Though his time in Boston was short, Adrián Beltré enjoyed a successful one-year stint with the Red Sox in the midst of his 21-year career in the majors. Along the way Beltré established himself as one of the greatest third baseman in MLB history, compiling 3,166 hits, 477 home runs and 93.5 wins above replacement.
Now Beltré has a chance to complete his baseball journey with a trip to Cooperstown.
Beltré is the headliner of this year’s 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which was unveiled on Monday afternoon and features 26 candidates, including 12 first-timers and seven who spent time with the Red Sox.
The other first-time candidates with ties to the Red Sox include first baseman Adrián González, catcher Victor Martinez, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon and second baseman Brandon Phillips, none of whom spent significant time with the Red Sox and who would presumably wear another team’s cap if they ever earned induction. Outfielder Manny Ramirez and closer Billy Wagner are the two returning candidates who played in Boston.
Beltré was among the best one-and-done players in team history. Coming off an injury plagued 2009, Beltré signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Boston and proceeded to post an MVP-caliber 7.8 WAR mark, the second-highest of his career. He led MLB in doubles (49) and hit .321 with 28 home runs, 102 RBI and a .919 OPS. He was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, won his second Silver Slugger and finished ninth in the AL MVP vote.
Upon hitting free agency again Beltré signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the Texas Rangers, who he led to a World Series appearance in 2011 and with whom he ultimately became a club legend. Meanwhile, the Red Sox endured a revolving door at third base for years until Rafael Devers eventually broke onto the scene in 2017.
González was a highly-touted free agent signing in 2011 whose arrival heralded what the club hoped would be a record-breaking season. González performed well with the Red Sox, batting .321 with 42 home runs and 203 RBI in 282 games, but he became associated with the 2011 club’s disastrous collapse and was traded in 2012 to help unload Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett’s contracts.
Martinez also spent just a season-and-a-half in Boston between 2009-10 but earned All-Star honors in his only full season with the club in 2010. Colon pitched one of his 21 seasons in Boston and posted a 3.92 ERA over seven starts in 2008, and Phillips played just nine games for Boston in his final season in 2018.
In addition to Beltré and the other former Red Sox, the remaining first-time candidates include three-time batting champion and former Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer, Toronto third baseman Jose Bautista, former New York Mets infielders Jose Reyes and David Wright, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado and St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday and ex-Tampa Bay starter James Shields.
The top returning vote-getters from last year include Colorado’s Todd Helton, who fell just short of the 75% needed for induction with 72.2%, along Wagner (68.1%), with Andruw Jones (58.1%) and Gary Sheffield (55%) in his final year on the ballot.
Alex Rodríguez (35.7%) and Ramirez (33.2%) both remain on the ballot for their third and eighth years respectively but are long-shots for induction due to their confirmed ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Carlos Beltran (47.4%) also saw his vote total suffer in his first year due to his association with the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.