Thome leads MLB Hall of Fame selections
NEW YORK (AP) — Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.
Designated hitter Edgar Martinez came close after a grass-roots campaign to boost him. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both tainted by the steroids scandal, edged up but again fell far short.
Jones and Thome made it 54 players elected in their first year of eligibility by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Jones drew 97.2 percent (410 of 422) in results announced Wednesday, and Thome was at 89.8 percent.
“It was waterworks,” Jones said after hearing the vote.
Jones was an eight-time All-Star third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. The switch-hitter batted .303 with 468 home runs.
Jones was a force for most of the Atlanta teams that won 14 straight division titles — his election puts another member of those Braves clubs in Cooperstown, along with pitchers John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz.
Thome hit 612 home runs, putting him eighth on the career list. The five-time All-Star played mostly for the Cleveland Indians.
Guerrero was elected in his second try, getting 92.9 percent. The nine-time All-Star slugger played half his career with the Montreal Expos. The outfielder was a notorious bad-ball hitter, batting .318 with 449 homers and 1,496 RBIs.
Hoffman was chosen in his third year, getting 79.9 percent after missing by just five votes last time. The former San Diego Padres closer had 601 saves, second to Mariano Rivera’s 652.
It took 75 percent for election, or 317 votes. Martinez made a big move up to 70.4 percent and fell 20 votes short. Mike Mussina climbed to 63.5 percent.
Clemens, winner of 354 games and seven Cy Young Awards, got 57.3 percent after drawing 54.1 percent last time. Bonds, the career home run leader and a seven-time MVP, reached 56.4 percent, up from 53.8 percent.
Clemens and Bonds each have four tries left.
The four new members will be inducted on July 29 . They will be joined by Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell, who were picked last month by a committee that considered older players and executives.
Rivera heads the ballot next year, once again raising debate over whether any player will unanimously elected to the Hall. The late Roy Halladay also will be a first-time candidate.