Rolen among newcomers to Hall of Fame ballot

Herald file photo
Jasper native Scott Rolen embraced his former high school Spanish teacher, Alba Altman, of Ferdinand during the 100 Men Who Cook event in Huntingburg in 2016. Rolen is among the newcomers to this year's Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel are among 19 first-time candidates on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

They are joined by Johan Santana and Chris Carpenter. Also among the newcomers to the 33-man ballot announced Monday are Jamie Moyer, Andruw Jones, Carlos Lee, Kevin Millwood, Carlos Zambrano and Johnny Damon.

Among the others: Jasper native Scott Rolen.

Trevor Hoffman, who fell five votes short last year, leads holdovers that include Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Martinez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling.

Roy Halladay will not appear on the ballot for another year. The retired pitcher died Nov. 7 at age 40 when a plane he was piloting crashed off Florida. A player who dies less than five full years after retiring is eligible in the next election six months following his death or at the end of the five-year wait after his retirement, whichever comes first. Halladay had been set to be eligible in 2018.

About 430 ballots are being sent to eligible voters from the BBWAA, and a player must receive at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Players remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, provided they receive at least 5 percent of the vote annually.

Is he worthy?

Scott Rolen was a career .281 hitter with 316 home runs and 1,287 RBIs in a 17-year career that included a 2006 World Series championship with St. Louis.

The 1993 Jasper High School graduate was the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year, a seven-time all-star and eight-time Gold Glove winner. Does he belong in Cooperstown? There’s some debate.

Dig deeper in the matrix of statistics and you’ll find this: one gauge (the JAWS system) ranks Rolen as the 10-best third baseman of all-time. The men in front of Rolen are Mike Schmidt, Eddie Matthews, Wade Boggs, Adrian Beltre, George Brett, Chipper Jones, Ron Santo, Brooks Robinson and Paul Molitor.

The only people on that list who are not in the Hall of Fame are Beltre, Jones and Rolen — because none of them have been eligible until now.

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