The KC Royals had a few dogs in the Baseball Hall of Fame race this week. While first-time participants like José Bautista and James Shields have ties back to Kansas City, Carlos Beltrán was the former Royals player with the best shot at glory. Sadly, the outfielder came up short in his second year on the ballot.
The former KC Royals outfielder discovered his Hall of Fame fate this week.
Beltrán received 220 votes, or 57.1%, on the Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot. Players need 289 votes, or 75%, to join the Hall of Fame class. The voting process takes into account a player's on-field performance, statistical achievements, leadership qualities, sportsmanship, and contributions to the game both on and off the field. Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer all reached that mark on Tuesday, joining manager Jim Leyland as the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2024.
Beltrán's 10.6% improvement was the biggest jump of any player on both the 2023 and 2024 ballots. The voting criteria for the Baseball Hall of Fame are vague at best, weighing on-field performances with several other factors.
Beltrán's attachment to the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal likely hinders his case among voters. The scandal raised questions about the integrity of the game and the ethical conduct of the players involved. While Beltrán was not the only player implicated in the scandal, his role as a veteran leader on the team may have made his involvement more significant in the eyes of voters. This controversy may have influenced some voters to be more hesitant to support Beltrán's induction into the Hall of Fame.
Beltrán had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. He started with a bang. In 1999, he became one of four players in Royals history to win Rookie of the Year after a stellar 156-game season. He played for several teams, including the New York Mets, the Houston Astros, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Beltrán was known for his exceptional hitting ability, speed, and defensive skills as an outfielder. Throughout his career, he earned numerous accolades, including nine All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards, and two Silver Slugger Awards. He also had impressive career statistics, with 435 home runs and an .837 OPS.
Beltrán's impact on the game and his contributions to the teams he played for make his participation in the Hall of Fame race highly anticipated. His gains in voting offer some hope for Beltrán's future in Cooperstown, but he will have to wait at least another calendar year.