By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday with five votes to spare above the 75% 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%. 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% of the vote was the smallest margin for an electee since Al Simmons got 199 votes in 1953 for 75.38%, one more vote than needed. Ferguson Jenkins (75.4% in 1991), Ralph Kiner (75.41% in 1975) and Willie Keeler (75.55% in 1939) made it with one ballot to spare.
First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 (72.2%) and reliever Billy Wagner third with 265 (68.1%)
Rolen will join Fred McGriff, elected last month by the contemporary baseball era committee, as the inductees at Cooperstown on July 23.
Among 14 players appearing on the ballot for the first time, Carlos Beltrán received 181 votes. Beltrán’s vote total likely was impacted by his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal en route to the 2017 World Series title.
Rolen increased his votes from 63.2% last year and 10.2% in his first ballot appearance in 2018.
Helton moved up from 52% and can have five more appearances, while Wagner rose from 51% and has two additional chances.
Next year’s first-time eligibles include Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, David Wright, José Bautista and Matt Holliday.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.