St. Louis Cardinals: Scott Rolen makes a jump in HOF voting
By Matt Graves
Though ballots have been leaking out over the past month or so, Monday marked the day that the official Hall of Fame voting results were announced for the 2021 ballot. While no players were actually inducted, one former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman made a big jump in voting.
While Dan Haren did start his career in St. Louis, it was the other former Cardinal on the ballot, Scott Rolen, who got the jump.
While almost anyone from at least St. Louis or Philadelphia would agree that Rolen is a lock for the Hall of Fame, the voters finally made the tilt over 50% in favor of Rolen. After getting 35.3% of the vote in 2020 in his 3rd year on the ballot, Rolen jumped up to 52.9% this year.
The argument for why Scott Rolen belongs in the Hall of Fame is pretty easy. He ranks among the best defensive third baseman in history and has the offensive numbers too. He also ranks above average in many statistics when compared to the average Hall of Famer.
From Andrew Heckroth’s article above:
"Scott Rolen: 70.1 bWAR, 43.6 Peak WAR, 56.9 JAWS scoreAverage HOF 3B: 68.4 bWAR, 43.1 Peak WAR, 55.7 JAWS score"
Andy argues Rolen’s case well, and the trends certainly point to Rolen eclipsing the 75% mark needed by the end of his 10 years on the ballot.
Ryan Spaeder has also been one of the most vehement defenders of Rolen’s Hall of Fame case. Rolen had over 2,000 hits, over 300 homers, and a career .855 OPS. He played for 17 years and reaches the bar by many of the advanced Hall of Fame statistics.
This year’s Hall of Fame voting was slightly overshadowed by the debate about whether only on-field conduct matters. Curt Schilling, the main figure of that debate, reached 71.1% of the vote in this, his 9th year on the ballot, falling just 16 votes shy.
Other key figures of the Steroid Era like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens also made jumps in voting up to 61.8% and 61.6% respectively. Both players will have one more year to make the jump to 75% and will have to do so in a year that will welcome newcomers Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Jimmy Rollins (among others) to the ballot.
It is too early to call Rolen a for-sure lock to end up with a plaque in Cooperstown, but he made a huge jump and has a long time to cross the finish line. He may not make it as soon as 2022, but the finish line is in sight for one of the best St. Louis Cardinals of the 2000s.