Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, avoiding a shutout in the BBWAA election for the second time in three years.
None of the other 27 players listed on the 2023 ballot in the hall surpassed the 75 percent hurdle for the election, though there were a few near misses. The results of the voting were announced Tuesday during a broadcast on MLB.com.
Longtime third baseman Rolen was named in his sixth year of eligibility for the anchor with 76.3% of the ballots cast. Only missing was former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who received 72.2% of the vote in his fifth attempt.
Players may appear on the ballot for 10 seasons after a five-year waiting period after retirement, provided they are named on at least 5% of the ballot during a voting cycle.
Rolen was an All-Star seven times during his 17-year career and played for the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds. His eight gold gloves are the fourth most for a third baseman. The 1997 NL Rookie of the Year was a member of the Cardinals when the club won the 2006 World Series.
Rolen, who ranks fifth among the career third basemen in WAR according to baseball-reference.com, was named on just 10.2 percent of the ballots in his first year of eligibility in 2018, but gained rapidly with each passing election cycle Support.
The same uptrend applies to Helton, which started 2019 at 16.5%. Helton, a .316 career hit spanning 17 seasons all spent with the Colorado Rockies, was a four-time Silver Slugger winner and three-time Gold Glover for his work at first base.
Other players named on at least half of the ballots cast were Billy Wagner (68.1%), Andruw Jones (58.1%) and Gary Sheffield (55%).
One of the most dominant aides of his time, Wagner steadily gained support during his election years. He received support on 51% of the ballots last year. Next year will be his ninth season.
Rolen’s close election meant the BBWAA has declined to elect new members only nine times in the history of the election. The authors did not choose anyone in 2021 either. Last year, only Red Sox great David Ortiz was chosen by the writers.
The three-year span that the BBWAA has elected only two players is at an all-time low. Since the annual vote became permanent in 1966, the writers had never failed to choose at least two players during a three-year period. They also chose only two players during the three-year periods ending in 1968 and in each season from 1996 to 1998.
Ironically, the lack of voters comes just a few years after a particularly prolific period of voting by writers. During the three-year period ending in 2019, the BBWAA elected 11 new Hall members, and during the five-year period from 2015 to 2019, 17 new Hall of Famers were selected by the authors.
Unlike 2021, when no new Hall of Famers were elected by either the writers or an era committee — the first time since 1960 — at least two new inductees will speak during induction ceremonies on July 23 in Cooperstown. Soft Fred McGriff will enter the hall alongside Rolen after being selected by an era committee at December’s winter meetings in San Diego.
Progress has been slow for some of the more controversial candidates whose performance meets traditional Hall of Fame standards, but their cases have been undermined by associations with PEDs.
Alex Rodriguez, who hit tremendous career totals of 3,115 hits, 696 homers and 2,086 RBI, was named on 35.7% of the ballots in his second year of eligibility, up from 34.3%. Rodriguez missed 2014 for violating MLB’s PED guidelines.
Similarly, Manny Ramirez, who hit 555 home runs while rolling up a .312 batting average but was suspended twice for PED violations, made little progress during his seventh time on the ballot. After landing at 28.9% last year, Ramirez pushed up to 33.2% this time.
Conversely, fearsome thug Sheffield has picked up a bit of steam in his ninth year of eligibility. It was 40.6% last year. Sheffield, who hit 509 career homers but was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report, was never disciplined for using PED. Next season will be his tenth and final opportunity to be chosen via Writers’ Choice.
Of the 14 first-time voters, only two received the necessary 5% support to be considered next time.
One of those newcomers was Carlos Beltran, who landed 46.5% of the ballots. Beltrans Hall’s case is solid on the merits of a career that has seen 435 home runs, 312 steals, 2,725 hits and one of baseball’s brightest postseason records.
Beltran was a central figure in the controversial sign-theft scandal that tainted the Houston Astros, for which Beltran played, the 2017 World Series title. His association with the controversy later led to his resignation ahead of his first season in that role as manager of the New York Mets.
While it’s uncertain what role the scandal played in Beltran’s absence from his first ballot, his level of support bodes well for the future, and perhaps future candidacy for other standouts in that Astros roster.
The other freshman who will remain on the ballot is reliever Francisco Rodriguez, whose 437 saves gave him 10.8% of the ballots.
While voters have been stingy in recent years, next year could see a more active induction week with a range of interesting candidates up for election next winter. Leading the list of new additions are third baseman Adrian Beltre, catcher Joe Mauer and second baseman Chase Utley.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35519398/eight-gold-glove-3b-scott-rolen-makes-baseball-hall-fame Eight-time Gold Glove 3B Scott Rolen makes Baseball Hall of Fame