COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Scott Rolen, one of the most decorated third basemen of his era, will enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame with a Cardinals cap on his plaque.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced Rolen’s decision on Friday, nearly one month since he was elected for baseball’s prestigious honor.
There had been some contention whether Rolen might choose a Philadelphia Phillies or St. Louis Cardinals cap for his plaque. He spent his first seven years with the Phillies and actually had more hits (880), home runs (150) and RBIs (559) than his Cardinals career.
That said, many of Rolen’s prime years came in St. Louis. It led to four consecutive All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards and a 2006 World Series title. It’s also a notable selection given that Rolen grew up in Evansville, Indiana, only a few hours away from St. Louis.
“After reflecting on my 17-year career, and conferring with the Hall of Fame, I have decided on a Cardinals logo for my Hall of Fame plaque,” Rolen told the Baseball Hall of Fame. “I believe this decision accurately represents a pivotal portion of my career based on our teams’ successes in St. Louis. I am grateful to Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto and Cincinnati for the opportunities given to me as a player, but more importantly, for how they embraced me and my family. I am truly honored that my plaque will hang among the legends in Cooperstown.”
Rolen’s 2004 season, which helped the Cardinals to an NL pennant, was undoubtedly his strongest campaign. He reached career-highs in home runs (34), RBIs (124) and batting average (.314). He earned a fourth-place finish in MVP voting that season, just behind one teammate (Albert Pujols) and just ahead of another (Jim Edmonds). That year is commonly remembered as the MV3 year among Cardinals fans.
Rolen’s 21.4 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement rating) ranks among the Top 50 of MLB players all-time and Top 10 for primary third basemen. He also accrued 114 defensive runs saved since the metric’s inception in 2003 from his retirement in 2012, even while battling some long-term injuries.
Rolen’s journey ended with a 70.1 WAR (tied for 103rd all-time) and seven All-Star nods. He spent his final five seasons between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds. Rolen was named to the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2019 and often attends Opening Day ceremonies at Busch Stadium with a red jacket.
The defensive stalwart will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 23. Fred McGriff, who earned a Hall of Fame nod through the Contemporary Baseball Players Era Committee, will join Rolen in this year’s class, but without a logo on his plaque.