2023 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results: Scott Rolen gets in, Todd Helton just short

Rolen earned 76.3% of the votes from submitted ballots, just barely enough.

I’m ambivalent about this selection.

  • The six most comparable players are not in.
  • Rolen has ZERO black ink (never led the league in anything), compared to a score of 27 for an average Hall of Famer.
  • He has a gray ink score of 27 (meaning he was rarely among the leaders), compared to a gray ink score of 144 for an average Hall of Famer.
  • In 17 years in the majors, he was only in the top ten in the MVP balloting one time.

On the other hand, he did put in a lot of solid years, was an excellent fielder, and his lifetime WAR of 70 is HOF caliber, ahead of many current solid HoFers, including (for example) Ernie Banks.

So whether he belongs depends on whether you think the primary criterion should be superstardom at his peak, or the total value of his career.


10 thoughts on “2023 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results: Scott Rolen gets in, Todd Helton just short

  1. I think injuries and “coulda been” is creeping into the voters’ decisions. I’ve a lifelong Cards fan and Rolen was putting up MVP numbers until his shoulder injury in 2005. After that, his most memorable moments were mostly fielding gems.

  2. A somewhat surprising selection. He was basically a bigger Graig Nettles; their career numbers compare pretty solidly. Their offensive WAR is identical (52.8) and in defensive WAR Nettles is actually slightly higher (21.4 to 21.2). For that matter, Nettles has higher black ink / gray ink values you mention, by virtue of leading the AL in home runs in 1976.

    What surprises me is that Rolen only got 10% of the vote in 2018. How did he climb all the way to 76% this year? What changed all those voters’ minds? Or maybe it’s mainly new voters, who think about things differently? I guess that would make more sense.

  3. A borderline candidate, and if you are borderline you shouldn’t get in IMO. We have gone from slam dunks such as Griffey, Jr, R. Johnson and Maddux to guys like Baines (horrendous decision), McGriff (who I’m oddly OK with though I understand those who don’t like it) and Rolen. It’s the Hall of Very Good, though I guess it’s been like that since Tinker-Evers and Chance in 1947 and the Frankie Frisch veteran committee years.

  4. As I understand it, at least one guy that played for the Phillies in the 70s and 80s has said that Rolen was a better fielder than Mike Schmidt. Considering the guy that said it was Mike Schmidt, I am fine with Rolen being elected. His offense might be mediocre for a Hall of Famer, but paired with that kind of defense? In terms of contributing to a win, preventing a run is just as valuable as driving one in.

    I was disappointed Carlos Beltran wasn’t elected. I get that a lot of the writers felt he shouldn’t be elected on the first ballot because of the Astros sign stealing, but I hope he makes it next year. Billy Wagner also should be elected.

    1. I have often defended the selection of Bill Mazeroski, so I can’t argue against your point.

      And he was a much better hitter than Mazeroski.

      But then again, so was I.

    2. If Hall of Famers were selected on post-season performance (and I’m not arguing against that), Beltran would be a first-ballot guy.

      His run for the ‘Stros in 2004 was amazing. First he hits 23 homers in half a season and steals 28 bases in 28 attempts. Then he hits 8 post-season homers in just 56 at bats with a batting average in the .430s.

      His lifetime post-season OPS is more than 1.000 over the course of more than two hundred at bats.

      1. It is still January, so I am still able to be optimistic. But while I can’t say this is the most likely outcome, the next 365 days could go very well for Mets fans. First, the Mets will certainly be capable of going further in the postseason, possibly even winning the World Series. They will then have an excellent chance of adding Shohei Ohtani as a free agent, assuming they don’t trade for him at the break. One thing I am confident about is that the Mets won’t be outbid. Then a few months after the parade down the Canyon of Heroes, the Mets shortest tenured manager will not only be elected to the Hall of Fame, he will most likely go in as a Met. If I really want to dream big, Trump will have dropped out of the 2024 race. Unfortunately, I fear that last dream is the least likely.

  5. As a *very* occasional watcher of MLB, I’d say the stats and description is of a solid lower case “woohoo” type of player. Then again, you have to celebrate the “solid” and not just the spectacular, I think.

  6. More deserving than Harold Baines or Jack Morris, infinitely by several infinities less deserving than Dwight Evans.

  7. My biggest memory of Rolen is from when the Reds finally made it to the playoffs several years ago and got no-hit in the very 1st game. Rolen was the last batter, last guy with a chance to get a hit, and he struck out on a pitch up in his eyes; missed it by about a foot. That he is in the hall of fame is disgusting.

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