PHILADELPHIA (TSTIME/TSTIME) — A former Philadelphia Phillie will be immortalized this summer in Cooperstown. Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday night with five votes over the 75% needed.
The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner appeared on 297 of the 389 votes cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for 76.3%. A player needed 292 votes to be elected.
“You don’t think about this. You think about doing your best,” Rolen said. “I never thought the Hall of Fame would be the answer.”
Rolen had a .281 batting average with 316 home runs and 1,287 RBIs for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09) and Cincinnati (2009-12). He was a unanimous choice as the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and hit .421 as the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.
Rolen’s margin of five votes tied for the 12th smallest of the players chosen by the writers and his 76.3% of the vote was the 10th lowest. Rolen rose from 63.2% last year and 10.2% on its first ballot in 2018.
That became the lowest percentage in the first vote of a later chosen player. The previous figure was Duke Snider’s 17% in 1970. Snider was voted 86.5% in 1980.
“On behalf of the Phillies, I would like to congratulate Scott Rolen on his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the highest honor a player can receive. He is well deserving of this award,” said Phillies managing partner John Middleton. “Philadelphia was privileged to witness the start of his extraordinary baseball career.
“In addition to being one of the most influential offensive and defensive players of his day, Scott played the game right. Whether taking extra base with a headfirst slide or diving for a ball in the hole, his tenacious commitment and selfless attitude resonated with our fans,” added Middleton. “Along with his contributions on the field, Scott has been a great teammate and a great representative of the Phillies off the field. The Phillies look forward to honoring Scott for his memorable performance this season at Citizens Bank Park at a date to be determined. “
Rolen’s 76.3% of the vote was the narrowest margin for an electee since Al Simmons received 199 votes for 75.38% in 1953, one more vote than needed. Ferguson Jenkins (75.4% in 1991), Ralph Kiner (75.41% in 1975), and Willie Keeler (75.55% in 1939) won by one ballot.
First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 (72.2%) and reliever Billy Wagner third with 265 (68.1%)
Rolen joins Fred McGriff as the sole members of the 2023 Hall of Fame Class. McGriff was elected last month by the Committee on the Contemporary Era of Baseball.
Rolling is just theto the Hall of Fame, the least of all positions.
“It stems from an original preconception that third base isn’t important defensively,” John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, said Monday. “I think Brooks Robinson changed that perception. So just as replacement pitchers were for the longest time considered failed starters rather than a new position in the changing game, third basemen have been considered washouts.”
Among players since the expansion era began in 1961, the only third basemen chosen by the BBWAA were Robinson (1983), Mike Schmidt (1995), George Brett (1999), Paul Molitor (2004), Wade Boggs (2005), and chipper. Jones (2018). Ron Santo was inducted in 2012 after a veterans committee vote.
“It’s a very difficult position to play because you have to be very fast and be able to hit the great third basemen,” said former commissioner Fay Vincent. “And if you think about it, after Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, the number drops pretty quickly.”
Of the 14 players who appeared on the ballot paper for the first time, Carlos Beltrán received 181 votes. Beltrán’s vote count was likely influenced by his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal en route to the 2017 World Series title.
Rolen increased his vote from 63.2% last year and 10.2% on his first ballot in 2018.
Helton moved up from 52% and can have five more appearances, while Wagner moved up from 51% and has two extra chances.
Next year will be eligible for the first time Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, David Wright, José Bautista and Matt Holliday.
The induction ceremony will take place on July 23.