Class of 2018 to help shape future of Baseball Hall of Fame

403 Games above.500 for Braves with Chipper Jones in lineup

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman will be joining the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.

Chipper Jones led a group of four former players selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 in voting revealed Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Thome (89.8) was the other candidate to make it in on his first try, while Hoffman (79.9) and Guerrero (92.9) gained entrance after missing out by five and 15 votes, respectively, in 2017. His 601 saves is second-most in Major League Baseball history, behind Mariano Rivera's 652. Jones will be the 16th primary third-baseman in the Hall, and sixth to enter on his first ballot.

In order to be inducted, a player must appear on 75 percent of the ballots.

More than 10 players on this ballot deserve to be in Cooperstown, especially when steroid users remain in the conversation.

The newest Hall of Fame class will be announced tonight at 6 on MLB Network, and the revelation will come with the usual debate, frustration and skepticism. Thome was a five-time All-Star, as well as the 1996 AL Silver Slugger Award victor at third-base. Thome is one of nine players all time to hit more than 600 home runs.

Hoffman was chosen in his third year. The 10-vote limit for each voter has many fringe candidates at risk of falling off the ballot.

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A total of 317 votes was needed for induction.

Thome was a five-time All-Star, including during the 2006 season when he played for the White Sox. Mussina and Schilling both seem to be gaining support, at least among ballots already made public, and each one could be on a path toward eventual induction, even if it doesn't happen right away.

This is the second time in three years that the BBWAA has elected four players, and 13 over the last four years. The longtime Seattle DH might fall short again, but he should see another sizable jump from last year's 58.6%. He posted a career ERA of 2.87 to go along with 1,133 strikeouts. Among the players eligible for the first time in 2019 will be Lance Berkman, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

Former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel missed the cut, receiving just 37% of the vote.

Guerrero was an eight-time victor of the Silver Slugger Award, seven times as a right-fielder and once as a designated hitter.

There are going to be a lot of speeches on July 29 at Cooperstown, with the four inductees joining Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, who were elected in December by the Hall's Modern Era Committee.

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