The results of the latest round of Hall of Fame voting were revealed tonight, with only third baseman Scott Rolen getting the requisite 75% from the baseball writers to gain enshrinement. Rolen will join Fred McGriff as the only inductees in 2023, with McGriff having previously been selected by the Contemporary Baseball Era committee.
Rolen just barely cleared the threshold, and Todd Helton is now ever-so-close. Billy Wagner, Andruw Jones, and Gary Sheffield all made big leaps in the voting:
Carlos Beltran, who is quite obviously a Hall-of-Fame-caliber player, didn’t even get close on his first ballot, presumably in large part thanks to his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
Rolen, a superlative defender at third base, was a career .281/.364/.490/122 wRC+ hitter, and netted 69.9 WAR over 17 seasons with the Phillies, Cardinals, and Reds (he really liked wearing red). OK, fine, he also played a year and a half with the Blue Jays, but they also have a little red going on. I mean, the Canadian flag! The maple leaf!
Helton, who is now just about a shoe-in next year, played for 17 seasons, all with the Rockies. He hit .316/.414/.539/132 wRC+, and netted 54.9 WAR.
Helton has probably been held down – understandably, but maybe unfairly – for a long time because of his career at Coors Field. You have to adjust for that, for sure, but I think we have a better understanding now of just how special that bat was, especially in an era where others’ numbers were juiced by things besides their home ballpark.