Baseball Hall of Fame: Scott Rolen headed to Cooperstown

Scott Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove award winner and a seven-time All-Star, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

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Rolen, 47, was the only candidate among the 28 players listed on the 2023 Hall of Fame ballot to top the 75% threshold needed for election. He received 297 votes, topping the needed 292 for enshrinement.

The slick-fielding third baseman received 76.3% of the votes in his sixth year of eligibility from the Baseball Writers Association of America, five years after receiving just 10.2% of votes in his first year on the ballot. That made him the player with the lowest first-year support to eventually be elected by the writers, according to Sports Illustrated.

The results of the balloting were revealed Tuesday during a broadcast on MLB.com.

Rolen, who played 17 seasons in the majors, joins Fred McGriff, who was unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame in December by the Contemporary Era Committee.

Rolen is only the 18th third baseman elected to the Hall -- still the lowest total of any fielding position, according to MLB.com. He is only the ninth third sacker to be elected by the BBWAA. He is the first third baseman elected to the Hall since Chipper Jones five years ago.

Rolen and McGriff will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 23 in Cooperstown, New York.

Todd Helton, who spent 17 seasons playing first base for the Colorado Rockies, came up 11 votes short of election, received 72.2% of the votes. Relief pitcher Billy Wagner was third at 265 (68.1%). Outfielder Andruw Jones (226 votes, 58.1%) and outfielder-designated hitter Gary Sheffield (214 votes, 55%), rounded out the top five.

Rolen, who was drafted in the second round of the 1993 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1997.

He was a key member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series champions in 2006. In addition to the Phillies and Cardinals, Rolen also played for the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds. His eight Gold Gloves are the fourth-most for a third baseman, ESPN reported.

Rolen’s eight Gold Gloves at third base only trail the 10 won by Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Nolan Arenado, MLB.com reported.

Although he was noted for his glove, Rolen had a career batting average of .281, with 316 home runs and 1,287 RBI, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He was also one of only 35 players with at least 2,000 hits, 300 homers and 500 doubles, according to MLB.com.

Carlos Beltrán pulled 46.5% of the ballots in his first year of eligibility, while Jeff Kent had the same percentage on his 10th and final year of eligibility on the writers’ ballots, MLB.com reported. both received 181 votes.

Players on the ballot who had been suspended due to allegations of drug use did not fare as well. Alex Rodriguez had 35.7% of the votes, up from 34.3% in 2021, while Manny Ramirez pulled in 33.2% of the vote, up from 28.9% last season.

No first-year players on the ballot were elected for only the ninth time in the history of the Hall of Fame, ESPN reported. Only two players have been elected by the writers over the past three years; David Ortiz was elected in 2022, while no players received enough votes in 2021.

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