For just the fourth time - and second time in four years - a class of four has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America
The class, announced tonight on a live broadcast on MLB Network, is headed up by third baseman Chipper Jones and first baseman/DH Jim Thome, both elected on their first ballots. They are joined by outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who makes it in his second year of eligibility, and reliever Trevor Hoffman, who was on the ballot for the third time. Both Thome and Guerrero played their final games in the majors with the Orioles.
Each of the four got more than the needed 75 percent of the votes for election. Jones got 97.2 percent of the vote, while Guerrero got 92.9 percent, Thome 89.8 percent and Hoffman 79.9 percent. The full voting results can be viewed here.
The only larger class than this one was the inaugural class of five elected in 1936 with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
Jones played his entire 19-year career with the Braves after Atlanta drafted him with the overall No. 1 pick in 1990. He batted .303/.401/.529 for his career, with 2,726 hits, 549 doubles, 468 homers and 1,623 RBIs. Jones was the 1999 National League MVP and a nine-time All-Star. His Braves teams won 11 NL East titles and one World Series title.
Jones is one of only nine players in history - and the only switch-hitter - with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage and 400 home runs. The other eight are Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Manny Ramirez, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.
Thome played 22 seasons for seven teams and ended his career with the 2012 Orioles. He batted .276/.402/.554, with a .956 OPS and 612 homers, which is eighth-most all time, and 1,699 RBIs, which is 26th-most. Thome played more in the field then he did as a DH with 1,106 games at first base, 493 at third base and 818 as a designated hitter. He produced six seasons with 40 or more home runs.
The Orioles acquired him June 30, 2012 from Philadelphia for minor leaguers Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon. In 28 games with Baltimore, he hit .257/.348/.396 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
Guerrero played 16 years for four teams, ending his career with the 2011 Orioles at 36. He batted .318/.379/.553 with 449 homers and 1,496 RBIs. He was an eight-time All-Star and the 2004 American League MVP for the Angels.
In 590 plate appearances for the 2011 Orioles, Guerrero hit .290/.317/.416 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs.
Hoffman holds the NL record with 601 career saves and that ranks second all-time to Mariano Rivera, who had 652. Hoffman, who played his entire 18-year career with San Diego, recorded 40 or more saves a major league-record nine times. A seven-time All-Star, he finished in the top six for the Cy Young vote four times and was second twice. He missed election by just five votes with 74 percent last year.
Edgar Martinez, who took 72 percent of his career plate appearances as a designated hitter, came up 20 votes short of election, getting 70.4 percent. Martinez batted .312/.418/.515 with a .933 OPS and increased his vote percentage from 58.6 percent last year. This was the ninth time on the ballot for Martinez, who returns to the ballot for a final time next year.
Former Orioles and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina missed out on election in his fifth year on the ballot. But his vote percentage grew to 63.5 percent. He got 20.3 percent in 2014, 24.6 percent in 2015, 43.0 percent in 2016 and 51.8 percent last year. A career 270-game winner, Mussina went 147-81 with an ERA of 3.53 in 10 seasons with the Orioles and is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame.
Roger Clemens got 57.3 percent of the vote, up from 54.1 percent last year. Barry Bonds got 56.4 percent, up from 53.8 percent last year.
The four players announced tonight will be joined on the Cooperstown dais by former Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, who were elected in December by the Modern Baseball Era committee. The class of 2018 will be inducted at Cooperstown on July 29.