Scott Rolen, a seven-time All-Star who won eight Gold Gloves at third base during a 17-season major league career, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday, avoiding a shutout for the second time in three years. in the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) ballot.
None of the 27 other players listed on the 2023 Hall ballot passed the 75 percent threshold for election, though they came very close to picking a pair. The results of the vote were revealed Tuesday during a broadcast on MLB.com.
Full-time third baseman Rolen was named 76.3% of the votes cast in his sixth year of eligibility to win the enshrinement, trailing close behind former Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who received 72, 2% of votes on the ballot in his fifth election attempt.
Players can appear on the ballot for 10 seasons, after a five-year waiting period after retiring, as long as they appear with at least 5% of the ballot during a voting cycle.
Rolen was a seven-time All-Star during his 17-year career, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds. His eight Gold Gloves are the fourth most ever for a third baseman. The 1997 National League Rookie of the Year was a member of the Cardinals when the club won the 2006 World Series.
Rolen, who ranks fifth in career WAR among third basemen according to baseball-reference.com, was named on just 10.2 percent of ballots during his first year of eligibility in 2018, but he quickly gained support with each voting cycle. passing vote.
The same upward trajectory has held true for Helton, who started at 16.5% in 2019. A career .316 hitter over 17 seasons, all spent with the Rockies, Helton was a four-time Silver Slugger winner and a three-time Gold Glover. for his job at first base.
Other players who were named on at least half of the ballots cast included Billy Wagner (68.1%), Andruw Jones (58.1%) and Gary Sheffield (55%).
Wagner, one of the most dominant relievers of his era, has steadily gained support during his years on the ballot. He won support on 51% of the ballots last year. Next year will be his ninth season of eligibility.
Rolen’s close election meant that the BBWAA has yet refused to elect new members just nine times in voting history. The writers also didn’t pick anyone in 2021. Last year, only Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz was selected by the writers.
The three-year stretch in which the BBWAA has chosen only two players coincides with an all-time low. Since annual voting became permanent in 1966, writers had never failed to pick at least two players during a three-year period. They also picked just two players during the three-year terms ending in 1968 and in each season from 1996 to 1998.
Ironically, the select few come just a few years after a particularly fruitful period of writer voting. During the three-year term ending in 2019, the BBWAA selected 11 new Hall of Famers and during the five-year period from 2015 to 2019, the writers selected 17 new Hall of Famers.
Unlike in 2021, when no new Hall of Famers were elected by writers or an era committee — the first time since 1960 — there will be at least two new members speaking in Cooperstown during induction ceremonies on the 23rd. of July. Fred McGriff will enter the Hall along with Rolen after being selected by an era committee at the winter meetings in December in San Diego.
Progress was slow for some more controversial candidates whose performance meets traditional Hall of Fame standards, but have seen their cases undermined by associations with PEDs.
Alex Rodriguez, who had huge career totals of 3,115 hits, 696 home runs and 2,086 RBIs, was named on 35.7% of the ballots during his second year of eligibility, up from 34.3%. Rodriguez missed 2014 under suspension for violating MLB’s PED policies.
Similarly, Manny Ramirez, who hit 555 home runs while racking up a career .312 batting average but was suspended twice for PED violations, made little progress during his seventh time on the ballot. After reaching 28.9% last year, Ramírez advanced to 33.2% this time.
By contrast, the fearsome Sheffield slugger picked up a bit of a boost in his ninth year of eligibility. He as in 40.6% last year. Sheffield, who hit 509 home runs in his career but was mentioned in the 2007 Mitchell Report, was never disciplined for the use of PEDs. The upcoming season will be his tenth and final chance to win the election via the writers’ ballot.
Among the 14 freshmen on the ballot, only two received the 5% support needed to be considered next time.
One of them was Carlos Beltrán, who obtained 46.5% of the ballots. Beltran’s case for getting to Cooperstown is strong on the merits of a career that saw 435 home runs, 312 steals, 2,725 hits and one of baseball’s brightest postseason records.
Beltrán was a central figure in the controversial sign-stealing scandal that marred the 2017 World Series title for the Houston Astros, for whom Beltrán played. His association with the controversy later led to his resigning as manager of the New York Mets before his first season in that role.
While it’s unclear what role he played in the scandal, the level of support Beltrán received bodes well for the future and, perhaps, for future nominations for other standouts on that Astros team.
The other first-year on the ballot to remain on the ballot is Venezuelan reliever Francisco Rodríguez, whose 437 saves sufficed for 10.8% of the ballot.
While voters have been tight-fisted in recent years, next year could see a busier induction week with a host of interesting candidates running next winter. The list of newcomers is led by third baseman Adrian Beltre, catcher Joe Mauer and second baseman Chase Utley.