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Rolen could become the 18th third baseman in the Hall of Fame.

NEW YORK – Scott Rolen could be only the 18th third baseman to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the smallest of all positions.

“This is due to the initial prejudice that third base is not important to defense,” Major League Baseball official John Thorne said Monday. “I think Brooks Robinson changed that view. So just as relief pitchers have long been seen as underdogs in the starting lineup rather than a new position in a changing game, third basemen have been seen as underdogs.”

A seven-time All-Star who retired after the 2012 season, Rolin is one of the top contenders for 28-player ballot reviewed by the Baseball Writers Association of America. in a vote announced Tuesday evening. He received just 10.2% in his first vote in 2018 and rose to 52.9% in 2021 and 63.2% last year when he lost 47 votes from the required 75%.

According to the data, the vote leaders are first baseman Todd Helton with 79.8%, Rolen with 79.2% and reliever Billy Wagner with 73.2%. Ryan Thibodeau Hall of Fame Ballot Trackingwhich included 183 public and anonymous ballots as of Monday afternoon out of about 396 ballots.

When David Ortiz was elected last year, his final figure of 79.8% was less than the 83.1% of the public vote before the announcement. Barry Bonds is down from 76.8% of the pre-announcement public vote to 66% and Roger Clemens is down from 75.4% to 65.2%, so it’s possible no one will be elected by the BBWAA for the second time in three years. This could be the first three-year period where the writers have only voted for one player since the annual vote began in 1966.

Anyone who votes will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 23, along with Fred McGriff, elected last month by the modern baseball era committee.

There is 84 jugs in the hall l (including nine who were mostly relievers), 27 right fielders, 26 each among first basemen and shortstops, 24 center fielders, 23 left fielders, 20 second basemen, 19 catchers and 17 fielders third base. There are also three players who were primarily named forwards, a position that did not exist until 1973.

Players since the expansion era began in 1961, the only third basemen selected by the BBWAA have been Robinson (1983), Mike Schmidt (1995), George Brett (1999), Paul Molitor (2004), Wade Boggs ( 2005) and Chipper Jones (2018). Ron Santo was inducted in 2012 after a veterans committee vote.

“It’s a very difficult position because you have to be very fast, and great third basemen have to be able to hit,” former commissioner Fay Vincent said. “And when you think about it, after Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, the number drops pretty quickly.”

Rolen had a .281 batting average with 316 homers and 1,287 RBIs for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09), and Cincinnati (2009-12). He was unanimously selected as the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, hitting .421 as the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series and won eight gold gloves.

Helton, a five-time All-Star, batted .316 with 369 homers and 1,406 RBIs with Colorado from 1997 to 2013. He won the 2000 NL batting title and three Golden Gloves. Helton’s percentage of votes rose from 16.5% in 2019 to 52% last year.

Wagner had 422 saves, sixth on the career list, and was a seven-time All-Star in a 16-year career with Houston (1995-2003), Philadelphia (2004-05), New York Mets (2006-09). , Boston (2009) and Atlanta (2010). Wagner’s votes increased from 10.5% in 2016 to 51% last year.

Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jared Weaver are among the 14 newcomers the writers will evaluate for the first time. Beltran after his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal en route to the 2017 World Series title.

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