NEW YORK – The 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will consist of four former Cardinals and a St. Charles native.
Third baseman Scott Rolen, outfielder Carlos Beltrán, starting pitcher John Lackey and shortstop Jhonny Peralta are all on next year’s ballot, in addition to St. Charles-raised and longtime Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.
Rolen has appeared on Hall of Fame ballot since 2018. He has cleared the minimum numbers of votes (5%) to stay on the ballot for five consecutive years, though has not passed the 75% threshold for the Hall of Fame,
Beltrán, Lackey and Peralta, all Cardinals near the later stages of their careers in the 2010s, are all first-time Hall-eligible players. Buehrle, who never played for the Cardinals over 16 seasons, but has one of 21 perfect games in MLB history, is eligible for his second time.
MLB players with 10 years of service are eligible for the Hall of Fame five years after their retirement.
Beltrán, Lackey and Peralta are among 14 newcomers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Hall of Fame ballot. R.A. Dickey, Huston Street, Francisco Rodríguez, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Cain also are new to the ballot, joined by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jayson Werth, Mike Napoli, J.J. Hardy, Jered Weaver and Andre Ethier, the Hall and the BBWAA said Monday.
Holdovers include Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. Rolen received 249 of 394 votes last year (63.2%), when David Ortiz was elected with 307 votes (77.9%), 11 more than the 75% needed. Helton was on 205 ballots (52%) and Wagner 201 (51%).
For some voters, at least in Beltrán’s case, it could turn into an evaluation of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal linked to his final season in 2017.
A nine-time All-Star, Beltrán had a .279 batting average, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBIs and 312 stolen bases for Kansas City, Houston, the New York Mets, San Francisco, St. Louis, the Yankees and Texas. He was hired as Mets manager on Nov. 1, 2019, then was fired on Jan. 16 without having managed a game, three days after he was the only Astros player mentioned by name in a report by Major League Baseball regarding the team’s illicit use of electronics to steal signs during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series.
In the past, voters have denied several stars tainted by steroids and scandal.
Peralta played 15 seasons and hit 202 home runs with a .267 batting average and 873 RBI. He is a three-time All Star, last picking up such honors with the Cardinals in 2015. Despite his accomplishments, he was suspended 50 games in 2013 over a PED scandal that also led to the suspension of former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.
Regarding such considerations, Lackey was never tied to any scandal. Lackey won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Anaheim Angels as a rookie, then added World Series titles with the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the 2016 Chicago Cubs. He was 188-147 with a 3.92 ERA in 15 seasons and proved reliable in the postseason with an 8-6 record and 3.44 ERA.
Barry Bonds (260 votes, 66%), Roger Clemens (257, 65.2%) and Curt Schilling (231, 58.6%) were dropped after their 10th appearances on the ballot last year and are among eight players who will appear on the ballot of the Hall’s contemporary baseball era committee, which meets Dec. 4 in San Diego ahead of baseball’s winter meetings.
Other holdovers on the BBWAA ballot include Andruw Jones (163 votes last year, 41.1%), Gary Sheffield (160, 40.6%), Alex Rodriguez (135, 34.3%), Jeff Kent (129, 32.7%), Manny Ramirez (114, 28.9%), Omar Vizquel (94, 23.9%), Andy Pettitte (42, 10.7%), Jimmy Rollins (37, 9.4%), Bobby Abreu (34, 8.6%), Mark Buehrle (23, 5.8%) and Torii Hunter (21, 5.3%).
Kent, who received his highest percentage last year, will appear on the BBWAA ballot for the 10th and final time.
BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.
Any players elected will be inducted into the Hall at Cooperstown on July 23 along with anyone elected by the contemporary baseball era committee.