The 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results are in, and the only inductee will be Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals legend Scott Rolen, who received 76.3% of the votes to earn the nod (75% required for election). Right behind him were Todd Helton at 72.2%, Billy Wagner at 68.1%, Andrew Jones at 58.1% and Gary Sheffield at 55%.
Couple of former Los Angeles Dodgers right there that could see their percentages improve come 2024! But are Jones and Sheffield the most likely to be enshrined next? Both are fairly polarizing figures among voters due to the fact they played during the steroid era, so you just never know when players have that stigma attached to them.
It's a double-edged sword, too. Because look at Manny Ramirez, who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He received 33.2% of the vote this time around. And then look at Jeff Kent, who excelled without a single link to PEDs, but received only 46.5% of the vote in his final year on the ballot.
If you're not bullish on their chances, especially since next year will be Sheffield's last chance, perhaps some newcomers on the 2024 ballot will give you hope. Adrian Beltre and Chase Utley will join the festivities.
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Which Dodgers player is most likely to get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next?
If we were to guess, it'd probably be Beltre, who has first-ballot potential given his illustrious body of work. He spent 21 seasons in MLB and recorded 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, 1,707 RBI and slashed .286/.339/.480 (.819 OPS) with a 116 OPS+. He finished his career with 93.5 Wins Above Replacement and was regarded as one of the best defensive third basemen in history (27 dWAR). He would've pummeled other advanced defensive metrics had they been more prominent (or existed at all) during his time.
Beltre, who was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, spent seven seasons with LA and logged his best offensive season with the team in 2004 (his contract year) before departing for Seattle. He hit 48 home runs (led the league) and batted in 121 runs while finishing with a .334 average, 1.017 OPS and 168 OPS+. It was good enough for a second-place MVP finish, right behind Barry Bonds, who nobody was beating.
Though he doesn't have a World Series or MVP to his name, Beltre was a four-time All-Star, four-time Silver Sligger, five-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time Platinum Glove winner. His longevity and great success in his latter years (seventh-place MVP finish in his age-37 season) greatly help his case.
Can he leap Jones, who continues to climb, and Sheffield, who needs to gain 20% of the vote in his final year on the ballot? It's certainly possible, but you know how the voters are with first-ballot electees.
Perhaps we're looking at a former Dodger getting in by 2025 ... but it's safe to say none of the aforementioned players will be donning a Dodgers cap should they get enshrined.