- Former Philadelphia Phillies ace pitcher Curt Schilling wants to see former teammate Scott Rolen enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame
- Rolen, a seven-time All-Star, is trending upward in his fifth year on the ballot
- Schilling said it is “absolutely criminal” that voters aren’t checking off the former third baseman’s name
The 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot includes numerous Philadelphia Phillies, including former ace pitcher and three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling. However, despite his extensive resume, the odds are against Schilling taking the stage in Cooperstown, N.Y., next summer for a myriad of off-field reasons.
After unsuccessfully requesting for voters to remove his name from the ballot, the six-time All-Star has another task for them: voting for Scott Rolen, his ex-Phillies teammate who has an excellent chance of earning a bronze plaque.
Curt Schilling wants more Hall of Fame voters to check off Scott Rolen’s name
Social media and Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker have provided significant transparency on the voting process. Many voters (all of whom are members of the Baseball Writers Association of America) publicly share their ballots and explain why they included Alex Rodriguez’s name or decided to leave Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens off yet again.
According to Thibodaux’s tracker, Rolen appeared on 73.6% of ballots as of Dec. 22, 2021 after earning 52.9% of the vote last year. Players must appear on 75% of all ballots to earn induction; there is no rounding up, so Rolen will not receive his spot in Cooperstown if he finishes at 74.9%.
Because voters are not forced to reveal their choices, Rolen might only earn 70% of votes if the final results were announced today. Last year, Rolen appeared on 57.1% of ballots submitted to Thibadoux and his team, nearly 5% higher than his actual total.
Although Rolen is trending well, it’s still not enough for Schilling, who took to Twitter on Dec. 18 and addressed his former teammate’s candidacy.
“If you SAW Scott Rolen play AND you are a sabermetric driven voter, you should lose your ballot if you didn’t vote for him. Absolutely criminal.”Curt Schilling
Although Schilling said two of the best third baseman in baseball history called Rolen “the best they ever saw,” the legendary pitcher didn’t specify who those players were.
Luckily for Schilling, this year won’t be the end for Rolen if he isn’t inducted. The retired third baseman still has another five years of eligibility.
Rolen’s candidacy has skyrocketed in recent years, and he’s still trending upwards
When Scott Rolen retired after the 2012 season, he left the league with a .281 average, 316 home runs, 1,287 RBIs, and eight Gold Glove awards. The 1997 National League Rookie of the Year had a fine career and certainly left an impression on those who watched and covered baseball during the Steroid Era.
However, unlike contemporaries Chipper Jones or Derek Jeter, Rolen didn’t leave as someone widely hailed as a “future Hall of Famer.” Few at the time could have predicted he’d benefit from more voters committing to including 8-10 players on a ballot or citing analytics when discussing a candidate. Rolen’s 70.1 Wins Above Replacement score ranks slightly below Jeter’s 71.3 on Baseball Reference.
Rolen earned 10.2% of the vote in 2018, his first year on the ballot. Players must appear on 5% of ballots to maintain eligibility, so he had another chance in 2019 and improved to 17.2%. The big jump came in 2020 when he more than doubled his score and appeared on 35.3% of all ballots.
Rolen shouldn’t have any issues eventually earning enshrinement at his current pace. He has not been linked to performance-enhancing drugs or character concerns, both of which have helped him trend upward.
Schilling’s Hall of Fame chances are another conversation, one he’s already tried ending
As of publication, Schilling appeared on 69.8% of the 53 ballots on Thibodaux’s tracker. However, he has already lost five votes from returning voters and will likely lose more in the coming weeks.
Schilling’s Hall of Fame case is complicated, and not because he never won a Cy Young Award. Voters publicly cited his history of supporting far-right politics and posting offensive memes on social media as reasons why he did not earn their vote.
Despite falling only 16 votes shy of induction in the 2021 cycle, Schilling requested to be removed from the 2022 ballot, his final year of eligibility. In a letter he shared on Facebook, the retired pitcher said he felt bothered by a public “image” he felt the media created of him and the impact that perception had on his family.
“I’ll defer to the Veterans Committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a Hall of Famer as I’ve often stated, but if former players think I am then, I’ll accept that with honor.”Curt Schilling
Earlier this year, the Hall of Fame’s board of directors voted unanimously to keep Schilling’s name on the ballot. Although the odds are against him earning enshrinement this cycle, the three-time champion is at least committed to making sure the writers don’t forget about Rolen.