The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the results of the 2023 Hall of Fame voting on Tuesday evening. The big news for Colorado Rockies fans was once again Todd Helton, whose eligibility for induction by the writers reached its midway point in his fifth year on the ballot. He finished with 72.2% of all Hall of Fame votes in 2023, just 2.8% short of induction. Eleven votes would have raised Helton to the 75% threshold.
After electing David Ortiz as the lone inductee on last year’s ballot, Scott Rolen gained the necessary 75% of the BBWAA vote (76.3%) to earn enshrinement in 2023.
Helton’s jump of nearly 20 percentage points this year is the largest increase in any of his previous seasons on the ballot and a notable accomplishment. Colorado’s longtime first baseman polled at 16.5% in his first year on the ballot before reaching 29.2% in 2020, 44.9% in 2021 and 52.0% last year. He will remain on the ballot until at least 2028.
The case for Helton’s candidacy has gained traction in recent seasons and was polling in the right direction up to the announcement, with bbhoftracker.com polling Helton at 78.6% with over 51% of known ballots as recently as Tuesday afternoon.
Helton played his entire 17-year career with the Rockies, amassing 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, 1,406 RBI and 592 doubles with Colorado while registering a lifetime .316/.414/.539 slashline and 133 OPS+. He finished second in the 1998 Rookie of the Year voting (behind Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs) and received MVP votes in six different seasons, including each of his peak seasons from 2000-2004.
During that span, Helton won four Silver Slugger Awards and took home three Gold Gloves. His best season came in 2000 when he led the National League in bWAR (8.9), batting average (.372), on-base percentage (.463), slugging percentage (.698), total bases (405), hits (216), doubles (59) and RBI (147) while finishing in the top 10 with 42 home runs. He ended up only fifth in MVP voting, however, his highest finish in any season.
Scott Rolen, who played for the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds during his 17-year MLB career, finished with 76.3% of eligible votes in his sixth year on the ballot and was elected to the Hall. He finished his career with 2,077 hits, 316 home runs and 70.1 bWAR and won the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year Award, was selected to the All-Star Game seven times and won eight Gold Glove Awards. His election makes him the 18th third baseman selected for the Hall of Fame.
Trailing Helton in voting results were Billy Wagner (68.1%), Andruw Jones (58.1), Gary Sheffield (55.0) and Carlos Beltrán (46.5). All of those players will remain on the ballot in 2024. Former Rockies closer Huston Street received only one vote and will not return on next year’s ballot.