Every summer, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York welcomes the latest members to the prestigious group. Last year, Red Sox icon David Ortiz was inducted into the Hall of Fame, alongside former All-Stars Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat. Who is headed into Cooperstown in 2023? Here’s what we know so far.
During the 2022 Winter Meetings, the Veterans Committee to decide which players from the Contemporary era would make it to Cooperstown. The voting concluded with one former MLB player receiving enough votes. Five-time All-Star and World Series champion Fred McGriff will be inducted this coming July into Cooperstown, as the “Crime Dog” was unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
Over his 19-year career, McGriff had two seasons (1989 & 1992) in which the first baseman led the league in home runs, and 10 30+ home run seasons. As far as advanced numbers are concerned, McGriff had an OPS+ above 100 in 16 of his 19 seasons. The “Crime Dog” had 2,490 hits in his MLB career, and came just shy of 500 career home runs. McGriff hit 493 between 1986-2004.
Fred McGriff won a World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995. In that season, the first baseman hit 27 home runs and drove in 93 runs across 144 games.
McGriff was the only player to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame, by way of the Veterans Committee. The rest of the 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame class was decided in January. On January 24, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the results of the vote.
Former Cardinals and Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen netted 76.3% of the vote, earning him a spot in Cooperstown. One of the best fielders of all-time at third, Rolen was a seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner. Across 17 seasons, Rolen hit .281/.364/.490 (122 OPS+), and hit 316 home runs over his career.
Rolen also played a huge role for the World Series champion Cardinals in 2006, as Rolen hit 22 home runs and drove in 95 for St. Louis. In the World Series against Detroit, the Cardinals third baseman hit .421 with one home run and four extra base hits in total.
Scott Rolen was the only player to make it off the BBWAA vote. Among other notable players that were on the ballot included Jeff Kent (46.5%), Todd Helton (72.2%), Billy Wagner (68.1%), Andrew Jones (58.1%), and Carlos Beltran (46.5%). This was the first time Beltran was on the ballot, and interestingly enough, the star center fielder accrued the same career WAR (70.1) as Rolen. However, his involvement in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal most likely had an impact on the results of the vote.