Rolen elected in 6th year; Wagner, Rollins, Abreu climb

January 25th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- Yet another Phillies player will now call Cooperstown home.

, one of the best all-around third basemen in MLB history, learned on Tuesday night that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer in Cooperstown. The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner received 76.3% of the votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America in results revealed Tuesday night on MLB Network, enough to surpass the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement in his sixth year on the ballot.

Rolen was the only one of the 28 candidates on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot to be elected this year. He will join first baseman Fred McGriff in the Class of 2023 after McGriff’s selection in December by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee.

Rolen said on MLB Network that he has not decided which team’s cap he will put on his plaque.

A second-round pick by the Phillies in the 1993 MLB Draft, Rolen made a brief debut in '96 before fully bursting on to the scene in '97 when he unanimously won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Rolen hit .283 with 21 home runs and 16 stolen bases in that 1997 campaign, then followed it up a year later by racking up 31 home runs, 110 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and his first Gold Glove.

“I went through the Minor League system with the Philadelphia Phillies and I learned how to play the game,” Rolen said. “My six years in Philadelphia, I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. It taught me how to play the game, it taught me who I was as a player.”

Rolen hit 150 of his 316 career home runs during his six and a half seasons with the Phillies. He also won four of his eight Gold Gloves in Philadelphia, including the one he earned in 2002 when he was traded to St. Louis in late July.

“On behalf of the Phillies, I want to congratulate Scott Rolen on his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a player," Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement. "He richly deserves this award. Philadelphia was privileged to have witnessed the beginning of his extraordinary baseball career.

"In addition to being one of the most impactful offensive and defensive players of his era, Scott played the game the right way. Whether taking an extra base with a headfirst slide or diving for a ball in the hole, his hard-nosed effort and selfless attitude resonated with our fans. Along with his on-field contributions, Scott was a great teammate and a tremendous representative of the Phillies off the field."

Rolen's Hall of Fame eligibility got off to a rocky start in 2018, when he was selected on just 10.2% of ballots. That is the lowest debut percentage by any player who eventually earned enshrinement.

That number jumped marginally to 17.2% in 2019 before more than doubling to 35.3% in '20. The prospect of Rolen reaching Cooperstown started to really gain steam in 2021, when his percentage jumped to 52.9%. He then received 63.2% of the votes last year before eclipsing the 75% threshold in his sixth attempt.

Though the club has not announced any specific plans, Middleton said on Tuesday that the Phillies "look forward to honoring Scott for his momentous achievement at Citizens Bank Park this season at a date to be determined."

After his seven seasons with the Phillies, Rolen went on to play six years with the Cardinals, four with the Reds and two with the Blue Jays. He played a pivotal role in helping St. Louis win the 2006 World Series.

While Rolen managed to break through in the 2023 voting, the news wasn't quite as good for the other former Phillies on the ballot.

appeared on 12.9% of the ballots in his second year of eligibility, up from 9.4% in 2022. He is one of five shortstops in AL/NL history with at least 2,000 hits and 200 home runs. The others are Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter and Robin Yount, as well as six-time All-Star Miguel Tejada.

Former Phillies closer continued his push toward election, receiving 68.1% of the votes in his eighth year on the ballot. That's a sizable jump from 51% last year and 46.4% in 2021. He has two more chances to reach the 75% threshold.

Meanwhile, checked in at 15.4%, his highest total in four years on the ballot (5.5% in '20, 8.7% in '21 and 8.6% in '22). Though he has a long way to go, Abreu landed well above the 5 percent threshold required to remain on the ballot.

Fellow outfielder wasn't as fortunate, as he did not receive any votes in his first year on the ballot.

Though Werth will not return to the ballot in 2024, the Phillies will again be well-represented. In addition to Wagner, Rollins and Abreu continuing their quest, six-time All-Star and 2008 World Series champion will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time.