Jones, Guerrero among 4 players voted into Hall of Fame

Atlanta Braves' Jones acknowledges crowd during their MLB National League Wild Card playoff baseball game against St. Louis Cardinals in AtlantaChipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman are the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The four former players were selected in the annual round of Hall of Fame voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America, with each of their names appearing on at least 75 percent of ballots. Jones and Thome were both elected in their first year of eligibility, while two former superstars tainted by baseball’s steroid era - Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens - were again snubbed.

Jones played for the Atlanta Braves his entire career, hitting .303 with 468 home runs - the most by a switch-hitter. The Braves won the World Series in Jones’ rookie season, and he was named National League MVP in 1999. Guerrero had the ability to turn any pitch into a home run, with a rare combination of contact and power hitting that earned him a career batting average of .318 with 449 home runs. Only five players with more than 400 home runs have higher batting averages than Guerrero, who rose to prominence with the Montreal Expos but won an American League MVP award in 2004 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels.

Thome is eighth on the all-time home runs list with 612, and he holds the record for walk-off homers with 13. He spent the first 12 seasons of his 22-year career with the Cleveland Indians, and lasted into his 40s as a designated hitter who still managed 25 home runs as a 39-year-old. Hoffman was the lone pitcher voted in, and is the sixth reliever to join the Hall of Fame. He recorded 601 saves, second only to Mariano Rivera, who will be eligible for voting next year.

The inclusion of Thome and Hoffman was made more notable by the continued snubbing of Bonds and Clemens. Bonds is the all-time home runs leader, with 150 more homers than Thome, while Clemens won seven Cy Young Awards. The disgrace of the steroid era still stains the accomplishments of Bonds and Clemens, but their vote percentages are improving with each passing year, with both getting above 50 percent in their sixth year of eligibility. Voters will have four more chances to recognize Bonds and Clemens before their eligibility expires.

Speaking of eligibility, Edgar Martinez is down to his final chance after coming very close to reaching the 75 percent threshold in his ninth year. The Seattle Mariners slugger was on 70.4 percent of ballots, and he took to Twitter to thank the fans for supporting his candidacy, saying “next year may be the year.” Martinez played mostly as a designated hitter, which could explain the reluctance to give him enough votes despite his very impressive career at the plate.