The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York awaits those exceptional few whose impacts on America’s past time well exceeds expectations. Like the classes before it, the class of 2018 introduces a new batch of names awaiting baseball immortality. As Hall of Fame weekend concludes, let’s take a quick profile on what each of the four players in this year’s class have accomplished in their careers.
Be advised, we will be talking about those elected from the “Today’s Game” Era (1988-Present).
Vladimir Guerrero, Right Fielder / Designated Hitter
Throughout his 16-year career in the majors, Vladimir Guerrero has played for the Montreal Expos, the Los Angeles Angles at Anaheim, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles. Guerrero made his impact as one of the league’s most imposing hitters of his time. Vlad stood out for his ability to make contact with bad pitches where most would miss or not bother swinging. Though unorthodox to some, Guerrero’s bear-handed approach has turned nothing into something time and time again. This talent has led to him being intentionally walked 250 times in his career (5th most all time). He has caught the attention of the league with his rocket arm, catching runners from deep in the outfield.
Guerrero arrived in Cooperstown on his second ballot. He also came with several accolades to his name, including nine All-Star appearances and eight Silver-Slugger awards. Vlad also won the 2007 Home Run Derby at the AT&T Park in San Francisco. His career numbers are worthy of praise as well. He posted a .318 batting average, 449 home runs and 1,496 runs batted in.
Chipper Jones, Third Baseman / Left Fielder
In this class, Chipper Jones boasts the highest voting percentage with 97.2%. A first-ballot entry, Jones has played each of his 19 years in the majors with the Atlanta Braves. Not to mention the organization retired his jersey number 10. In addition, he was a part of the 1995 World Series winning team, beating the Cleveland Indians in five games. Like Guerrero, Jones showed little mercy from the batter’s box. No. 10’s career numbers stand with a .303 batting average, 468 home runs and 1,623 runs batted in. He is also an eight-time All-Star and the batting champion of 2008. Furthermore, he also has two Silver-Slugger Awards and a National League MVP award under his belt. Fun Fact: He and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only Hall of Fame players that were drafted 1st overall.
Trevor Hoffman, Relief Pitcher
While the East Coast had Mariano Rivera, the West Coast had Trevor Hoffman. Though he rose to prominence in San Diego, Trevor also pitched for Florida (now Miami) and Milwaukee. The long-time San Diego Padre boasts a career ERA of 2.87 and 601 career saves. Hoffman also tallied 1,133 strikeouts throughout his 18-year career. The seven-time All-Star led the National League in saves twice (1998, 2006) as well. The latest Padre enshrined in Cooperstown, the San Diego ball club retired his jersey number, 51. His 61-75 pitching record still leaves some unconvinced of his Hall of Fame case. But as a reliever, few stood a chance facing him from the batter’s box. When they heard the famous AC/DC song, “Hell’s Bells,” playing through the speakers, trouble was coming for them.
Jim Thome, First Baseman / Designated Hitter / Third Baseman
For 22 years in the majors, Jim Thome established himself as an imposing power hitter. Along with being a member of the 600 home run club, Thome recorded 1,699 runs batted in and a .276 career batting average. The five-time All-Star burst onto the scene as a Cleveland Indian. But he played for quite a few squads as well, including the Chicago White Sox, and two tenures with Philadelphia. Thome received the Roberto Clemente Award in 2002 and was named American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2006. Though the Cleveland Indians have not retired Thome’s number yet, he signed a one-day deal to officially retire as one of their own. To many, his numbers show that he should have appeared in more All-Star Games than just five. But when it’s all said and done, Thome has no doubt made a rock-solid case for a spot in Cooperstown.
Featured image courtesy of sbnation.com
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