When Scott Rolen first became eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot, it appeared his chances were overwhelmingly bad. His sixth time on the ballot showed the power of patience. His numbers slowly climbed from the original 10.2% of the writers voting for him to 76.2% this year, just passing the 75% vote total needed. To show truly how close it was, Rolen made it by five votes. Nonetheless, Scott Rolen is a Hall of Famer.
On this year’s ballot, Rolen was the only player to receive the needed number of votes. He will be inducted in July along with Fred McGriff, who was earlier elected to the Hall by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Player (CBECP) ballot on a unanimous vote. Former Phillies Billy Wagner, Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, and Jayson Werth were also on this year’s ballot presented to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Wagner received 68.1% (265 votes), 15.4% (60 votes), and Jimmy Rollins received 12.9% (50 votes) from the baseball writers. Werth did not receive any votes and will be dropped from next year’s ballot along with 11 other players who failed to receive at least 5% of the votes required to be on next year’s ballot.
With his 10.2% first year percentage, Rolen’s election makes him the player to have the lowest vote total on their inaugural year of eligibility who eventually was voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.
In the CBECP balloting, a total of seven votes were required for election and McGriff was the only player to gain entry. Former Phillies Curt Schilling (7 votes) and Dale Murphy (6 votes) fell shy of the votes needed.
Rolen played 17 major league seasons, with his first seven being in Philadelphia. He famously requested a trade in 2002 and was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinal, which he referred to as “baseball heaven.” He had voiced concern that the Phillies ownership was not trying hard enough to put together a winning team. He also reportedly had several run-ins with manager Larry Bowa. After six seasons in St. Louis, Rolen was dealt to Toronto for Troy Glaus and spent two seasons with the Blue Jays prior to being dealt to Cincinnati at the trade deadline in 2009. He retired following the 2012 season.
Among his accomplishments was winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1997 and picking up eight Gold Glove Awards. Rolen played in seven all-star games during his career. His best season came in 2004 with the Cardinals when he put together a line of 34-124-.314/.409/.598 to finish fourth in MBP balloting. He also won the Gold Glove and was a National League All-Star that season. He finished his career with a 316-1287-.281/.364/.490 line.
Rolen becomes just the 18th third baseman to be elected to the Hall of Fame.