The vote was expected to be close, and the pre-election predictions turned out to be correct. By a margin of five votes, Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
The former Cardinals’ third baseman needed 292 votes to receive 75 percent of the vote from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America and he received 297, securing his spot in Cooperstown.
Rolen was the only player selected by the BBWAA, with Todd Helton falling 11 votes short.
Rolen, a seven-time All-Star and winner of eight Gold Glovesdurin his 17-year career, will join Fred McGriff, elected by the veterans committee, in the July 23 enshrinement ceremony.
The 47-year-old Rolen was elected in his sixth year on the ballot.
Rolen batted .281 with 1,287 runs batted in, 1,211 runs and an on-base plus slugging percentage of .854 combined with the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds. Among his 2,077 hits were 517 doubles, 43 triples and 316 home runs. He was the National League winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in 1997 – a unanimous selection – with the Phillies and a member of the Cardinals’ championship club in 2006 when he hit .421 with a home run and two RBI in the World Series.
“On behalf of the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization, I would like to congratulate Scott Rolen on the well-deserved honor of being selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” stated Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. “Scott was a cornerstone of our infield and lineup during his six seasons in St. Louis, and helped create many fond memories as part of the great Cardinals teams of the mid-2000s.”
Rolen, a standout three-sport athlete at Jasper (Ind.) High School in baseball, basketball and tennis, was originally drafted and signed by the Phillies in the second round of the 1993 MLB Draft. He played in 325 minor league games before making an instant impact in the Major Leagues with his debut on August 1, 1996 versus the Cardinals, starting and playing both ends of a doubleheader at Veterans Stadium.
On July 29, 2002, Rolen was traded to the Cardinals and played parts of six seasons helping lead the Redbirds to four postseason appearances, including two World Series and the 2006 World Series Championship.
His finest season came in 2004, during his age-29 season, when he set career-highs in home runs (34), RBI (124), batting average (.314), on-base percentage (.409), slugging percentage (.598), OPS (1.007) and bWAR (9.2), while finishing fourth in NL MVP voting alongside MV3 teammates Albert Pujols (3rd) and Jim Edmonds (5th).
In Game Seven of the 2004 National League Championship Series, Rolen’s two-run home run off Houston Astros starting pitcher Roger Clemens in the 6th inning, broke a 2-2 tie, shaking Busch Stadium II and sending the Cardinals to their first World Series in 17 years. Rolen played in 32 postseason games for the Cardinals, and concluded his postseason efforts by hitting safely in his final 10 postseason games, scoring a run in nine of them.
Rolen concluded his career with parts of two seasons (2008-09) with Toronto and four years (2009-12) in Cincinnati.
Rolen will become the 54th individual with ties to the Cardinals organization to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports