His name appeared on 76.3 percent of the ballots, narrowly clearing the required 75 percent threshold.
It was Rolen’s sixth year on the ballot, but things weren’t always as promising for him.
This piece of information by MLB stats expert Sarah Langs proves it.
“Scott Rolen’s 10.2% in his first year on the ballot is the lowest in a player’s debut year on the ballot who eventually got in on the writers’ ballot (since voting returned to being annual in 1968) Very cool to see,” she tweeted.
Scott Rolen's 10.2% in his first year on the ballot is the lowest in a player's debut year on the ballot who eventually got in on the writers' ballot (since voting returned to being annual in 1968)
Very cool to see
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) January 24, 2023
Let’s take a look at Rolen’s progression through the years:
It goes to show that how it starts is not always important: it’s how it ends.
In his first year of eligibility, he barely cracked the five percent threshold to keep appearing in the ballot.
No one had ever gotten less than 15% support on his first ballot and gone on to be elected by the writers until Tuesday.
Rolen’s case was aided by the relative absence of clear-cut candidates in the last few years.
That helped, as writers got a much closer look at his obvious case.
In fact, it’s normal for players with a strong case to progress as years go by.
Considering Rolen’s 10.2 percent in his first year, Carlos Beltran‘s 46.5 percent in his first year on the ballot is actually very promising.
Next year will be crucial to see how much he gains, considering some voters still hold a grudge from his involvement in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal with the Houston Astros.