Ex-Os Guerrero & Thome join Jones & Hoffman in 2018 HOF Class; Mussina gets 63.5 percent - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Ex-Os Guerrero & Thome join Jones & Hoffman in 2018 HOF Class; Mussina gets 63.5 percent

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Two players who ended their splendid big-league careers as designated hitters with the Orioles are part of this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame class, along with one of the game’s most decorated closers and a standout infielder who stayed with one team his entire career.

Former Orioles Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome as well as Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman were named on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted by qualified members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

It’s the largest group voted in by the writers since they also selected four in 2015. Since voting in just one player total in 2012 and 2013 (Barry Larkin), the writers have selected 16 in the past five elections.

And several more – including former Orioles’ ace Mike Mussina – are on the precipice of being elected next year (in a class that certainly will include New York Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera, who will be eligible for the first time).

Jones, an eight-time All Star for the Braves, was named on the highest percentage of ballots this year at 97.2 percent, or 410 of 422 submitted. It was the first year on the ballot for Jones.

Another first-timer, corner infielder/DH Jim Thome, was named on 89.8 percent of ballots. Thome spent 13 of his 19 big-league seasons with the Cleveland Indians, but also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers before finishing his career with three months in Baltimore in 2012.

Guerrero, who played primarily for the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels, spent one year with the Texas Rangers and also called it a career in Baltimore, retiring after his lone season with the Orioles in 2011. In his second year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Guerrero received the second largest number of votes at 392 or 92.9 percent. That was up from 71.7 percent last year in his first shot at the Hall.

It took Hoffman three tries, but the Padres closer and National League career saves leader garnered 337 votes and 79.9 percent to cement his election. He fell five votes short of induction in 2017.

This year’s closest call goes to Seattle Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who fell 30 votes short of 2018 induction, but his percentage total surged from 58.6 percent in 2017 to 70.4 this year. Facing the stigma of being a DH-only for much of his career, Martinez’s pursuit of the Hall will be left to the writers one more time. He is in his 10th and final year of eligibility in 2019.

Right-hander Mike Mussina, who spent 10 of his 18 seasons with the Orioles, again saw his vote total and percentage grow in what is now his fifth year of eligibility.

Mussina was named on 268 ballots or 63.5 percent of the vote.

His vote percentage has grown each year: 20.3 percent in 2014, 24.6 percent in 2015, 43 percent in 2016, and 51.8 percent in 2017.

He has five more chances of receiving 75 percent of the writers’ vote, and it is definitely trending in the right direction for Mussina.

Former Oriole outfielder Sammy Sosa, in his sixth year of eligibility, was named on 7.8 percent of ballots, enough to keep him eligible again in 2019. Lefty Jamie Moyer, in his first year on the ballot, received 2.4 percent (10 votes) and is no longer eligible.

Two other former Orioles in their first year of eligibility, Kevin Millwood and Aubrey Huff, didn’t garner any votes and also fell off the ballot. Players must receive at least five percent of the voting to remain eligible; players meeting that requirement maintain eligibility for 10 years on the writers’ ballots before being sent to the Eras Committees.

Two players caught in baseball’s performance-enhancing drug scandal, Roger Clemens (57.3) and Barry Bonds (56.4), saw modest gains but are still a good distance from induction.

Jones, Guerrero, Thome and Hoffman, along with Modern Baseball Era electees Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a July 29 ceremony in Cooperstown. N.Y.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Eldersburg Enigma

    January 24, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I can’t believe the writers are trying to block Aubrey Huff from Hall of Fame induction. I like Rafael Palmeiro’s chances with his career numbers five years after he finally retires!

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      I’ve thought about that one. If Raffy comes back and plays in a major league game I assume his clock re-starts. That would be wild.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      January 25, 2018 at 7:19 am

      I have a problem with Raffy being in the Hall of Fame. I’m not sure what exactly defines a HOF’er in this day and age, but to quote Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it”.

      And no, it’s not just the steroids, although I do believe his longevity and late career power output is owed greatly to them, but rather, how many years, if ANY … could Raffy claim to be the best player at his postion in his league.

      One more thing, and agree with them or not, but until the character and integrity clauses are removed from the ballot and Pete Rose gets in … Raffy stays on the outside. And this is said with all due respect regarding that cheating liar. (did I forget primadonna?)

      PS…Mr. Cockey .. what ever happened to the spell check on this site?

    • Eldersburg Enigma

      January 25, 2018 at 9:07 am

      I agree with Boog that Raffy was never the pre-eminent player at his position in the American League.

  2. ClyOs

    January 24, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I think all (4) are deserving of the hall. I am also glad to see Jack Morris final got his due. He was the winningest pitchers in the decade of the 1980s., but his career highlight was game seven of the 1991 World Series. He had one of the greatest pitching performance in postseason history that night throwing 10 innings of shutout baseball to win 1–0 against the Braves.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      January 24, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Jack Morris actually has very similar stats to Mussina, but his 175 complete games dwarf Mussina’s 57. Shut outs were 28 Morris, 23 Mussina. Morris won 20+ three times, they both made it to 5 All Star teams. Neither ever won the Cy Young.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      I’d take Moose for a season. Morris for a game.

  3. BunkerFan

    January 25, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Steroid use was NOT banned in baseball until many players had become regular users. I remember an ESPN video interview with McGwire in ’98 when he and Sosa were locked in that dinger battle in which a very large jar that read “Androsterone” sat on the top shelf of his locker. He made no attempt to hide it because it wasn’t banned yet. If you are going to penalize players for using it you have to do so for years AFTER it became illegal. Then as Dan says, deduct a certain percentage from their totals for those years and then see where they end up in your rankings.
    Also, if steroids were the magic formula for achievement, what about all the mediocre to awful players who were caught after it was banned. Why didn’t it improve them?
    I would vote for Bonds and Clemens…they are so far over the line that ‘roids don’t really matter. And I’d look hard at Raffy’s stats and deduct a percentage for late career use. Players should only be penalized in HOF voting for the years they used when it was banned.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 25, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      This is a slippery slope. Because the injectable stuff was illegal in the country without a viable prescription. I’m OK with that argument for the stuff you could have gotten at GNC when there wasn’t a banned list in MLB. But if it were illegal in the country — and most of the synthetic stuff that was used was — I’m not sure the “wasn’t banned by Baseball” argument holds water.

      • BunkerFan

        January 25, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        OK…by that measure what McGwire has admitted taking was NOT illegal in the country while he was taking it…at least until 2004, according to the Wikipedia article on it. It says, in part:
        “Androstenedione was manufactured as a dietary supplement, often called andro or andros for short. Sports Illustrated credits Patrick Arnold for introducing androstenedione to the North American market.[13] Androstenedione was legal and able to be purchased over-the-counter, and, as a consequence, it was in common use in Major League Baseball throughout the 1990s by record-breaking sluggers like Mark McGwire.”
        It goes on to say that
        “On March 12, 2004, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 was introduced into the United States Senate. It amended the Controlled Substance Act to place both anabolic steroids and prohormones on a list of controlled substances, making possession of the banned substances a federal crime. The law took effect on January 20, 2005. However, androstenedione was legally defined as an anabolic steroid, even though there is scant evidence that androstenedione itself is anabolic in nature. On April 11, 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of androstenedione, citing that the drug poses significant health risks commonly associated with steroids. Androstenedione is currently banned by the U.S. military.[15]”
        I still don’t think players should be punished for taking steroids like this before they either became banned in Professional Baseball OR Illegal in the country. That has to be starting in 2003 and after. This should be taken into account when assessing the HOF eligibility of players of this era.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      I think the belief is it was more than Andro for all of them. Many of those anabolic injectors such as the Ben Johnson 1988 drug were not available legally unless prescribed. That’s when it becomes the aforementioned slippery slope.

      • BunkerFan

        January 25, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        The problem is where do we stop with this? If physicians were prescribing drugs for players, then they were legal. What about prescription opioid painkillers now for athletes? They also “enhance” performance by enabling them to play sooner and to recover sooner from injuries. I’m sure there are other substances that do that. I have heard about lots of pitchers using Andro to rebound more quickly from injuries. If this were prescribed by a physician, then we can’t punish them for that. It’s the illegal use of PED’s with bogus prescriptions and deliberate ways to get around rules and regulations that should be punished when caught. But we can’t just be suspicious of cheating in this way: there HAS to be solid legal evidence. What I’m saying is if a player used PED’s LEGALLY and admits to this there should not be consequences. I think McGwire might fall into that category. Not sure about Raffy. And Bonds and Clemens were never legally convicted of anything. I don’t think Canseco is exactly an unbiased source.

  4. Orial

    January 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

    All solid and deserving choices. Dan you asked me to elaborate on my Owners’ vote yesterday. First I’ll ask you–is there an unwritten rule that bans the steroid users from entry? Is it a political/opinion poll? Just thinking there has to be a stalemate broken on this “opinion/personal view” poll that the voters are using. If the Owners can vote(a la NFL) to establish a cut n dry yes or no on their eligibility the voters could use these results establish their votes. Hope that made sense.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 25, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Ok. I understand better. Thanks. But it isn’t the owners. It’s the Hall of Fame. And its board of directors that set the guidelines. And so far the Hall has decided to leave it up to the writers with no specific instructions besides the integrity clause. That’s what you were asking, right?

  5. Orial

    January 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Yes Dan that does explain. It’s, rightfully so,about integrity. Can force a decision on someone. Baseball is more conservative and moral driven sport than all the other major sports which is not a bad thing.

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