Tampa Native Fred McGriff Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame Thanks to Playmates

McGriff was joined at the ceremony by Scott Rolen, who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

TAMPA, Florida. Tampa native Fred McGriff was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after being unanimously elected by the Modern Baseball Players’ Committee in December after dropping out of writers voting in 2020.

McGriff was joined at the ceremony by Scott Rolen, who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. McGriff shook hands with nearly all of the 50 Hall of Famers who greeted him.

“I am honored to stand before you and now be a part of this brotherhood,” McGriff said during his 20-minute speech. “When your career is validated by former players and executives who have seen you play, that’s the best it can be.”

The lanky baseman was selected by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 1981 amateur draft from Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida.

McGriff, affectionately nicknamed “Criminal Dog” by ESPN’s Chris Berman, batted .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs in 2,460 games over 19 seasons. He played for six teams, was a five-time All-Star, and helped the Atlanta Braves win the 1995 World Series.

For Rolen, the greatest moment of his 17-year career did not come during his 2006 World Series run with the St. Louis Cardinals, or even during his remarkable first full season in 1997 with the Philadelphia Phillies, which earned him the National League’s unanimous Rookie of the Year award.

For Rolen, the honor of being inducted was reserved for a surprise moment with his parents after he was called up to his first major league game in 1996.

“Seeing mom and dad walk to their seats from my position at third base was a feeling I will never get over again in my 17 years,” Rolen said during his 16-minute acceptance speech.

It took six attempts, but Rolen’s parents, Ed and Linda, finally saw their son receive a bronze plaque in the Hall of Fame.

Rolin was the only player to receive more than 75% of the votes required to take office. In January, he received 297 votes (76.3%) from the Baseball Writers Association of America. A year earlier, he received 63.2% of the vote.

“I am grateful for this grand gesture,” Rolin said. “It never occurred to me in my life that I would be standing on this stage.”

Rolen, a high school multi-sport star from Indiana, received a Division I basketball offer before the Phillies selected him straight out of Jasper High School in the second round of the 1993 amateur draft.

The third baseman spent six of his 17 seasons with the Cardinals, where he earned four of seven All-Star selections and three of eight gold gloves.

Rolen batted .281 with 316 homers and 1,287 RBIs in 2,038 games. He hit a team-best .421 during the 2006 World Series, which St. Louis won in five games over Detroit.

Rolen thanked his parents for the values ​​they instilled in him.

“I wasn’t raised to be a Major League Baseball player,” he said. “I was raised to be honest, work hard, take responsibility for my words and actions, and treat people with kindness and respect.”

Among the players included in the list of writers not passed this year were Todd Helton (72.2%), Billy Wagner (68.1%), Andrew Jones (58.1%), Gary Sheffield (55%), Carlos Beltran (46.5%), Jeff Kent (46.5%), Alex Rodriguez (35.7%), Manny Ramirez (33.2%), Omar Viskel (19.5%), Andy Pettitt (17%). Bobby Abreu (15.4%), Jimmy Rollins (12.9%), Mark Buerle (10.8%), Francisco Rodriguez (10.8%) and Torii Hunter (6.9%).

Three more were honored during Hall of Fame weekend. Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine received the Buck O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, longtime Detroit Tigers beat writer John Lowe received the BBWAA Lifetime Achievement Award, and Cubs radio host Pat Hughes was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award.

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