Now that we know the identities of those who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023, it’s time to look at those who will have a first opportunity to be inducted into Cooperstown in 2024.
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Here are four former players whose names will be on the ballots for the first time:
The 43-year-old is considered by many to be the best third baseman in major league history. Beltre played 21 seasons, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers. Among third base players, only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews held a better WAR, the statistic that measures the number of extra wins a player can bring to his team. Both men are Hall of Famers. Beltre is also one of the greatest in his sport on the defensive.
Mauer, the 2009 American League MVP and three-time Golden Gloves winner, is the only catcher in history to win a league championship at batting. He managed the feat three times (2006, 2008 and 2009). The American is also one of just 12 players at his position to have scored at least 2,000 times. Mauer played in the major leagues for 15 years and was always a member of the Minnesota Twins. If selected for Cooperstown in 2024, Mauer will become only the third recipient in history to receive the honor in his first year of eligibility. The other two are Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez.
The second baseman, who spent most of his 16-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, has a better WAR than most athletes who have played his position and are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Utley won the 2008 World Series, was selected for the All-Star Game six times and has four Silver Sticks in his collection.
However, Utley’s batting stats could prove too weak for an eventual Consecration. The California native fell short of the symbolic 2,000 hit mark, stopping at 1,885 in 6,857 plate appearances. Only one player, Tony Oliva, has entered the hall without hitting the ball in the safe spot 2,000 times since the modern era of Major League Baseball.
It would be very surprising if the shooter, who has worn the colors of 23 teams including the Montreal Expos, achieves Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility or even someday. Regardless, Colon had a fantastic career between 1997 and 2018.
“Big Sexy” won the 2005 Cy-Young Trophy and was the American’s top pitcher that season. He was also selected four times for the All-Star Game. In 2016, at age 42, Colon became the oldest player in major league history to hit a home run. He is also the record holder for most wins (247) by a Latin American-born pitcher.