Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. I know he won’t make it, but I’m glad to see my friend Andy Pettitte stay on the Hall of Fame ballot.
On today’s SI:AM:
🌟 Why Scott Rolen deserves a place in the Hall of Fame
🎙️ Lisa Guerrero on her “MNF” ordeal
✈️ The best destination for Aaron Rodgers
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welcome to cooperstown
For the second year in a row, the Baseball Writers Association of America has chosen a single player for the Hall of Fame.
In his sixth year on the ballot, Scott Rolen narrowly passed the 75% threshold required for induction and will be honored this summer in Cooperstown. Rolen appeared on 297 of the 389 ballots (76.3%).
Todd Helton was close to win induction (72.2%), but fell short by 11 votes. The only other players to appear on more than 40% of the ballots were billy wagner (68.1%), andruw jones (58.1%), gary sheffield (55.0%), Carlos Beltran (46.5%) and jeff kent (46.5%). The two players whose candidacies are clouded the most by steroid use:Alex Rodriguez Y manny ramirez— came up very short, with 35.7% of the vote and 33.2%, respectively. You can see the full voting results here.
Rolen’s choice comes as a surprise.. As Tom Verducci wrote earlier this month, support for Rolen rose substantially after he appeared on just 10.2% of the ballot in his first year. Before him, the player with the least amount of support on his first ballot who was ultimately picked by the writers was Duke Snider (17%). Since 1967, none of the 670 players who got less than 15% of the vote have finally crossed the 75% threshold.
So what changed? Verducci suggests that voters began to look beyond the scoring statistics and began to appreciate what made Rolen truly great: his base running and defense. Rolen’s hitting stats are impressive but not amazing. Verducci points out that his career cutoff line (.281/.364/.490) is terrifyingly similar to Aramis Ramírez’s (.283/.341/.492), and no one would consider him a Hall of Famer. Fame. Well, no one other than the four voters who put him on his 2021 ballot.
But Rolen did a lot more than hit like an All-Star. This is how Verducci puts it:
If you appreciate how the game is played, and not just the hitting stats, Rolen played it like a Hall of Famer. The subtle beauty was in how he made running plays at third base or the perfect cut around a base when he went from first to third or second to home.
Watch this highlight video of his defense at third base and tell me that a player who can do that and still be among the best hitters at his position is not in the Hall of Fame.
You can view Verducci’s full ballot here, with explanations of why he voted for each player. After not voting for Helton in his first four years on the ballot, Verducci put the former Rockies slugger on his ballot this year after realizing your home/road divides. Like Rolen, support for Helton has increased significantly over the years, jumping 20% from last year to this year. After appearing on 72.2% of the ballots this year, has a good chance of breaking the 75% threshold next year.
If we’re already targeting Helton for the 2024 ceremony in Cooperstown, who might join him? We’ll see if Wagner and Jones can get over the hurdle after coming up short this year. Sheffield will need to make a big leap in their final year on the ballot. Beltrán’s case is interesting. His stats scream Hall of Fame, but Verducci left him off his ballot because of his role in Astros cheating scandal, and other voters surely feel similarly conflicted. (“I couldn’t bear to vote for Beltran in his first year of eligibility because of his key role, a leadership role, in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal,” Verducci wrote.) Of the players who will be eligible for the Hall next year, only one is a lockout to be inducted: Adrian Beltre. Other players likely to appear on the ballot for the first time include david wright, chase utley, joe mauer Y bartolo colon.
The best of Sports Illustrated
The first five…
…things I saw yesterday:
5. The Sabres’ two goals in a span of 25 seconds against the Blues.
Four. Donovan Mitchell’s Windmill Dump. (Though he didn’t count.)
3. LeBron James’ 46 points against the Clippers. (He has now scored at least 40 against every team in the league.)
2. Long Range Laser Beam by Joshua Kimmich for Bayern Munich.
On this day in 1989, Michael Jordan scored his 10,000th career point in just his 303rd game. Of course, Wilt Chamberlain scored his 10,000th fastest point, but who did Jordan surpass to become the second fastest player? quick to reach the milestone?
- oscar robertson
- moses malone
- Juan Havlicek
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
YES from yesterday: When the Panthers selected former Michigan running back Tim Biakabutuka with the eighth pick in the 1996 draft, he became the first modern NFL player from which country?
- Democratic Republic of Congo
Reply: Democratic Republic of Congo. Biakabutuka’s family moved to Canada when he was a child and he grew up in Montreal, where he started playing soccer when he was 16 years old. It was in high school that he took on the nickname Touchdown Tim, but his full name is Tshimanga (pronounced tee-MON-gah).
“I don’t care, because I know it’s easier to pronounce,” he told SI in 1995 about being called Tim. “But he’s not my name.”
As a senior at Michigan in 1995, Biakabutuka rushed for 1,818 yards, a record that still stands. In the rivalry game against Ohio State, he rushed for 317 yards (the second-highest total in a single game in Michigan history) and four touchdowns as the Wolverines defeated the previously unbeaten No. 2 Buckeyes and denied them a shot at the national title. . Biakabutuka then played six NFL seasons, all with the Panthers.
Biakabutuka is one of six NFL players born in the Congo. The first was Wilkie Moody, whose parents were Baptist missionaries to the country when he was born in 1897. He played 15 games in four seasons between 1920 and ’25. The others are Muadianvita Kazadi (a linebacker who played 12 games for the Rams in ’97), Henoc Muamba (13 games at linebacker for the Colts in 2014), Andy Mulumba (22 games at linebacker for the Packers from ’13 to ‘ 15) and Jonathan Kongbo (a defensive end who played in three games for the Broncos this season after a couple of years in the CFL).
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