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Jan 23, 2024 6:57 pm

Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, Todd Helton named to Hall of Fame

Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton became the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday night, when results of the balloting conducted by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America was announced by president Josh Rawitch at the plaque gallery inside the museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Beltre, a star third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers from 1998-2018, earned a resounding 95.1 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.

Fellow first-ballot inductee Mauer, who played his entire career for his hometown Minnesota Twins from 2004-18, garnered 76.1 percent. His 293 votes were four more than the minimum needed to reach the 75 percent necessary for enshrinement.

Helton, a slugging first baseman who spent his 17-season career with the Colorado Rockies from 1997-2013, received 79.7 percent of the vote in his sixth season of eligibility.

Beltre, Mauer and Helton will be inducted along with former manager Jim Leyland — who was elected via the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era Committee on Dec. 3 — in a ceremony scheduled for July 21 in Cooperstown.

Beltre and Mauer are the first pair of first-ballot inductees since Mariano Rivera and the late Roy Halladay were enshrined in 2019. The three-person class elected by the writers is also the largest since 2019, when Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez were also elected.

Billy Wagner just missed with 73.8 percent of the vote in his penultimate season of eligibility. Gary Sheffield, in his 10th and final year on the ballot, finished at 63.9 percent.

Carlos Beltran, in his second year on the ballot, received 57.1 percent of the vote — up from 46.5 percent last year, when many believed he was being punished for his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Chase Utley (28.8 percent) led the remaining debut candidates.

Beltre, the only third baseman to finish with at least 400 homers and 3,000 hits, is sure to wear a Rangers hat on his plaque after he concluded his career with an impressive eight-year stint in Arlington, Texas, that solidified his first-ballot status. While with Texas, he made three All-Star teams, won three Gold Gloves and finished in the top 10 in the American League MVP balloting four times while hitting .304 with 199 homers and 1,277 hits.

Beltre finished his 21-year MLB career as a .286 batter with 477 homers, 1,707 RBIs, 3,166 hits and 848 walks.

Mauer played all 15 seasons with the Twins and built his Hall of Fame case while spending his first 10 seasons behind the plate. The native of nearby St. Paul won three batting titles and three Gold Gloves as well as the AL MVP in 2009, when he set career highs with a .365 average, 28 homers and 96 RBIs. Mauer spent his final five seasons at first base following a series of concussions.

Another one-team icon, Helton earned induction on his sixth year on the ballot and will become the second Colorado Rockies player in the Hall of Fame, joining former teammate Larry Walker in Cooperstown. Helton batted above .300 in his first 10 full MLB seasons and finished his career with a .316 average along with 369 homers. He led the NL with a .372 average and 147 RBIs in 2000.

Wagner’s 422 saves rank sixth all-time. The diminutive left-hander made seven All-Star teams and averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest figure ever among pitchers to throw at least 900 innings.

Sheffield, a slugger known for his bat waggle and ferocious yet controlled swing, hit 509 homers and finished in the top 10 of the MVP balloting six times for five different teams.

Andruw Jones, a defensive whiz as well as a potent batter, received 61.6 percent on his seventh year on the ballot.

–By Jerry Beach, Field Level Media

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