With little credibility left, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting further embarrassed itself Tuesday. Only Scott Rolen made it in. Former Vol Todd Helton just missed the 75 percent threshold, coming in at 72.2 percent.
This is the biggest award robbery of a Vol in history. Yes, this beats Helton’s former Tennessee football teammate, Peyton Manning, missing out on the Heisman Trophy in 1997.
Over his 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies, Helton had a .316 batting average, over 2,500 hits and 369 career home runs. His OPS of .953, though, is what stands out.
Only 22 other players have a higher career OPS. All of them are in the Hall of Fame except five: Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, who are still playing and will reach the hall, and Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez, who were all held out due to alleged steroid use.
In fact, of the top 100 career OPS players in history right now, every single player who is eligible for the hall, had at least 9,000 plate appearances and didn’t have any steroid ties in in…except for Helton. That’s a complete joke.
Now, one of the issues with the Baseball Hall of Fame in recent years has been the fact that the split over players who had steroid ties kept them on the ballot, which forced other players to compete with them. There was some of that here.
Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Andy Pettitte were all on this ballot. However, that’s only four players. Voters can select 10.
As a result, by any metric you would use, there’s no way you can leave Helton off this ballot. Whether or not you believe in voting in players with steroid ties, you could have included him.
Of course, the Baseball Hall of Fame is among the least credible. There wasn’t a unanimous Hall of Famer until Mariano Rivera, and all due respect to Rivera, a closer did not deserve that title.
When it comes to Helton specifically, your best arguments against him are that he played in Colorado, boosting his offensive numbers, and he didn’t bring much value as a first baseman. Those are weak points, though.
First off, Helton has four Gold Gloves, so it’s not like his defense was useless. Despite the lack of challenge, first basemen are in on more plays than anybody but a catcher and pitcher in the field.
In terms of playing at Coors Field, well, only Larry Walker and Ellis Burks have a higher career OPS playing for Colorado. Walker, for the record, is in the hall. Burks only played five years for Colorado.
Simply put, leaving Helton out of the Baseball Hall of Fame is an embarrassment. He was a model of consistency and a superstar when playing in the majors, and he adds to the embarrassment of this institution.