HOF: Look Back, Plan Ahead

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is prepping for the game’s biggest annual celebration when six legends will be inducted as the Class of 2018 this July in Cooperstown.

With the election of Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Jan. 24, the Class of 2018 brings the total number of BBWAA electees in the last five elections to 16.

Guerrero, Hoffman, Jones and Thome will be inducted with Modern Baseball Era Committee electees Jack Morris and Alan Trammell at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 29 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.

The 2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner Bob Costas and 2018 Spink Award winner Sheldon Ocker will be honored during Induction Weekend at the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 28 at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

THE CLASS OF 21 8

VLAD TO BE HERE: Vladimir Guerrero played 16 seasons for the Expos, Angels, Rangers and Orioles, earning nine All-Star Game selections and winning the 2004 American League Most Valuable Player Award. An eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner for his work in right field and at designated hitter, Guerrero hit .300-or-better 13 times, drove in 100-or-more runs 10 times and topped the 30- home run mark in eight seasons. The owner of two 30 home run/30 stolen base seasons, Guerrero is one of only eight players in big league history to have at least a .318 career batting average and a .553 slugging percentage, a list that includes Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. Guerrero never struck out more than 95 times in any season, and 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. Those five batters are the only players in MLB history with at least 400 home runs and fewer than 1,000 strikeouts.

WHAT A RELIEF: Trevor Hoffman pitched 18 seasons for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers, spending 16 seasons in San Diego…The first pitcher to reach both the 500-save and 600-save milestones, Hoffman ranks second in MLB history with 601 saves and second with 856 games finished. A seven-time All-Star who finished in the Top 10 of the NL Cy Young Award voting four times, Hoffman led the NL in saves twice and saved 40-or-more games nine times, tied with Mariano Rivera for the most such seasons all time…Ranks seventh all-time – and first among relief pitchers – with a career average of 6.989 hits per nine innings pitched…His career WHIP of 1.058 ranks ninth all-time and fifth all-time among pitchers whose careers started after 1920.

PUSHING IN ALL THE CHIPS: Chipper Jones played 19 seasons, all for the Atlanta Braves, including 13 years where the Braves made the postseason…The first overall pick in the 1990 MLB Draft, Jones becomes the second No. 1-overall selection to earn Hall of Fame election, following Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016. An eight-time All-Star and the 1999 NL Most Valuable Player, Jones topped the 100-RBI mark nine times and had eight seasons with at least 100 runs scored. Among players who appeared in at least half their games at third base, Jones is the only major leaguer to record at least 1,600 RBI and score at least 1,600 runs… His 1,623 RBI are the most of any player whose primary position was third base…As a rookie in 1995, led the Braves to the World Series title. One of only nine players in big league history with at least 400 home runs, a .300 batting average, a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage, along with Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

JACK IN THE BOX: Jack Morris pitched 18 seasons for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians, earning 14 Opening Day starts and four World Series rings. A five-time All-Star, Morris finished in the Top 5 of his league’s Cy Young Award voting five times and led all pitchers in the 1980s with 2,444.2 innings pitched and 162 wins and all American League pitchers in strikeouts with 1,629. Among pitchers whose careers began after 1976, Morris recorded the most complete games with 175. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series for the Twins, Morris pitched 10 shutout innings, earning the victory in the bottom of the 10th when Gene Larkin’s single drove home Dan Gladden with the winning run. Morris was named the MVP after going 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts against the Braves.

JIM’S GEMS: Jim Thome played 22 seasons for the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles…One of nine members of the 600-home run club, Thome’s 612 long balls rank eighth on the all-time list, and his 1,747 walks rank No. 7 all-time. Thome recorded 100-or-more RBI nine times and scored 100-or-more runs in eight seasons. Thome, who ranks fifth all-time in at bats per home run with a mark of 13.76, began his career as a third baseman before moving to first base…A five-time All-Star, Thome led the league in walks three times and in homers once. He is one of only five players in big league history – along with Barry Bonds, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams – with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBI and 1,700 walks. Thome’s six seasons with at least 40 home runs, 100 RBI, and 100 walks rank third all-time behind only Babe Ruth (10) and Barry Bonds (6) and his nine seasons with at least 30 home runs and 100 walks are tied with Lou Gehrig for third most all-time behind only Bonds and Ruth with 11 11 such seasons each. Thome recorded at least 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and 100 walks in six straight seasons from 1999-2004, joining Jeff Bagwell (1996-2001) as the only players to post six straight such seasons.

TRAM’S TIME: Alan Trammell played 20 seasons for the Tigers, earning six All-Star Game selections, four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards at shortstop. A seven-time .300 hitter, Trammell scored 100-or-more runs three times, topped the 30- double mark six times and stole 20-or-more bases three times. His 2,139 games at shortstop rank 11th on the all-time list, and his .977 fielding percentage ranks sixth among shortstops with at least 2,000 games played. The clubhouse leader of the 1984 Tigers that won the World Series title, Trammell was named the Fall Classic MVP after hitting .450 with two homers and six RBI in Detroit’s five-game victory…In 1987, Trammell – batting out of the cleanup spot – hit .343 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI, the first season by a shortstop in history with at least a .340 batting average, 25 homers and 100 RBI.

2018 AWARD WINNERS Bob Costas, winner of the 2018 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters, and Sheldon Ocker, the 2018 winner of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award, will be honored at the 2018 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 28 at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

BOBBIN'ALONG: Costas, who has passionately and poignantly called games and narrated the baseball experience for four decades, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Learning his trade at local stations while at Syracuse University, Costas graduated in 1974 and landed the play-by-play duties with the Spirits of St. Louis of the American Basketball Association on KMOX-AM. After handling regional NBA and NFL telecasts for CBS in the late 1970s, Costas moved to NBC in 1980. In 1982, Costas was paired with Sal Bando on the backup broadcast of NBC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week package, then teamed up with 2009 Ford Frick Award winner Tony Kubek in the same role from 1983-89…Along the way, Costas handled play-by-play of the American League Championship Series in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989 along with pregame duties at the All-Star Game those same years as well as pregame assignments at the World Series in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1988. NBC and ABC formed The Baseball Network following CBS’ handling of the MLB contract from 1990-93, and Costas worked the 1994 All-Star Game as well as the 1995 ALDS, ALCS and World Series for TBN. When TBN dissolved, Costas called the World Series for NBC in 1997 and 1999, the 1998 and 2000 ALCS, the 1999 NLCS and the 2000 All-Star Game…In 2009, Costas – a 28-time Emmy Award winner – returned to baseball when he joined the new MLB Network, where he has called games and served as a documentary host for nine seasons. Costas is the 42nd winner of the Frick Award.

SHELL’S GAME: Sheldon Ocker, who covered the Cleveland Indians for 33 seasons, was elected the 2018 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America…Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal after 10 years of covering the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers…He was one of only three Indians beat writers at the ABJ since 1930 and covered the team from 1981 through 2013. Ocker was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. Ocker was named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association…Ocker is the 69th winner of the Spink Award.

FYI

-- With six living electees in the Class of 2018, there have been 23 living Hall of Famers elected in the last five years, more than any other five-year period in Hall of Fame history. The previous record for most living Hall of Famers in any fiveyear period was 20 from 1969-73. 54

-- The election of Chipper Jones and Jim Thome brings the total of first-year BBWAA inductees to 54 and marks the fifth straight year with at least one first-ballot inductee, the first such stretch since a run of five straight years from 2001-05.

-- A partial list of eligible first-time players for upcoming Hall of Fame elections includes: 2019: Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera; 2020: Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko, Alfonso Soriano; 2021: Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, Barry Zito; 2022: Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira; 2023: Carlos Beltrán.

-- The Hall of Fame is comprised of 323 elected members. Included 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.

-- Red Schoendienst, born Feb. 2, 1923, is currently the oldest living Hall of Famer at 95…Vladimir Guerrero, who was born on Feb. 9, 1975, is the youngest living Hall of Famer at 43 years of age. 

Tracy RingolsbyComment