Cubs News: Scott Rolen joins Fred McGriff in the Hall of Fame class of '23

St. Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The Baseball Writers Association of America revealed their annual selections for the Hall of Fame and, once again, only one new player will be enshrined in Cooperstown. With Sammy Sosa off the ballot, no Chicago Cubs were even within striking distance, but this year proved to be the lucky one for a former rival - third baseman Scott Rolen.

After years of steadily climbing in voting percentage, Rolen finally broke through with 76.3% of the vote. Between the Phillies, Cardinals, Reds, and very briefly the Blue Jays, he cemented himself as a premier defender at the hot corner with eight Gold Gloves. He started his career off on a high note in Philadelphia with a Rookie of the Year win in 1997, but it was in St Louis where he had his best season in 2004 and was a key piece of the Cardinals' 2006 World Series campaign.

Rolen fills out a third base position that's been sorely lacking representation in Cooperstown. He slashed a very respectable .281/.364/.490 with a 122 wRC+ for his career while posting 114 DRS since 2002, 2,077 hits, and 69.9 fWAR. Incidentally, he ranks tenth in fWAR among third basemen right behind Cubs legend Ron Santo, a player with very comparable numbers. Rolen's bat paired with his all-world defense made him a standout at the hot corner throughout the 2000s.

Although he's the only player elected by the BBWAA this year, he won't be alone at the induction ceremony. Fred McGriff finally got his due this year as well through the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee. He'll also be joined by Ford C. Frick Award-winning Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes who'll be honored during the Hall of Fame weekend.

Two Cubs got votes, but neither was even close

Overall, there wasn't too much for Cubs fans specifically to get excited about on this ballot. Old friend John Lackey, while a beloved member of the 2016 World Series team and an excellent pitcher with a career 3.92 ERA, never really stood a chance. He lacked the accolades and stats of the typical Hall of Fame pitcher throughout his 15 years in the majors, though he does have three All-Star appearances and an ERA title along with a third-place Cy Young finish. To receive a vote for the Hall at all is worthy of praise on its own.

The other tangentially Cubs-related name on the ballot was Mike Napoli who's currently the first base coach on the North Side. He had a respectable career as a catcher and first baseman between Texas, Anaheim, Boston, and Cleveland, earning an All-Star nod in 2012 and a World Series ring in 2013. The bat was legit too as Napoli had a 178 wRC+ in 2011, a 146 wRC+ in 2008, and ended with a career 119 wRC+. It was enough to garner a lone vote for the Hall for the respected veteran.

In general, this year's Hall of Fame ballot is going to be defined more by who didn't get in than who did. Rolen was absolutely deserving, but it was another year of disappointment for guys like Todd Helton (72.2%), Billy Wagner (68.1%), and Andruw Jones (58.1%) who all had convincing arguments for enshrinement themselves. Considering how close they got this year, Helton and Wagner especially seem primed to enter Cooperstown in their next go-around. Another point of interest is Carlos Beltran. He's another hitter with definite Hall of Fame numbers, but the Astros cheating scandal seems to be holding him back as he only managed 46.5% of the vote in his first ballot.

dark. Next. 3 Cubs players who will be better in 2022 and 2 who won't

Congratulations to Rolen on receiving the honor. He and McGriff will join the hallowed halls of Cooperstown on July 23 at an induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center.

facebooktwitterreddit