the closest current player is Albert Pujols at 614). Bonds has only four more years to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
A Rocket in the Hall?
Another former MLB superstar, Roger Clemens, has been on the ballot for six years straight without being elected to the Hall of Fame. Clemens played for 24 years, where he pitched for four teams, won two World Series rings, won the Cy Young Award seven times, and led the majors with the lowest ERA seven times as well.
Hall of Fame
As we head into this year’s MLB season and look forward to this summer’s induction of the 2018 Hall of Fame class, make sure you have plenty of officially licensed gear – which you can easily find at Fanatics.