Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton and Joe Mauer are headed to Cooperstown.
The Baseball Writers Association of America voted the three stars into the Hall of Fame today, 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, garnered the most votes, receiving 95.1 percent. He received the third highest percentage of votes for third basemen, behind only George Brett (98.2 percent in 1999) and Mike Schmidt (96.5 percent in 1995).
Beltré didn’t appear to be on a Hall of Fame track until his 30s. But five Golden Gloves, four Silver Slugger awards, 3,166 hits, 477 homers, and 1,707 RBI were what got him elected in his first go-around.
Helton made it to Cooperstown after five years on the ballot. The first baseman received 79.7 percent of votes after narrowly missing the required 75 percent threshold last year. Known best for his batting prowess from the late 1990s to early 2000s, Helton was plagued for years by the idea that his numbers were inflated by playing in the thin air of Coors Field. Helton, who spent his entire career with the Colorado Rockies, won a batting title in 2000 and the Home Run Derby in 2001. He was a four-time Silver Slugger as well.
Mauer, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, was taken first overall in the amateur draft by his hometown team in 2001 and won the American League MVP with the Twins in 2009.
Mauer mainly served as Minnesota’s catcher, winning three batting titles at the position. A concussion in 2013 caused him to move to first base, where he spent the next five seasons. Receiving 76.1 percent of the votes, Mauer was elected in his first year on the ballot and is the third catcher to do so after Johnny Bench and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Reliever Billy Wagner came up short, getting 73.8 percent of the vote in his ninth year on the ballot. Gary Sheffield missed the cut in his final appearance on the ballot — the slugger received 63.9 percent of votes — and may have to rely on the Veteran’s Committee to induct him.
Many have questioned if Sheffield deserves a place in Cooperstown after being implicated as a user of performance enhancing drugs via the BALCO scandal. He hit 509 home runs in 22 seasons.