The Cincinnati Reds have a trio of former players that are on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot that was just released this afternoon. Here’s how the ballot looks:

First Timers Returnees Last Year Vote %
Bobby Abreu Barry Bonds 59.1%
Josh Beckett Roger Clemens 59.5%
Heath Bell Todd Helton 16.5%
Eric Chavez Andruw Jones 7.5%
Adam Dunn Jeff Kent 18.1%
Chone Figgins Andy Pettitte 9.9%
Rafael Furcal Manny Ramirez 22.8%
Jason Giambi Scott Rolen 17.2%
Raul Ibanez Curt Schilling 60.9%
Derek Jeter Gary Sheffield 13.6%
Paul Konerko Sammy Sosa 8.5%
Cliff Lee Omar Vizquel 42.8%
Carlos Pena Billy Wagner 16.7%
Brad Penny Larry Walker 54.6%
JJ Putz
Brian Roberts
Alfonso Soriano
Jose Valverde

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are on the ballot for the first time. Scott Rolen is returning to the ballot. Konerko is the outlier on this list when it comes to the Reds – he racked up a grand total of 81 plate appearances with the Reds in 1998 before moving on to the White Sox where he played in 2268 games through 2014 – retiring with the club after that season.

Adam Dunn has the seniority between he and Scott Rolen among the former Reds. The Big Donkey as he was lovingly referred to played with Cincinnati in parts of eight season from 2001-2008. That stretched for 1087 games and he hit 192 doubles, eight triples, and 270 home runs with the Reds while posting an even .900 OPS. For his 14-year career he hit just .237, but posted a .364 on-base percentage and slugged .490 while hitting 462 home runs. Defense was never a specialty for Dunn, though early in his career he wasn’t a terrible fielder like he was from the mid-point of his career until the end. A younger generation of voters may not hold a low average against him as much as an older generation would given that he walked 100+ times eight different times in his career and consistently got on base.

With all of that said, there’s not much reason to think that Adam Dunn is a Hall of Famer – though his Adam from Milwuakee call to Marty Brennaman certainly should be discussed among the writers. WAR isn’t perfect – far from it in fact. But it’s not so dead wrong that Dunn’s 17.4 career WAR should be ignored and place him in the conversation. He might get a few votes, which could be warranted depending exactly how you feel about not voting for players with PED ties – but Dunn is more of a “Hall of Pretty Good” than a “Hall of Fame” kind of guy. There’s nothing wrong with that – the guy played for 14 years at the highest level of his profession and was pretty good at it. Oh, and he also hit the longest home run in the history of The Milky Way.

Scott Rolen didn’t spend much of his career with the Reds, playing in parts of four seasons from 2009-2012. Only one of those seasons was a full one, though – in 2010 when he played in 133 games.  Over his four seasons he played in 330 games with Cincinnati, hitting .263/.332/.438. As you’d expect, being the final few years of his career, that was his worst line with any of the four teams he played with.

For his career, Scott Rolen has the best case for the Hall of Fame among the three players that are on the ballot with Cincinnati Reds ties. In his 17 seasons he hit .281/.364/.490 – an identical on-base percentage and slugging percentage to that of Adam Dunn. Unlike Dunn, though, Rolen was a strong defender for his entire career and he did it on the dirt instead of the corner infield. Rolen was a 7-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year, and he was an 8-time Gold Glove winner.

As Jason Linden pointed out over the weekend, there are 158 position players in the Hall of Fame and Scott Rolen has more WAR than 108 of those players. Matt Wilkes took a look back at Rolen’s career in January of 2018 and asked whether or not he was a Hall of Famer. Right now he’s got a lot of ground to make up. In his first year on the ballot he finished 17th with 10.2%. Last year he moved up to 13th and gained more votes – getting his name onto 17.2% of the ballots.

Adam Dunn photo from sabreguy29/flickr.com. Photo was edited. License for the photo can be found here.

9 Responses

  1. Michael Smith

    A few friends of mine and I have a running Facebook messenger thread discussing all things baseball. From time to time we ask the question is this guy a HOF. We all agreed that Rolen is a HOF.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    I like Scott Rolen for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Some day. He has quite the ways to go still to get to 75%. I hope he is this year’s big gainer in %.
    Derrick Jeter looks like the only lock out of the newcomers. He will be a first ballot HOFer. Curt Schilling and Larry Walker are close. Walker was last year’s big % gainer. This is also Walker’s last year of eligibility. I think Walker slides in this year. The writers elected Raines and Martinez in their last years in just the last 2-3 years so I think that will continue with Walker. Schilling should get in, but some writers are holding Schilling’s politics against him and won’t vote for him. That will be a close vote, but Schilling has 2 more years after this one.
    The big elephants in the room are going to be Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Both are almost as close as Schilling, and both probably don’t make it again this year. Both, like Schilling, have 2 more years after this one to make it. My guess is that the writers will get all up on their high horse and will try to keep Schilling, Clemens and Bonds out this year as not to taint the induction of one on the Yankees’ finest in Jeter. It will only be Jeter and Walker that get elected this year.
    Next year’s class of newcomers is very weak being led by Mark Buerhle, Tim Hudson, and Torii Hunter. None of those 3 will be elected next year. So it will be the perfect time to vote in Clemens, Bonds and Schilling in next year’s HOF class.
    And that is probably when Rolen goes in too. Too bad for Rolen as some people will try to make a lot of politics out of this class and boycott the ceremonies.

    • AirborneJayJay

      FWIW, career bWAR by player:
      1. Bonds = 162.8
      2. Clemens = 139.2
      3. Schilling = 79.5
      4. Walker = 72.7
      5. Jeter = 72.4
      6. Rolen = 70.2
      7. Manny = 69.4

    • MK

      Don’t think his politics have anything to do with it. Schillings does not deserve it. At some point a Hall of Famer has to be the best pitcher on his team. Other than early on with the Phillies he was never #1. It was even close at the time with All Star Terry Mullholland on the Phillies. Johnson was #1 in Arizona, Martinez with the Red Sox. If you look at the three pitching Hall of Famers on the Braves, they were all #1 at some point.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s got everything to do with his politics, because his numbers make him a sure-fire Hall of Famer. The only reason he wasn’t a #1 is because he happened to be on the staff with two inner-circle Hall of Fame pitchers at two of his stops, including arguably the most dominant starting pitcher of all time. That said, there’s a character clause…..

      • Optimist

        Don Drysdale is in the HOF. I’m guessing there are a few other excellent #2s, and don’t know where that criteria came in. If applied to hitters, which BRM Reds don’t get in?

        Also, what does the character clause have to do with Schilling (crime, drugs, danger to the game)? His issues seem entirely political – both his views and the financial scandal – all politics, no?

      • Doug Gray

        Well, he basically said it was a good idea to murder journalists, among many other terrible things he’s said – so I’d say the character clause hangs heavy on that one.

  3. Redsfan4life

    Rolen is a HOFer. Not sure how many years it will take him to get in. But I believe he will be in at some point.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    I remember Dunn hitting a home run over the scoreboard in low A ball. that team had Gookie, Kearns, Corky, and DeWayne Wise.

    As much as I reject the narrative that Rolen’s leadership was responsible for the Reds turning the corner in 2010 (it was TALENT), I agree he is a hall of famer. Too bad that plus defense didn’t show up in the playoffs.