DYK? Pace picks up as 4 head to Cooperstown
BBWAA has elected 16 players over the past 5 years
Four new players are headed to Cooperstown.
When the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced the results of its 2018 ballot on Wednesday night, first-timers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome had cleared the 75-percent threshold needed for induction, along with ballot holdovers Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.
This was only the fifth time in 74 BBWAA elections that the writers elected four or more players. However, it was the second time in the past four years, as Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz all gained entry to Cooperstown in 2015.
• Hall of Fame coverage | 2018 Hall of Fame election results
Since the BBWAA elected no players in '13, it has picked up the pace with 16 over the past five years, which is a new record for any five-year span. This is only the second time -- joining 1951-56 -- that the writers have elected multiple players in at least five straight cycles.
With Jones and Thome cruising into the Hall on their initial try, there now have been 54 first-ballot inductees -- but 10 in just the past five years. Previously, there were 10 from 2000-13.
Here are five additional facts to know about each of the newly minted Hall of Famers:
• Jones' 468 career home runs rank third all-time for a switch-hitter, behind only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. He smacked 389 of those as a third baseman, which ranks fourth at that position, behind Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews and the still-active Adrian Beltre.
• Jones finished with a career slash line of .303/.401/.529, and his 10,614 plate appearances are the sixth most for any player with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage. Only Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Mel Ott, and Babe Ruth had more, and none of those five played past 1963. Jones is the only switch-hitter in the .300/.400/.500 club.
• Only twice in 13 seasons from 1998-2010 did Jones strike out more times than he walked, and for his career, he walked 103 more times than he struck out (1,512-1,409). The only retired players to debut since 1960 and finish with more free passes than whiffs, while posting a higher OPS+ than Jones' 141, are Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez.
• Drafted by the Braves with the top pick in 1990, Jones joins Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players to go from No. 1 overall selection to the Hall of Fame.
• Jones is just the eighth third baseman elected by the BBWAA, which is tied with center field for the fewest of any defensive position. Prior to Jones, Wade Boggs (2005) was the most recent BBWAA honoree who played the majority of his career at the hot corner.
• Combining elite power and patience, Thome ranks eighth on the all-time home run list (612) and seventh on the all-time walks list (1,747). Bonds and Ruth are the only other players who rank in the top 10 on both.
• From 1996-2008, Thome collected at least 30 homers and 90 walks 11 times in 13 seasons. Bonds is the only player to reach both thresholds in the same season more times in his career.
• Thome launched one homer per 13.8 at-bats, which ranks fourth in history behind Mark McGwire, Ruth and Bonds. He also racked up the second-most strikeouts in history, but when he didn't whiff, Thome's rate of one homer per 9.6 at-bats ranks behind only McGwire.
• Thome is the only player to deliver 13 walk-off home runs, spreading them out over 10 different seasons between 1994-2012.
• He is tied for seventh on the all-time postseason home run list with 17 and joins Carlos Beltran as the only players to have gone deep at least four times in a League Division Series (1999) and at least four times in a League Championship Series ('98) in his career. In those '98-'99 postseasons with Cleveland, Thome piled up 10 homers, 20 RBIs and an .818 slugging percentage over 15 games.
• Combining power with bat-to-ball ability, Guerrero walloped 449 home runs while striking out just 985 times. That makes him one of just five players to finish his career with more than 400 homers and less than 1,000 strikeouts. The others -- Lou Gehrig, Musial, Ott and Ted Williams -- all began their careers prior to integration.
• Ever aggressive, Guerrero only collected 737 walks, which doesn't even put him in the top 300 on the all-time list. However, more than a third of those free passes (250) were of the intentional variety. He ranks fifth in that category, behind only Bonds, Jose Pujols, Hank Aaron and Willie McCovey. Only Bonds exceeded Guerrero's total of seven seasons with at least 20 intentional walks.
• After getting a cup of coffee late in 1996, Guerrero played 15 more seasons and never finished with lower than a .290 batting average -- which came in his final year in 2011. He is one of seven players in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to log at least 15 seasons of 300-plus at-bats and a .290-plus average, and one of five in that time to put together 13 seasons of 300-plus at-bats and a .300 average. The others are Tony Gwynn, Pete Rose, Boggs and Rod Carew.
• Guerrero is the third player from the Dominican Republic to make it to the Hall of Fame, and the first position player. He follows pitchers Juan Marichal and Martinez.
• Guerrero was a star with both the Expos and Angels, getting about 600 more plate appearances in Montreal but winning an American League MVP Award and playing in five postseasons in Anaheim. That presents a difficult choice. While three players now have entered Cooperstown representing the Expos -- Tim Raines joined Gary Carter and Andre Dawson last year -- Guerrero could be the first to have a Halos cap on his plaque.
• Hoffman became the first pitcher to reach both 500 and 600 career saves -- finishing with 601 -- although Mariano Rivera later passed him for the record (652).
• His nine seasons with at least 40 saves ties Rivera for the all-time record, while no other pitcher has reached that mark more than six times. From 1995-2009, Hoffman saved at least 30 games 14 of 15 times, only falling short due to injury in 2003.
• Hoffman not only collected a lot of saves but also did so efficiently. His conversion rate of 88.8 percent is the third highest among the 28 pitchers with at least 300 saves, behind Rivera and Joseph Nathan (both 89.1 percent).
• Hoffman's best season came in 1998, when he went 53-for-54 in save opportunities. The 53 saves is tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in history, and the 98.1 percent success rate is the second highest in a 50-save campaign.
• Hoffman racked up a win probability added (WPA) of +34.2, which ranks 21st all-time among pitchers -- just in front of Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Marichal and Sandy Koufax. WPA measures a player's impact on his team's win probability in a given game, thereby giving Hoffman credit for pitching in high-leverage situations.