Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday with five votes to spare above the 75 per cent needed.
The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner appeared on 297 of 389 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for 76.3 per cent. A player needed 292 votes for election.
He became the 18th third baseman elected to the Hall, the fewest of any position.
Rolen’s 76.3 per cent of the vote was the smallest margin for an electee since Al Simmons got 199 votes in 1953 for 75.38 per cent, one more vote than needed. Ferguson Jenkins (75.4 per cent in 1991), Ralph Kiner (75.41 per cent in 1975) and Willie Keeler (75.55 per cent in 1939) made it with one ballot to spare.
First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 (72.2).
Rolen will join Fred McGriff, elected last month by the contemporary baseball era committee, as the inductees at Cooperstown on July 23.
Rolen increased his votes from 63.2 per cent last year and 10.2 per cent in his first ballot appearance in 2018.
Helton moved up from 52 per cent and can have five more appearances, while Wagner rose from 51 per cent and has two additional chances.
Next year’s first-time eligibles include Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, David Wright, Jose Bautista and Matt Holliday.