Chipper Jones, Jim Thome lead 2018 MLB Hall of Fame ballot

By The Sports Xchange  |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 4:14 PM
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Third baseman Chipper Jones and designated hitter Jim Thome are among the 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced Monday.

The ballot is being mailed this week to more than 425 voting members of the BBWAA. The results of the voting will be announced on Jan. 24.

Infielder Omar Vizquel and pitchers Jamie Moyer and Johan Santana also are new candidates who will join 14 holdovers from the 2017 balloting in which first baseman Jeff Bagwell, outfielder Tim Raines and catcher Ivan Rodriguez were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by selected BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage to gain election. Falling five votes short of last year's total required for election was relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman, who polled 74 percent. Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero came within 15 votes at 71.7 percent.

Other players named on more than half the ballots were designated hitter/third baseman Edgar Martinez (58.6), pitcher Roger Clemens (54.1), outfielder Barry Bonds (53.8) and pitcher Mike Mussina (51.8).

Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years provided they receive at least five percent of the vote. Other holdovers from the 2017 ballot are pitchers Curt Schilling and Billy Wagner, first baseman Fred McGriff, second baseman Jeff Kent and outfielders Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa and Larry Walker.

Jones was the National League MVP in 1999 and posted a .303 career batting average -- featuring a .364 mark in his batting title year of 2008 -- with 2,726 hits, including 468 home runs and 1,623 RBIs, over 19 seasons, all with the Atlanta Braves.

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 average and 400 home runs, along with Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

Jones, an eight-time All-Star, is also the only player who appeared in at least 50 percent of his games at third base to record at least 1,600 runs batted in and score at least 1,600 runs.

Thome played for six teams and finished his 22-season career with 612 home runs, the eighth-highest total in history, and one RBI shy of 1,700 while batting .276 and compiling a .956 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He is one of only five players in big-league history with at least 500 homers, 1,500 runs, 1,600 RBIs and 1,700 walks, along with Bonds, Ott, Ruth and Williams.

Vizquel, Thome's former Cleveland Indians teammate, played 24 seasons during which he logged the most defensive games (2,709) at shortstop and the highest career fielding percentage (.985) at the position. The 11-time Gold Glove Award winner also banged out 2,877 hits, stole 404 bases and scored 1,445 runs.

Moyer wore the uniform of eight major league clubs in a career covering 25 seasons, making him one of five pitchers and 10 players overall to appear in at least that many big-league seasons. The left-hander won 269 games, two of which came in 2012 when he became at age 49 the oldest pitcher to win an a major league game.

Santana was a unanimous choice for the American League Cy Young Award twice (2004, 2006) with the Minnesota Twins, and pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history June 1, 2012, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The left-hander led his league in WHIP four times, earned run average three times, strikeouts three times, hits-per-nine-innings three times, strikeouts per nine innings three times, innings pitched twice (2006, 2008), games started twice (2006, 2008) and victories once.

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