The longtime Phillies third baseman will join Fred McGriff at the induction ceremony

The longtime Phillies third baseman will join Fred McGriff at the induction ceremony

NEW YORK – Former Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday with five votes short of the required 75 percent.

The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner earned induction in his sixth appearance on the ballot, chosen on 297 of 389 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association America by 76.3%. A player needed 292 votes for election.

He became the 18th third baseman elected to the Hall, the fewest of any position. Rolen will join Fred McGriff, elected last month by the Contemporary Baseball Era committee, as candidates for Cooperstown on July 23.

“You don’t think about that. You think about doing the best you can,” Rolen said. “I never thought the Hall of Fame would be the answer.”

Rolen had a .281 batting average with 316 home runs and 1,287 RBIs for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09) and Cincinnati (2009-12). He was a unanimous choice as the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and hit .421 as the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.

Rolen’s five-vote margin was the 12th-smallest among players chosen by the writers, and his 76.3% of the vote was the 10th-lowest. Rolen was up from 63.2% last year and 10.2% on his first ballot in 2018.
It became the lowest first-ballot percentage for a player picked since. The previous mark had been Duke Snider’s 17% in 1970. Snider was voted in at 86.5% in 1980.

First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 votes (72.2%) and reliever Billy Wagner was third with 265 (68.1%). Helton was up 52 percent and may have five more ballot appearances, while Wagner was up 51 percent and has two additional chances.

Several others also saw big increases: Andruw Jones went from 41.1% to 58.1%, Gary Sheffield from 40.6% to 55% in his penultimate possible appearance and Jeff Kent from 32.7% to 46, 5% in his last year. Kent may be considered by the contemporary baseball era committee in years to come.

Players tainted by drug suspensions fell behind again. Alex Rodríguez was at 35.7%, up from 34.3%, and Manny Ramírez at 33.2%, up from 28.9%.

Eight blank ballots were submitted by the writers, who are eligible to vote after 10 consecutive years of BBWAA membership.

Among the 14 players who appeared on the ballot for the first time, only two reached the 5% threshold needed to remain in consideration next year. Carlos Beltrán received 181 votes (46.5), his total likely affected by his role in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal en route to the 2017 World Series title.

Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez received 42 votes (10.8%).

Next year’s early adopters include Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, David Wright, José Bautista and Matt Holliday.

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