Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer make their way to Cooperstown. The Baseball Writers Association of America today selected the three stars for induction into the Hall of Fame, with two of them appearing on the ballot for the first time.
Beltré, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers, received the highest percentage of votes at 95.1%. He garnered the second-highest percentage for Third Basemen, only behind George Brett (98.2% in 1999).
Beltré seemed to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the age of 30. But it was his five Golden Gloves, four Silver Slugger Awards, 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, and 1,707 RBIs that made him a first-ballot selection.
Helton, who spent his entire career with the Colorado Rockies, made it to Cooperstown after five years on the ballot. The First Baseman received 79.7% of the votes after narrowly missing the required threshold of 75% last year. Helton, known primarily for his hitting in the late 1990s and early 2000s, long struggled with the notion that his numbers were inflated by playing in the thin air of Coors Field. He also won a batting title in 2000 and the Home Run Derby in 2001, along with four Silver Slugger Awards.
Mauer, hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, was the first overall pick in the 2001 Amateur Draft by his hometown team and won the American League MVP with the Twins in 2009.
Mauer primarily served as a catcher for Minnesota and won three batting titles in that position. A concussion in 2013 prompted him to move to first base, where he spent the next five seasons. With 76.1% of the votes, Mauer was elected in his first year of eligibility, becoming the third catcher, after Johnny Bench and Ivan „Pudge“ Rodriguez, to achieve this.
Reliever Billy Wagner fell short, receiving 73.8% of the votes in his ninth year on the ballot. Gary Sheffield missed the cut in his final appearance, receiving 63.9% of the votes, and may have to rely on the Veterans Committee for induction.
Many have wondered whether Sheffield deserves a place in Cooperstown after being implicated in performance-enhancing drug use through the BALCO scandal. He amassed 509 home runs over 22 seasons.