After his first year on the ballot, Rolen is yet to be welcomed to Cooperstown.
After a 17-year career including six seasons playing at the hot corner for the St. Louis Cardinals, Scott Rolen is considered one of the greatest third basemen of all time. But unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut for the Hall of Fame – this year.
No one can debate that Rolen is an elite defender. He took Rookie of the Year in 1997, is a 7x All-Star, claimed eight Gold Gloves, and was one of the prized players for the Cards’ 2006 World Series victory. Rolen is qualified for the Hall.
Based on his offensive stats alone (.281/.364/.490), Rolen would not be Hall of Fame worthy. Those numbers are only above average. But combined with being a defensive genius, he deserved his spot on the 2017 ballot.
From 1997-2012, Rolen had 114 defensive runs saved, the fifth highest number in all of baseball. He also has the 67th highest WAR of all time (70.0), and the 10th highest amongst all third basemen. Numbers 1-9 of which are all in Cooperstown today.
This year, Rolen’s first year on the ballot, he ranked 17th with only 43 votes. 317 are needed for election. He definitely fell short in comparison to the 4 inductees: Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman.
Third baseman and left fielder Chipper Jones played for the Atlanta Braves for 19 years. This MVP, 8x All-Star and 2x Silver Slugger ended up with 410 votes, the highest for 2018. .303/.401/.529.
Vladimir Guerrero had a 16-year career with a .318/.379/.553 triple-slash. As a 9x All-Star and 8x Silver Slugger, this right fielder got 392 votes and was ranked second in the 2018 ballot.
Jim Thome played a 22-year career as a first and third baseman, and a designated hitter. Thome is a 5x All-Star and 1x Silver Slugger with a .276/.402/.554 triple-slash. He earned 379 votes.
And the last inductee, Trevor Hoffman, received 337 votes after his third year on the ballot. This pitcher is a 7x All-Star and 2x Rolaids Reliefer with a .118/.118/.176 triple-slash.
Scott Rolen, ranked 17th with a .281/.364/.490, was far from the action with only 43 votes. But, he will be featured on the 2019 ballot. Not that the competition will be any easier.
Rolen is currently ranked 13th on the 2019 Potential Hall of Fame Ballot. Ranked number one is Edgar Martinez, designated hitter and third baseman who spent 18 seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Next year will be his last eligible year for Cooperstown while it will only be Rolen’s second.
The competition will be hot for next year’s HOF ballot. Especially when names like Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and multiple other big names of major league baseball are featured.
Unfortunately, it’s possible that Scott Rolen’s defensive victories just won’t be enough to gather enough votes for Cooperstown next year. Hopefully he gains enough momentum to get the call to the hall a few years down the road.