A force at third base, Scott Rolen leads Cardinals recent champs into the Hall of Fame

Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Baseball

Whether he had to wait another year or he received the highest honor that echoes for every year to come, Scott Rolen promised his family Tuesday night he’d grill steaks.

Then he got the call that fulfilled a career but left dinner unattended.

It's hard to flip filets when Cooperstown is on the phone.

“I had to turn the tongs over,” he said. “Which, I think, is a good thing.”

One of finest and fiercest defensive players ever at third base and a two-way force who became a champion with the Cardinals, Rolen was elected by baseball writers and will be inducted this summer to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the only player to receive the required 75% of the vote from eligible baseball writers, the Hall announced Tuesday, and the seven-time All-Star will join committee selection Fred McGriff as Cooperstown’s Class of 2023.

Rolen received a vote on 76.3% of the 389 ballots submitted by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, earning induction by five votes — one of the closest margins in history.


“There was actually never a point in my life that I thought I was going to be a Hall of Fame baseball player,” Rolen said from his brother’s home in Bloomington, Indiana. “So, I think we can start there. Never thought I was going to get drafted. Never thought I was going to play in the major leagues. Never going to be whatever, and certainly … When I made the ballot, it’s a great honor.”

An eight-time Gold Glove winner at the position, Rolen becomes the 18th third basemen elected to the Hall of Fame. He’ll have a say in whether he becomes the latest to wear an interlocking STL on his hat for his plaque. Rolen spent seven of his 17 seasons with Philadelphia and six with the Cardinals, where he won two pennants, the 2006 World Series championship, and had his finest year. In 2004, Rolen finished fourth in the MVP voting, sandwiched between teammates Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds as part of the MV3.

He is the first player of this Cardinals championship era to be inducted into Cooperstown with Pujols and Yadier Molina on deck for the class of 2028.

When asked by Bob Costas during the MLB Network broadcast of the announcement, Rolen said when it comes to the logo on his plaque he’ll “take advice from the Hall.”


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