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.