Hall of Fame Class of 2018
The game’s most exclusive fraternity will grow by six members in 2018.
Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammell will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 29 in Cooperstown. Guerrero, Hoffman, Jones and Thome earned election via the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote in January, while Morris and Trammell were elected by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in December.
There are now 323 elected members of the Hall of Fame.
Since the inaugural Class of 1936, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has honored the game’s legendary players, managers, umpires and executives. Included in the 323 Hall of Famers are 226 former major league players, 30 executives, 35 Negro Leaguers, 22 managers and 10 umpires. The BBWAA has elected 128 candidates to the Hall while the veterans committees (in all forms) have chosen 169 deserving candidates (98 major leaguers, 30 executives, 22 managers, 10 umpires and nine Negro Leaguers). The defunct “Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues” selected nine men between 1971-77 and the Special Committee on Negro Leagues in 2006 elected 17 Negro Leaguers.
There are currently 77 living members.
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|Ballots Cast: 422||Needed for Election: 317|
*All candidates in italics received less than 5% of the vote on ballots cast and will be removed from future BBWAA consideration
Guerrero hit .302 with 11 homers and 40 RBI in 90 games in 1997 with Montreal, the emerged onto the national scene in 1998 with a .324 average, 38 home runs and 109 RBI as the Expos starting right fielder.
In his seven full seasons with the Expos, Guerrero averaged 33 home runs, 100 RBI and 173 hits, coming within one home run in 2002 of reaching the 40/40 mark in home runs and stolen bases. He signed with the Angels as a free agent following the 2003 season, and in 2004 won the American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting 39 home runs, driving in 126 runs and leading the AL in runs scored (124) and total bases (366).
A notorious bad-ball hitter and free swinger, Guerrero nonetheless never struck out more than 95 times in any season. Without the use of batting gloves and with pine tar covering his bat and helmet, Guerrero seemed able to hit virtually any pitch with authority.
Of all the players in baseball history with at least 449 career home runs, only Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Mel Ott struck out less frequently that Guerrero.
Guerrero played six seasons with the Angels before finishing his career with stints in Texas and Baltimore. He retired following the 2011 season with a .318 career batting average, 449 home runs, 1,496 RBI and 2,590 hits. He was named to nine All-Star Games, won eight Silver Slugger Awards and led his league in assists twice as an outfielder. His 31-game hitting streak in 1999 remains tied for 25th on the all-time list.
Of all the non-active players whose careers started after 1939, only Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Stan Musial and Kirby Puckett posted a higher career batting average than Guerrero.
After struggling both at the plate and in the field for the Class A Charleston Wheelers, Hoffman switched to pitching at manager Jim Lett’s suggestion. The right-hander found immediate success with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball and shot up through the minor leagues. In 1992, the Reds left Hoffman unprotected in the 1992 Expansion Draft, and he was snatched up by the brand new Florida Marlins franchise.
Hoffman showed immediate promise the following season in Miami, saving two games before becoming involved in one of the year’s biggest trades. On June 24, 1993, the San Diego Padres agreed to send third baseman Gary Sheffield, who had won the 1992 National League batting crown and nearly achieved the Triple Crown, and pitcher Rich Rodriguez to Florida in exchange for three prospects – including Hoffman.
Though the trade was heavily criticized by San Diego fans and media, Hoffman would soon win over the Friars’ faithful.
But before he did, Hoffman had to overcome one more physical hurdle. During the 1994 players’ strike, Hoffman injured his right shoulder twice in one day while playing sports on the beach. He subsequently saw his fastball velocity wither from 95 mph to just below 90 – a potentially career-ending reduction for a power closer.
Looking for an alternative out pitch, Hoffman adopted a discarded changeup grip (one that closely resembled a palmball) from teammate Donnie Elliott. From that day on, his career would be forever changed.
Nicknamed “the Bugs Bunny pitch” by teammates for how it made opposing hitters look silly, Hoffman’s fading mid-70s changeup proved nearly unhittable for National League hitters.
Hoffman’s brilliance in the Padres’ bullpen quickly helped San Diego rise to a National League contender. In September 1996, he saved the season’s final three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers to lead the Padres to their first division title in 12 years. The following June, Hoffman earned his 109th save to surpass Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers as the franchise’s all-time leader.
After missing most of 2003 to recover from two offseason shoulder surgeries, Hoffman returned in 2004 as good as new, earning 41 saves with a 2.30 ERA. As the years progressed, the steady closer kept rising through the all-time lists until he reached the ultimate summit: Lee Smith’s record 478 saves. On Sept. 24, 2006 – the Padres final home game of the year – Hoffman ran out of the bullpen to the customary toll of “Hell’s Bells” and promptly shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates to become baseball’s all-time saves king.
Though New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera would eventually break Hoffman’s record, the Padres legend will forever be the first man to reach the 500- and 600-save milestones. After 16 years in San Diego, Hoffman signed with Milwaukee and played his final two seasons – including a 37-save All-Star season at age 41 – with the Brewers.
In January 2011, Hoffman announced his retirement at San Diego’s Petco Park. His totals after 18 major league seasons rank as some of the all-time best: 601 saves (2nd all-time), 856 games finished (2nd), a 1.06 walks and hits per inning ratio (8th), 9.36 strikeouts per nine innings (8th) and a 2.87 career ERA.
His save percentage of 88.8 ranks second among all pitchers with at least 400 saves.
He was the premier position player on the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s and 2000s, a club defined by its pitching.
But Chipper Jones made sure those Braves teams had a potent offense as well – one that resulted in 11 straight trips to the Postseason for Jones’ Braves.
Now, he’s earned a place in Cooperstown.
When Kirby Puckett’s 11th-inning home run in Game 6 forced Game 7, Morris was in line for his third start of the Fall Classic.
Morris and Braves starter John Smoltz each allowed no runs to score through seven innings. Smoltz, then 24, was relieved during the eighth inning. But Morris, 36, refused to come out of the game – even when the Braves put runners on second and third with no outs in the eighth.
Morris pitched out of that jam, then faced the minimum six batters in the ninth and 10th before Gene Larkin’s single scored Dan Gladden to win the game. In an announcement that virtually made itself, Morris was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.
Morris’ final line for Game 7: 10 innings pitched, seven hits, two walks and eight strikeouts.
Morris left the Twins after the World Series, signing a free agent contract with the Blue Jays. The next season, 1992, saw Morris post a career-best record of 21-6 while helping the Blue Jays win their first World Series.
Arm troubles slowed him down in 1993 (a year the Blue Jays won the World Series again) and 1994, and he retired in 1995 with the Cincinnati Reds before throwing a pitch that season. Morris returned to organized baseball the following year with the independent St. Paul Saints of the Northern League, but never again pitched in the majors.
His final numbers: a 254-186 record, including a big league best 162 wins in the 1980s and 515 consecutive starts – an AL record at the time of his retirement. His 175 complete games are the most of any pitcher whose career began after 1976.
The numbers jump off the page when it comes to Jim Thome, even in an era where power reigned supreme.
His 612 home runs rank eighth on Major League Baseball’s all-time list, and his 1,747 walks rank seventh.
Only six players have totaled at least 1,700 walks and 1,699 RBI: Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Barry Bonds and Thome.
And yet Thome, the blue-collar boy from Peoria, Ill., who is now a Hall of Famer, always seemed to work hardest at something that could never be quantified: His character.
Born Aug. 27, 1970, Thome came from a family steeped in softball tradition and excelled as a high school athlete in basketball and baseball. Undrafted out of high school, Thome enrolled at Illinois Central College in Peoria and was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft.
In 1984, Trammell battled shoulder tendinitis to finish fifth in the AL batting race (.314) and eighth in on-base percentage (.382). The Tigers went 104-58 to win the AL pennant and the World Series. Going 9-for-20 with two homers and six RBI, Trammell was named World Series MVP.
Tigers manager Sparky Anderson asked Trammell to move from the two hole to cleanup in 1987, and Trammell responded with his best season. He became the first Tiger to have 200 hits and 100 RBI in a season since 1955 and finished in the league top 10 in batting average (.343), RBI (105), hits (205), runs (109), total bases (329), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.551).
Trammell finished second in MVP voting that year to Toronto’s George Bell. That season, Trammell became the first player in big league history to hit at least .340 with 28 home runs and 100 RBI in a season while playing at least half his games at shortstop. Since then, only Alex Rodriguez in 1996 has matched that mark.
Trammell retired following the 1996 season with six All-Star Game selections, three Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Glove Awards. He batted over .300 seven times in his career, finishing with a .285 batting average, 185 home runs, 1,003 RBI, 412 doubles and 2,365 hits. Three times he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting.
In 1978, the Trammell was paired with second baseman Lou Whitaker. By the time their careers were over, Trammell and Whitaker played in 1,918 games together – the most by any double-play combination in history.
Following his playing career, Trammell managed the Tigers from 2003-2005 and also skippered the Diamondbacks for three games in 2014.