With the Baseball Hall of Fame announcing the lone 2022 inductee, David Ortiz on Tuesday, it left two of the biggest names Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens ultimately off the ballot going forward.
There were tons of speculation & feedback from fans on whether or not Bonds & Clemens got snubbed for their being linked to PED use and whether or not they believed the BBWAA got it right with Ortiz being elected on his first year on the ballot.
Personally, (and not to take away from the honor), I feel like Ortiz does have a Hall of Fame resume, but I wouldn’t have put him in on his first year.
Fans are especially critical of so many baseball writers turning in blank ballots and while I can understand not utilizing all ten possible votes, I agree that the blank ballots to “make a statement” is childish and can’t be logically excusable.
That being said, one familiar name did make a good showing on the ballot this year. None other than St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer and 2006 World Series champion Scott Rolen.
Rolen received the fourth highest amount of votes on this ballot (249) which put him at 63.2% of the as least 75% required to make the Hall of Fame. It was an increase from last year’s 52.9%, and with this being his fifth year on the ballot it looks as though he is trending to possibly make that jump next season.
Scott Rolen’s career and numbers speak for themselves. If people were to ask who the greatest third baseman was in his era, I’d be hard pressed to name anyone better.
He had a 17-year career (which he played for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds). Over that time Rolen’s accolades include being named NL Rookie of the Year (1997), a 7 x All-Star (2002-2006, 2010, 2011), 8 x Gold Glove Award winner (1998, 2000-2004, 2006, 2010), Silver Slugger (2002), and as mentioned above a World Series Champion with the Cardinals (2006) and has been inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame (2019).
In 2038 career games, Rolen had a career slashline of .281/.364/.490 with 2,077 hits, 316 HR and 1,287 RBI. He also had a career OPS of .885.
Those offensive numbers might not make him a lock for some, but his HR total, RBI’s and slugging percentage rank in the top 15 among all third baseman. The way he played third base with such grit & finesse also can’t be ignored.
Scott Rolen has the 10th highest WAR of any third baseman in the history of baseball, with every 3B with the exception of Adrian Beltre already in the Hall of Fame. Rolen is also only behind Beltre and Brooks Robinson for defensive runs saved (a metric that uses multiple stats to determine how many runs that a single player saved while on defense.) It is a highly used stat that deep dives on just how great a player was defensively.
Rolen had 1,478 put outs with only 186 errors at the corner, where many of his defensive highlight reels would show him stretching out, making diving stops and firing the ball to first base with precision.
The knock on Rolen was how injuries took their toll on him, to a point he averaged just under 120 games per season for his career and only 105 games per season from 2005-2012.
I do think that alone, is why many voters were skeptical of marking an “X” next to his name, because for the life of me, the accolades and eye test seem very much Hall of Fame worthy. He’s better than just being considered in the “Hall of Very Good”.
In just his six seasons in St. Louis, Rolen slashed .286/.370/.510, 111 HR, 453 RBI, won 3 Gold Gloves and was named an All-Star 4 times. In 2004 was in the top 5 of MVP voting, and as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ MV3 (with Albert Pujols & Jim Edmonds), really put on a show and was a catalyst for the 2006 World Series championship team coming up clutch vs the Detroit Tigers going 8-19 with a slashline of .421/.476/.737 with one home run, three doubles, two RBI & five runs scored in the five game series.
I think Scott Rolen does indeed continue to trend upward next season with Ortiz being inducted and both Bonds & Clemens falling off. Those being the three names who beat him out this year. It also doesn’t hurt to have the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals (Dan McLaughlin) and others advocating for Rolen on social media. I couldn’t agree more.
What say you on Scott Rolen’s chances to one day be enshrined in Cooperstown? I’d love to hear your feedback. Let me know in the comments, thanks for reading and Go Cards!