Scott Rolen and Todd Helton, who hit a combined 685 home runs in 4,285 major league games, are looking for one more trip around the bases.
Rolen and Helton are hopeful their chance for a curtain call will arrive Tuesday when Baseball Hall of Fame voting results are announced at 6 p.m. ET.
With none of the first-timers on the ballot expected to receive anywhere near the 75 per cent of the vote – cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America – necessary for induction, Rolen and Helton are the most likely candidates to avoid the second BBWAA shutout in the last three years.
Any candidates elected via the BBWAA ballot will be inducted along with Fred McGriff in a ceremony scheduled for July 23 in Cooperstown, N.Y. McGriff, who hit 493 career homers, was unanimously elected by the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Players Committee on Dec. 4.
Voting trends suggest Rolen and Helton will fall short of joining McGriff.
As of late Sunday night, Rolen and Helton – at 79.3 per cent apiece – were the only candidates polling at more than 75 per cent at Ryan Thibodaux’s Baseball Hall of Fame Tracker, which tabulates the votes of the BBWAA members who have made their ballots public. Former closer Billy Wagner was just behind at 73.3 per cent.
But fewer than 50 per cent of the ballots were known, and candidates’ share of the vote is usually smaller in the final tally than the smaller sample size of publicly revealed ballots.
David Ortiz, the only player elected via the BBWAA in 2021, received 79.8 per cent of the publicly revealed vote. He had 77.9 per cent he received in the full balloting. The final percentage for the next six candidates behind Ortiz.
8 Gold Gloves, 7-time all-star
Rolen, Helton and Wagner along with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, all of whom were in their 10th and final year on the ballot – was between 2.1 per cent and 6.6 per cent lower than their public vote percentage.
Jays moved Glaus for Rolen
Rolen won eight Gold Gloves at third base and was named to seven all-star teams from 1996 through 2012. He received 63.2 per cent of the vote in his fifth year on the ballot last year.
In January 2008, then-Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi acquired Rolen from the St. Louis Cardinals for fellow third baseman Troy Glaus.
Eighteen months later, Rolen was dealt to Cincinnati for third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and minor league relievers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Rolen had a no-trade clause but asked to be moved “for personal reasons,” said Ricciardi said at the time, adding the player wanted to be closer to his hometown of Jasper, Ind.
Helton, who won three Gold Gloves and earned four Silver Sluggers over a 17-season career spent entirely with the Colorado Rockies, received 52 per cent in his fourth year of eligibility.
Wagner, who ranks sixth all-time with 422 saves, received 51 per cent of the vote in 2021.
The lone first-timers likely to receive the five per cent of the ballot necessary to remain on the ballot are Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez.
Beltran hit 435 homers and made nine all-star teams, but his candidacy is expected to suffer initially after he was the only player on the 2017 Houston Astros named in Major League Baseball’s report on the sign-stealing system used by the World Series-winning Astros.
Rodriguez finished with 437 saves, fourth all-time.
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