NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Scott Rolen, a brilliant fielding third baseman, was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday just five votes above the required 75%.
A seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen appeared on 297 of the 389 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of North America (BBWAA), 76.3%.
A player needs 292 votes to enter the Cooperstown, New York venue.
Rolen became the 18th third baseman elected to the Hall of Fame. This is the lowest number among all baseball positions.
At the July 23 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Rolen will be inducted along with Fred McGriff, who was selected last month by the Contemporary Era Baseball Committee.
The margin of five votes remained even for the 12th youngest player among the players selected by the journalists. Its share of 76.3% was the tenth lowest.
Rolen received 63.2% support the previous year and an improvement from 10.2% in 2018, when he first appeared on the ballot.
First baseman Todd Helton was second with the most support, receiving 281 votes (72.2%), while reliever Billy Wagner was third with 265 (68.1%). Helton went on to top the 52% he had earned and would appear on the ballot five more times. Wagner captured 51% and has two more chances.
Other players significantly improved their polling. Andrew Jones climbed 41.1 to 58.1%; Gary Sheffield went from 40.6 to 55% and Jeff Kent went from 32.7 to 46.5%.
This was Kent’s last year on the ballot. Sheffield would have another try.
Players whose careers have been hit by suspensions due to losses have once again been left behind. Alex Rodriguez improved from 35.7%, 34.3%, and Dominican Manny Ramirez improved from 28.9 to 33.2%.
Among the 14 players who appeared on the ballot for the first time, Carlos Beltrán received 181 votes, 46.5%. His role in stealing signs for the Houston Astros that won the 2017 World Series was likely to affect the vote total for the Puerto Rican.
Players eligible for the first time next year include Adrian Beltre and Jose Bautista, as well as Joe Mauer, David Wright and Matt Holliday.