It seems that the Hall of Fame may have tipped their hand earlier today as to the fact that Scott Rolen was going to be getting into the club. But it became official just after 6PM this evening when it was officially announced. The third baseman received votes from 297 writers, giving him 76.3% of the votes (you must receive at least 75% to be elected).

Scott Rolen isn’t known for his time in Cincinnati, where he spent three-and-a-half seasons at the end of his career. But Rolen was a 2-time All-Star for the Reds, getting the nod in both 2010 and 2011. In his parts of four seasons with Cincinnati he hit .263/.332/.438 (105 OPS+) with 78 doubles, 8 triples, and 36 home runs. Much of that production came between 2009 and 2010.

Rolen’s best years came during his time in Philadelphia and St. Louis. From 1996-2007 he hit .283/.372/.507 with 380 doubles, 32 triples, and 261 home runs. Somehow he was only an All-Star five times in that stretch. He picked up seven gold gloves during that time (and he added another one in 2010 with Cincinnati, giving him eight for his career).

For some reason it’s been tough for third basemen to get voted into the Hall of Fame. Rolen, who has 70.1 WAR at Baseball Reference and 69.9 WAR at Fangraphs should have been an easy choice. While WAR has it’s flaws, it’s generally fairly accurate at telling us the value of a guy over the span of their entire career. And Rolen’s WAR total far exceeds that of guys who are/were fringe candidates. That it’s taken him six years to get in seems outrageous.

The trade for Scott Rolen coincided with the Reds farm system producing in a big way as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, and shortly thereafter, Homer Bailey establishing themselves as a core that would help carry the team to multiple playoff appearances over the next half-decade. Some of the players at the time credited Rolen with helping the young core learn what it was like to be a big leaguer and to teach them how to go about their business at the highest level of the sport.

Joining Scott Rolen this summer at the induction ceremony will be Fred McGriff. He was elected unanimously by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee in early December.

Former Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo received one vote. He will not remain on the ballot as one needs at least 5% to remain. You can see all of the vote totals here.

28 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    Congratulations to him!

    He was also a very good HS basketball player at Jasper IN. Kentucky offered him a basketball scholarship in 1993 (I think that was the year).

  2. Melvin

    Rolen was a consummate professional for the Reds bringing a much needed winning presence and attitude to the team. An argument could be made that he was the glue while he was in Cincinnati.

    • Gonzo Reds

      I agree Melvin. I’ve said many times on this site that Rolen was the glue that held those Reds teams together and when he left the team immediately went down the tubes. Often a little banged up during those years as his body started to break down but when in the lineup his bat was still above average and his D was something to watch, best since Brooks Robinson at 3B in my opinion. Plus a leader of men.

      I also complain a lot about Reds getting so many Cards retreads but in this case we were happy to get him, he always killed us especially coming to our place, was nice having him on our side for a bit. I don’t remember as much about his Phillies years but while I don’t expect him to don a Reds cap in the HOF I think we all really hope he puts on a Phillies cap and not a Cardinals one!

  3. Jedi Joey

    Well earned! I enjoyed his time in Cincinnati. What a career for Scott.

  4. DaveCT

    Congrat’s to Rolen and his family!

    An aside: Matt Barnes DFA’d by Boston. Nick Krall if you’re listening …

    • 2020ball

      7.5MM commitment for this year and a 2.25MM buyout on a 8MM option next season. Doubt they claim all that money, so would likely have to be a trade to acquire him. I’d have no problem giving him a shot in our pen.

  5. GreatRedLegsFan

    Arguably one of the hardest positions in baseball, along with catcher. It takes the toll soon from the player, therefore it’s unlikely to remain as top performer for long. Robinson, Schmidt, Jones, Beltre, Arenado and Rolen.

  6. Votto4life

    Good for Scotty! He had more doubles than Babe Ruth. I’m so glad he made it.

  7. TJ

    Loved watching him play. It seemed no matter what position he threw the ball from, the first baseman always seemed to receive the ball at shoulder level. I guess I’m old school, but I loved how he hit a home run, put his head down, and hustled around the bases. Not sure how many of you watched his interview on MLB network, but I believe he unintentionally threw Molina and Pujols under the bus. I ” might ” be letting my anti Cardinal bias show thru. Rolen spoke of how he believed your base running showed your character in baseball. Living in southern Illinois I remember news about how Rolen chided Pujols and Molina for not hustling on ground balls and pop ups. Congratulations to Scott. Hard worker who earned his selection

  8. Redsvol

    Congratulations to big Scotty! Loved watching him play. Was instrumental in helping turn around the Reds to a playoff contender. Walt Jocketty sent like 2 prospects and Edwin Encarnacion to Blue Jays for Rolen. The prospects amounted to nothing but Incarnation became a decent player. This is the kind of trade we will need to be able to make in a couple years to get proven major league talent to Cincinnati.

    Would love it if he chose a Reds hat to wear on his Cooperstown bust!

    • TR

      Probably a Philly or Cardinal hat. Or, since he’s a Hoosier, it might depend on whether he grew up as a Reds or Cardinal fan.

  9. AMDG

    Looking at the list of voting results, it’s interesting to ponder Sheffield v. Votto.

    Over a 16-year span from 1992 to 2007 Sheffield slashed 301/408/543 with a 150 OPS+, accumulated 59.0 WAR, and reached the magical 500 HR mark.

    While Votto, over a similar 16-year span from 2007-2022 slashed a comparable 297/412/513, with a slightly lower 145 OPS+ and a slightly higher 64.3 WAR.

    In the last ballot Sheffield garnered about 50% of the vote.

    Votto put up similar #’s to Sheffield, although is nowhere near that 500 HR mark, and only played 1B. It’s possible when Votto is ready for HOF voting, he may face the same uphill challenge facing Sheffield. Especially as Votto continues to play, and his good years become more of a distant memory.

    • CI3J

      The main problem with Votto is that he lost more than a full season worth of ABs during his prime years due to dealing with panic attacks(2009), knee injury (2012) and his quad injury (2014). If he had played full seasons in those years and put up numbers consistent with his other seasons from that era, he’d probably be a no-doubt HOF.

      As it stands, you’re right, he’s definitely worthy of consideration, but I’m not sure he makes it. He’s a 6-time All Star, but to many people, it may feel like his prime was too short. Since about 2018, he’s been a fairly average player offensively, and since his defense has always been fairly mediocre, he has nothing to fall back on. I expect him playing in 2023 is only going to further drag down his non-counting numbers.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how the Hall handles his case.

    • Luke J

      Sheffield’s uphill battle has not been performance related (maybe a little performance enhancing related 😉 ). So if you are favorably comparing Votto to Sheffield, that is actually very positive for Votto’s hall of fame case.

      • Gonzo Reds

        I think the steroids cloud hangs over Sheffield and Kent was not popular with the media so don’t think either gets in unless a vets vote 20 years down the line does the trick.

        Helton was close and a great hitter for average but didn’t have much power and his stats will always be tied somewhat to Coors field. Bigger names next year coming up so he’ll have to wait a few more years to get in but likely will.

        Not a supporter of Billy Wagner getting in either, piled up saves but did not come up big in playoff appearances, manager often had to bring a SP out of the pen instead.

        HOF supposed to be the cream of the crop top 1% so have to be really special in my eyes to make it and not everyone lately has met that standard in my opinion. To me, Rolen does.

  10. SOQ

    From Scott Rolen: “Everybody cried,” Rolen said. “We’re an emotional family. When we get happy or whatever, that’s how it comes out. My son, it caught him a little off guard and he got real emotional. Then the first thing he did is he asked me if I wanted to play catch with him. It’s 30 degrees here and it’s going to snow like 12 inches tomorrow, and my son and I were in the driveway playing catch about 10-15 minutes after we got the phone call.”
    Love this

    • earmbrister

      I loved the post phone call catch with his son as well.

      Joey V had a nice social media post congratulating his former teammate. It was in the daily MLB email re the Rolen selection.

  11. Harry Stoner

    I wonder if Edwin Encarnacion, the other principal in the Rolen trade with Toronto, also will make the HOF?

    • Old Big Ed

      No way. EE only got good at age 29 in Toronto. He had 35.5 bWAR for his career, and never had a year with bWAR above 1.6 until age 29. He then had 5 straight seasons of between 3.8 and 5.0 bWAR, but he’s in the Hall of Interesting Player. He was actually DFA’d or non-tendered by the Blue Jays after the Rolen trade, and signed back with them.

      For the Reds, EE had 3 full seasons sandwiched between 2 half seasons. He had 2008 PAs for the Reds, with an OPS+ of 103 and bWAR of 3.2. He was miscast as a third baseman defensively.

      • Harry Stoner

        Well…”no way” is a strong term. Rolen didn’t look so promising a few years back in the voting.

        If 29 is a magical number, Rolen’s great years were behind him by age 29…though he did have some good years afterwards.

        Encarnacion was just getting started at that age as you say.

        But a DH isn’t going to get the WAR props that a strong defensive 3B will.

        Moving to the AL was more than likely the key to Edwin’s success that he wouldn’t have had in the NL.

        I’m not advocating for him for the HOF. I thought it was an interesting, if not great, trade for the Reds back then and it was enjoyable watching his progress.

        Not that there was much of future for Encarnacion at 3B.

        His run between 2012 – 2019 looks mighty productive.

    • CI3J

      No chance at all. His peak was too short and came too late, and he doesn’t have the numbers to even be considered for the HOF.

      Consider the fact that someone like David Wright is most likely a fringe HOF case. He’ll probably get on the ballot, but I doubt he makes it. The thing is, David Wright’s numbers are way better than EE in every category except power. Some of EE’s counting numbers are higher that Wright’s, but that’s because he had about 1000 more ABs over his career.

      EE in his peak was a great player, but that peak only lasted about 5 years, and he only made the ASG 3 of those years. If EE wanted are real shot at the HOF, he would have needed another 5 years putting up numbers like he did in his peak, then maybe he’d have a case.

      As it is, you could compare EE to a player like Jose Bautista, who likewise has no shot at making the HOF because his peak was just too brief. But, like Bautista, there is no doubt that during his peak EE was a top-20 player in MLB. But, again like Bautista, he needed to do that much longer than he did.

      So yeah, EE has zero shot at the HOF.

  12. Votto4life

    Have to think Joey is a shoe-in for the Hall now. He probably won’t make it on the first ballot, but he will get in.

    • old-school

      Outstanding article. Has a paywall but the author makes the point that Votto doesnt look like prior HOF’s because of counting stats, but Votto is the future of what the HOF WILL look like going forward, where percentages and metrics will be contextualized to the era the player played in.

      He drew a comparison with Yaz and Votto where on a percentage basis, they are equals with Votto slightly better. On a compiled numbers basis, Yaz is overwhelmingly better. But, since 2007, only Mike Trout has a higher WAR than Votto and Votto is 5th in hits, fourth in runs, 8th in homers, first in walks, 2nd in OBP, and third in OPS+- dispelling the GABP factor. Votto won’t be a first ballot HOF but he will definitely be the next Red in Cooperstown.