Former Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and second baseman Chase Utley have all been added to the Hall of Fame ballot for the 2024 induction class.
Beltre was a late-bloomer in his career, not making an All-Star team until his age-31 season with the Boston Red Sox, even with a near-MVP season in 2004. After signing with the Texas Rangers the following season, Beltre became a Texas icon, making three All-Star teams, capturing three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and finishing top-10 in MVP voting in four separate seasons.
In his career, Beltre amassed a career .286/.339/.480 slash line with 477 career home runs, 1,707 RBI, 636 doubles, 3,166 hits, a 117 wRC+, an 83.8 fWAR and a 93.5 rWAR. Beltre is one of just two Dominican-born players to collect over 400 career home runs and 3,000 career hits, along with another former Dodger, Albert Pujols.
Among career rankings for all third baseman, Beltre ranks first in hits, first in RBI, second in runs, third in home runs, and third in rWAR.
Adrian Gonzalez was originally the first overall pick by the then Florida Marlins in the 2000 Draft, making his debut with the Texas Rangers in 2004. Gonzalez didn’t emerge as a full time first baseman until his time with the San Diego Padres, where he would earn three All Star appearances and connected 161 home runs. Gonzalez hit the most home runs as a Padre until another former Dodger, Manny Machado, took the team home run record this season.
Gonzalez was acquired by the Dodgers in a summer blockbuster deal in 2012, and was an instrumental piece in helping the Dodgers reach the postseason for the first time since 2009. With his time as a Dodger, Gonzalez led all of baseball in RBI in 2014, was named an All Star in 2015, while earning a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and finished top 10 in MVP voting in 2014.
In a career that spanned parts of 15 seasons, Gonzalez finished with a career .287/.358/.485 slash line with 317 career home runs, 1,202 RBI, 437 doubles, 2,050 career hits, a 127 wRC+, a 43.5 rWAR and a 36.3 fWAR.
Chase Utley was one of the best power-hitting second baseman of the 2000’s decade, as he eclipsed the 30-home run mark three times and winning four consecutive Silver Slugger awards. Utley was an essential piece to the Phillies’ title run in 2008 and helped the team reach the World Series again in the following season.
Utley will always be remembered for his time in Philadelphia, but he had a memorable stint with the Dodgers in the twilight of his career. Known by Dodgers fans as the “Silver Fox,” he forged a strong bond with Enrique Hernandez, with an iconic t-shirt showing the phrase “Best Dad Ever” to boot.
Gammons: Bond between Chase Utley — the ‘best dad ever’ — and Kiké Hernandez grows even with Utley’s career over https://t.co/H5JGaQ76AB— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 3, 2021
Despite finishing his career with less than 300 career home runs and under 2,000 career base hits, Utley still finished with a career .275/.358/.465 slash line, connecting for 259 home runs, 1,025 RBI, 411 doubles, 1,885 base hits, a 118 wRC+, a 64.5 rWAR and a 61.6 fWAR.
Focusing on the case for Beltre to make the Hall of Fame, former starter and current analyst Al Leiter makes the case for why Beltre is a lock to be in the Hall of Fame in an episode of the show Hot Stove on MLB Network.
Steve Henson of the Los Angeles Times writes about Beltre’s illustrious career, noting that the soon-to-be Hall of Fame third baseman originally intended on playing his entire career with the Dodgers:
“It was a mistake on my part to show it too much, that I wanted to stay [with the Dodgers],” he said. “They wanted to use that against me in the negotiation ... I wanted to stay there forever. But it didn’t happen.”
Jayson Stark of The Athletic lists five questions to ponder ahead of the 2024 Hall of Fame, including whether or not Beltre can become the first third baseman to be unanimously voted into Cooperstown:
“Who could not vote for a third baseman who rolled up 93.5 career WAR, according to Baseball Reference? You understand that puts Beltré in legend territory, right? He ranks 25th in WAR among all position players whose careers began after 1900. And every non-Hall of Famer in that group is in the team picture of the All-PED team.”
Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs.com lists the new candidates that have just been added to the Hall of Fame ballot, downplaying the chances of Beltre not being a first-ballot Hall of Famer and undermining the chances of Chase Utley to make it into Cooperstown for his first year on the ballot:
“He’s a stathead favorite who derived about 200 runs worth of value from his defense, baserunning, and double play avoidance, but due to his short career, he finished with just 1,885 hits. The writers haven’t elected anybody from the post-1960 expansion era with fewer than 2,000 hits, so it could be a real fight to get Utley into Cooperstown, and I don’t expect that fight to be won on this ballot.”