Scott Rollen inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

When Scott Rolen was just starting his major league career with the Phillies in the mid-1990s, he enjoyed working with Braves and Rays first baseman Fred McGriffe (Fred McGriff) A chance to talk.

Now, Rolen looks forward to chatting again as he joins McGriff in Cooperstown in July as an inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“He just dominated the game,” Lauren said on a media Zoom call Tuesday. “I’m in awe of how big this guy is. What a great, articulate, soft-spoken guy for that big guy. He gives advice to rookies and young guys and has a lot of respect for everyone. I have the most respect for Fer Red.

“I’ve been wishing he’d been able to vote a long time ago. (But) it’s going to be great. There’s no better person to share the stage with than him.”

Rolen was the only player on the Baseball Writers of America Association poll released Tuesday, and he just did it. His 297 votes narrowly beat the 292 votes needed to reach the 75% threshold, with 389 votes returned. The one-fifth margin is one of the smallest in BBWAA voting history.

Rolen, elected in his sixth year of eligibility, was thankful, relieved and still somewhat surprised at what transpired.

“I actually never in my life thought I was going to be a Hall of Fame baseball player,” he said. “So I think we can start here. I never thought I’d get drafted. I never thought I’d play in the big leagues. Never would be anything. Of course, when I voted, it was a big deal. an honor.”

Although Rolen’s vote total has climbed steadily every year, he said he still has “no ideas, no expectations.” But he’s gradually become more interested in the process each year, jumping last time from 63.2 percent to Tuesday’s Hall Call at his home in Indiana.

“It’s a little over the top,” he said. “We were all nervous sitting there. It was a really cool feeling.”

A seven-time All-Star, Lawren retired in 2012 after 17 seasons. The Phillies (1996-2002), Cardinals (2002-07), Blue Jays (2008-09) and Reds (2009-12) hit 281 homers and 1,287 RBIs.

He’s won eight Gold Gloves, and his acrobatics are all the more impressive considering his size (6-foot-4, 245 pounds). He was the 18th third baseman inducted into the Hall.

Todd Helton, who played 17 seasons with Colorado, was just 11 votes short of 281, or 72.2 percent. Closer Billy Wagner got 265 (68.1 percent), outfielder Andrew Jones 226 (58.1) and Tampa-born slugger Gary Sheffield 214 (55).

Sheffield, the oft-feared hitter who hit 509 homers in 22 seasons for eight teams, is in his 10th and final year on the writers’ ballot. An increase of 14.4% to 55%.

Outfielder Carlos Beltran, who had a stellar all-around career but was also embroiled in the Astros’ hacking scandal in 2017, led 14 first-time candidates by 181 votes (46.5 votes). Infielder Jeff Kent also had 181 votes in his 10th and final year in the writers’ ballot.

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Inaugurated July 23 in Cooperstown, New York, Rolen and McGriff, Tampa natives and former Devil Rays, were selected by the Contemporary Committee last month.

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