The Cardinals recently announced their 2019 Hall of Fame ballot, and for the fourth straight year, Scott Rolen is on it. Rolen made his first appearance on the ballot in 2016 and has been on ever since. This could finally be his year to get his red jacket though.
Rolen is arguably the Cardinals best third baseman of all time, rivaled only by Ken Boyer, who probably has the edge due to a longer tenure. He helped lead some of the best Cardinal teams in franchise history in the mid 2000s. During those years, Rolen, Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols formed one of the most formidable trios the league has ever seen, donning the befitting nickname ‘MV3′.
Scott held down the hot corner for the Redbirds from 2002-2007. During that span he won four of his eight total Gold Glove awards. He also took home one Silver Slugger award and made four All-Star appearances while wearing the birds on the bat.
Of his five plus seasons in St. Louis, 2004 was his best. That year he put together a slash line of .314/.409/.598 and posted an OPS+ of 158. He also had career highs in home runs and RBI that season with 34 and 124. At the end of the season he finished fourth in the MVP voting behind only Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Barry Bonds.
Rolen also appeared in two World Series’ for the Cardinals in 2004 and 2006. He didn’t collect a hit in the ’04 series, but he made up for it in ’06. During the five game series with the Detroit Tigers Rolen slashed .421/.476/.737 with a home run and two RBI, helping the Redbirds win their first Championship in 24 years.
His signature Cardinal moment came back in the 2004 postseason though. In game seven of the NLCS, the Cardinals were up against Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros. The game went into the sixth inning with the Cards trailing 2-1. With two outs, Pujols drove in Roger Cedeno with a double down the left field line to tie the game, bringing Rolen to the plate with the go ahead run at second base. On the first pitch of the at bat, the big third baseman hit a line drive over the left field fence that turned out to be the game winning home run, sending the Redbirds to the World Series.
Rolen put up some big numbers for the Cardinals from ’02 – ’07. Along with his Gold Gloves, All-Star games and Silver Slugger Award, he hit .286/.370/.510. Despite only playing in 56 games in 2005 and only hitting eight home runs in 2007, he still totaled 111 homers and 453 RBI during his tenure with the Cards. He also amassed 678 hits, 421 runs and 173 doubles over 661 games.
Among all full time Cardinals third basemen in franchise history, Rolen ranks second in home runs, fourth in doubles and runs scored and fifth in runs batted in, all while ranking just eleventh in total games played.
Rolen’s numbers with the Cards and his legacy as one of the best third basemen ever should make him a lock for the Cardinals Hall of Fame. This year is the best chance he’s had since becoming a nominee in 2016. He is perhaps the most deserving player on the current ballot, but that will ultimately be up to the fans to decide.
Featured Image by Eileen Blass of USA TODAY