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Scott Rolen, a Slick-Fielding Third Baseman, Makes Hall of Fame

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Scott Rolen played nearly 18,000 innings in the sector during his 17-season profession, and each considered one of them was spent at third base. A star infielder, often called much for his glove and his range as he was for his powerful bat, Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday when the outcomes of the annual writers’ ballot were announced.

Rolen, in his sixth yr of eligibility, was named on 297 of 389 ballots, giving him 76.3 percent in an election wherein 75 percent is required to be inducted.

Todd Helton, the longtime Colorado Rockies first baseman, finished second, at 72.2 percent, and Billy Wagner, a star closer for several clubs, was third with 68.1 percent.

Carlos Beltrán, an outfielder for the Mets and the Yankees who was essentially the most outstanding of this yr’s first-time finalists, was named on 46.5 percent of ballots. The result was somewhat disappointing for the previous all-around star, and it was perhaps influenced by his connection to the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

Because of this of Tuesday’s election, Rolen will join Fred McGriff, a power-hitting first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Atlanta Braves and 4 other teams, on the Hall’s annual induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer. McGriff, who fell off the writers’ ballot after his tenth try in 2019, was a unanimous selection by the Hall’s Contemporary Baseball Era committee, which considers the cases of players who failed to achieve election by the writers.

For Rolen, the election got here after a gentle climb in his voting totals over time. He was named on only 10.2 percent of ballots in 2018, his first yr of eligibility, but saw that percentage increase annually. Last yr, he made it as much as 63.2 percent and was elected this yr when he received a further 48 votes from last yr’s total.

Having spent nearly his entire profession within the National League, Rolen was a 3rd baseman within the truest sense. He never appeared at another position, and he never played a game at designated hitter, along with his only appearances coming as a 3rd baseman or pinch hitter. The defensive commitment was warranted as Rolen finished his profession with eight Gold Glove awards and 21.2 defensive wins above alternative, by Baseball Reference’s formulation.

Rolen was also a star along with his bat, hitting .281 for his profession with 316 home runs and 1,287 R.B.I. He helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title in 2006 by batting .421 within the five-game series against the Detroit Tigers.

While Helton had undoubtedly hoped to affix Rolen and McGriff on the stage in Cooperstown, his disappointment on Tuesday may very well be tempered by the large leap he took in votes. The rare star who spent his entire profession with one team, Helton hit .3724 in 2000 — the fifth highest single-season batting average since 1960 — and helped lead his team to the 2007 World Series. Some have questioned, nevertheless, the wide gap between his home numbers at Coors Field and what he was capable of do on the road. He received 16.5 percent of the vote in 2019, his first yr eligible and worked as much as 52 percent last yr. With 76 more votes this yr, he has gone from a tossup candidate to 1 who must be expected to be elected in future years.

Wagner, a top closer for the Houston Astros, the Mets and three other teams, also got fairly close this yr, and will eventually grow to be the ninth reliever elected to Cooperstown. With 422 saves and a 2.31 profession E.R.A., Wagner was a consistently dominant force but faces the identical obstacles as other relievers who must contend with the sentiment that their role shouldn’t be as priceless as a top starting pitcher’s.

For Beltrán, who at his peak was considered one of the sport’s finest blends of power, speed and defense, a failure to be elected this yr doesn’t doom his future prospects. The sign-stealing scandal will linger for years to return, but he has less ground to make up than players with strong connections to steroids, akin to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, each of whom received lower than 40 percent of the vote of their first yr of eligibility.

In that very same vein, holdover candidates with established connections to performance-enhancing drugs continued to struggle on this yr’s vote. Alex Rodriguez, who led all finalists with 117.6 profession wins above alternative and won the A.L.’s Most Invaluable Player Award thrice, was named on only 35.7 percent of ballots. Manny Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star who hit 555 home runs, got 33.2 percent.

Things is not going to get any easier for finalists next yr, because the ballot will add a decorated group of first-time candidates that features Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley and David Wright.

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