Former winners of one Most Valuable Player Award, three Cy Young Awards, two Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards, two World Series MVPs and 34 Gold Glove Awards, plus a member of the 600 Home Run Club and a pitcher whose career spanned a quarter of a century, are among 19 new candidates on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot that is being mailed this week to more than 425 voting members of the BBWAA.
Third baseman Chipper Jones, fellow infielders Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel and pitchers Jamie Moyer and Johan Santana head the newcomers who will join 14 holdovers from the 2017 balloting in which first baseman Jeff Bagwell, outfielder Tim Raines and catcher Iván Rodríguez 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.
Chipper 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, over 19 seasons, all with the Atlanta Braves. He 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, Manny 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 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 (OBP). He is one of only five players in big league history with at least 500 homers, 1,500 runs, 1,600 RBI 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 MLB game. Santana was a unanimous choice for the American League Cy Young Award twice, in 2004 and ’06 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.
The other former Cy Young Award winner on the ballot is Chris Carpenter, the NL winner in 2005 with the Cardinals and who also finished second in 2009 when he was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. The right-hander was a central figure on St. Louis championship clubs in 2006 and ’11 and was 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four World Series starts.
Third baseman Scott Rolen and pitcher Kerry Wood were back-to-back NL Rookie of the Year Award winners in 1997 and ’98. Wood’s debut season of ’98 included a 20-strikeout game for the Chicago Cubs against the Houston Astros. Rolen went on to a 17-season career in which he made seven All-Star teams, won eight Gold Glove Awards and hit .421 for St. Louis in its 2006 World Series triumph.
Other World Series heroes on the ballot are pitcher Livan Hernandez, who was the MVP of both the NL Championship Series and World Series for the then-Florida Marlins in 1997, and outfielder Hideki Matsui, who earned World Series MVP honors by hitting .615 with three homers and eight RBI for the New York Yankees in 2009. New ballot additions also include Jason Isringhausen, another member of the 2006 Cardinals and who led the NL in saves two years earlier, and fellow reliever Brad Lidge, who was 48-for-48 in save opportunities in 2008, including the postseason, which the Philadelphia Phillies finished off with a World Series title. Sporting two World Series rings apiece are outfielder Johnny Damon with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and the Yankees in 2009 and first baseman Aubrey Huff with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and 2012.
Also on the ballot are outfielder Andruw Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner who also slugged 434 home runs; Carlos Lee, who drove in 100-or-more runs six times; four-time Gold Glove Award second baseman Orlando Hudson; and pitchers Kevin Millwood, who pitched one no-hitter and was part of another combined no-hitter, and Carlos Zambrano, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner whose 24 career home runs rank fourth on the all-time pitchers’ list.
Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce. Results will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.
The ballot: Barry Bonds, Chris Carpenter, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Livan Hernandez, Trevor Hoffman, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Edgar Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Fred McGriff, Kevin Millwood, Jamie Moyer, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano.