The Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2018 was completed on Wednesday with the announcement that Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman would join Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. On the other side of the spectrum, other notable candidates like former Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones merely hoped for a second chance on the ballot.
In total, 15 players who were on the ballot for the first time saw those hopes come to an abrupt end. Fortunately for Jones, he wasn’t one of them. His dreams will live on, but barely. Jones received 7.3 percent of the vote, meaning he’ll remain on the ballot along with another first-timer Scott Rolen, who earned 10.2 percent. Five percent is needed for players to remain on the ballot.
Jones had gained a lot of support recently from those who wanted to see him remain on the ballot. After finishing his 17-year career with 434 home runs and 10 Gold Glove Awards in center field, many believe he deserved genuine consideration for election. Though his numbers and accolades highlight his exceptional all-around talent, the fact that he struggled to gain much traction this year doesn’t bode well for his chances to gain momentum down the road.
The less fortunate group that will fall off the ballot is headlined by Johan Santana and Jamie Moyer, who each received only 2.4 percent, and Johnny Damon, who finished with 1.9 percent.
Santana, who hasn’t shut the door on a potential comeback, will need one now if he hopes to get elected. His career was defined by a stretch of unparalleled success and also injuries, which limited him to just 21 start safter his age-31 season. In that way, Santana’s career path has often been favorably compared to that of Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who walked away at 30 after winning three Cy Young Awards in his last four seasons. Santana won two Cy Young Awards himself, but was an was an afterthought with voters.
Damon, who accumulated 2,769 hits over his 18 seasons, was never expected to garner serious consideration. His claim to fame will being winning a World Series with both the Red Sox and Yankees, while being one of only 10 to hit 200 homers and steal 400 bases in career. That group includes Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson and Craig Biggio.
Hideki Matsui, Chris Carpenter, Kerry Wood, Livan Hernandez and Carlos Lee were the other players to receive at least one vote. Their departure will make the ballot much less congested for what will be another interesting group of candidates set to join the ballot in 2019.
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