It appears Indians fans will get to celebrate one of their beloved superstars being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
While the official announcement won't come until Jan. 24, Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs on Twitter) is keeping people in the know with his annual Hall of Fame ballot tracker. With 156 of the estimated 424 ballots known, former Tribe slugger Jim Thome's name has appeared on just under 95 percent of them, the second most of any candidate so far this year.
As players only need 75 percent of the vote to gain election, an induction ceremony for Thome on July 29 seems all but assured, so Tribe fans may want to start booking trips to Cooperstown. The honor will be well-deserved for Thome, who hit 612 home runs during a career that saw him gain a reputation as one of the nicest guys in the game.
Unfortunately, 2018 will not be the perfect Hall of Fame year Clevelanders had envisioned: Former defensive wizard Omar Vizquel's name has appeared on just under 27 percent of all known ballots, and it is now statistically impossible for him to gain enough votes to be elected this year.
However, the 11-time Gold Glove winner has already blown passed the number of votes to return to the ballot next year. The Hall of Fame requires player to receive at least 5 percent of the vote to stay on. This equates to 22 votes, and Vizquel already has 42. He will get another chance.
Among other notable names, former Braves star Chipper Jones currently leads all comers, with only two writers not voting for him. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero also look to be headed towards induction after narrowly missing out in 2017, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez is also making a late push, although he still needs some gains from other voters. Thibodaux's vote tracker can be seen here. (NOTE: Writers are limited to selecting 10 names)
Two former players are already headed to the Hall of Fame this year after being elected by the Veterans Committee: shortstop Alan Trammell and starting pitcher Jack Morris. Although he spent most of his career in Detroit, Morris actually finished his career with the Indians, going 10-6 in 23 starts in 1994.