Trio Elected to Hall
By WRILEY NELSON
The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction class of 2024 was announced at a ceremony in the plaque gallery on Tuesday, January 23. Voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America selected Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton to join the most honored pantheon in American sports. The trio represents an end to a multi-year dry spell for the Hall of Fame; the BBWAA selected only two new members in their last three elections. They will join Contemporary Baseball Era Committee electee Jim Leyland onstage for the induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center on Sunday, July 21.
Beltré and Mauer joined an even more prestigious group, becoming the 59th and 60th MLB players to enter the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Players are eligible for the BBWAA election for 10 years, beginning five years after their permanent retirement, and are selected if they receive votes on at least 75 percent of the submitted ballots.
Beltré received the strongest support, earning 95.1 percent of the vote. He spent 21 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest third basemen in the history of the game. His 2,759 games at that position are second only to recently deceased Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson’s 2,870. Beltré is the only third baseman to join both the 3,000-hit club and the 400-homer club. He retired as the all-time leader in runs and RBI among third basemen and was the first player from the Dominican Republic to reach 3,000 hits. Beltré also racked up four All-Star appearances, five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers, and led the majors in home runs in 2004.
Mauer, who played 15 seasons for the Minnesota Twins, earned election by only four votes with 76.1 percent. A six-time All-Star, 2009 American League MVP, and five-time Silver Slugger, he joined Johnny Bench and Iván Rodríguez to become the third catcher ever elected in his first year of eligibility. His three batting titles are the most by any catcher in history; no other catcher has won even one AL title. Mauer was the first overall pick in the 2001 draft, making him the fourth number one to enter the Hall of Fame. He also represents a generational change, becoming the first Hall of Famer who played his entire MLB career in the 21st century.
Helton played his entire 17-year career for the Colorado Rockies, joining Larry Walker as the second Colorado player in the hall. He earned 79.7 percent of the vote in his sixth appearance on the ballot. Helton made five All-Star appearances and collected three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, and the 2000 National League Hank Aaron Award. He led the majors in batting average (.372) and RBI (147) that year, and is one of only seven players in history who recorded 400 or more total bases in two or more seasons. Helton finished his career with more walks than strikeouts.
In his ninth, penultimate year on the ballot, relief pitcher Billy Wagner came just five votes short. The only other players to reach 50 percent were outfielders Gary Sheffield (63.9 percent), Andruw Jones (61.6 percent) and Carlos Beltrán (57.1 percent). It was Sheffield’s final chance on the BBWAA ballot, but he will be considered by the Historical Overview Committee in the future.
Induction Weekend 2024 will take place Friday, July 19 through Monday, July 22. In addition to the induction ceremony, there will be an awards presentation on Saturday, July 20. The Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting will be presented to Joe Castiglione and the BBWAA Career Excellence Award will be given to the late Gerry Fraley. For more information on Induction Weekend, visit https://baseballhall.org/visit/hof-2024.