Philadelphia Phillies: For Scott Rolen, next year is better for Cooperstown

Scott Rolen is close to getting into the Hall of Fame. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracking, among the known votes, the legendary Philadelphia Phillies third baseman is on track to either just climb over the 75 percent threshold needed or he’ll fall a few votes short. At the point of 42.1 percent of the votes being known, Rolen is at a not-so-nice 69.1 percent.

Rolen is probably going to get into Cooperstown at some point. Getting this close usually signals a player will one day get in.

However, in 2022, I would prefer he doesn’t. That’s because both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens may steal the spotlight.

Rooting against Philadelphia Phillies legend Scott Rolen and the Hall of Fame this year

This is the last year for Bonds and Clemens to get into Cooperstown barring some kind of committee vote in the future. I wouldn’t count that out. At the same point as Rolen having 69.1 percent, Bonds is at 78.2 percent and Clemens is at an even 77 percent. Things can still take a turn for the worse. More than half of the votes haven’t gone public and there are surely a couple of blanks mixed in there.

Rolen’s Hall of Fame case isn’t nearly as easy as the one Bonds and Clemens put together. The only reason they’re not in yet is because of their alleged PED use and the way they behaved when confronted with it. The pair are two of baseball’s “bad guys” from the 1990s and early 2000s. Their numbers, however, are undeniable. They belong in the Hall of Fame based on their athletic abilities. They’re not getting in because of who they are.

If this is the year the voters elect Bonds and Clemens, it’s going to steal the show from everyone else other than the current leader on the ballot, David Ortiz. Big Papi was an alleged user of PEDs as well. With a much friendlier demeanor and no proof, he is perceived much more differently.

How the Phillies are performing on this year’s ballot

Rolen is one of many former Phillies on the ballot this year. He’s the only one within spitting distance of the coveted 75 percent. Jonathan Papelbon will be eliminated due to a lack of votes. Curt Schilling, a man in his own category in the court of public opinion, will fall short in his final year on the ballot.

From more recent Phillies history, Jimmy Rollins may survive for a future ballot while Ryan Howard is going to be a one-and-done player.

The case for Rolen and the Hall of Fame is built on his strength on both sides of the ball. Eight Gold Glove Awards plus over 2,000 hits and 300-plus home runs build us a player with rare abilities. Rolen was able to win games with his glove and his bat. Whether it was with the Phillies or any of the other three teams he represented, he was a man capable of doing many things well.

This year, with some of the generation’s most controversial players possibly getting in, I would prefer Rolen waits another year. Buck O’Neill, Bud Fowler, Minnie Minoso, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, and Tony Oliva are already going in. Next year will surely have some more old-timers as well.

While I don’t expect anything to ever be quite like 1995 when Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn shared the spotlight in a sea of red, it would be nice for the first Phillies star I watched in the mid-1990s to get a little more attention when there are fewer distractions next year.