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José Bautista Headlines Indianapolis Ties on 2024 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

2005 AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colón, 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins represent two of eight players on 2024 BBWAA ballot who played against Indy
January 19, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Jan. 23, almost one year to the day former Jasper (Ind.) High School product Scott Rolen was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2023, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch will announce the results of the 80th

INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Jan. 23, almost one year to the day former Jasper (Ind.) High School product Scott Rolen was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2023, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch will announce the results of the 80th Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) Hall of Fame election. BBWAA Class of 2024 electees will be revealed at 6 PM ET on MLB Network and simulcast on and at

Former Indianapolis Indian José Bautista, who prior to the 2021 season was named the No. 2 player on the Indians All-Time 25 roster outlining the best players in the Victory Field era, is the lone representative on this year’s ballot to once sport an Indians jersey. Bautista is the first former Indian on the BBWAA ballot since J.J. Hardy in 2023 and seeks to become the Indians’ 14th Hall of Famer.

Contrary to Bautista, eight players on the 2024 BBWAA ballot faced the Indians during their illustrious careers. Headlining that group is 2005 American League Cy Young winner Bartolo Colón, 2007 National League MVP Jimmy Rollins and Gary Sheffield, who had three top-three finishes in MVP voting and is in his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot.

José Bautista – 2005-06, 2008 Indianapolis Indians

Originally selected by Pittsburgh in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, José Bautista was later selected by Baltimore from Pittsburgh in the 2003 Rule 5 Draft and bounced to the Devil Rays, Royals and Mets before the outfielder/third baseman returned to the Pirates at the 2004 trade deadline. He spent the rest of the season in Pittsburgh before landing back in the minors the next year. Bautista, a future big-league slugger, began 2005 with Double-A Altoona and made his Circle City debut in late August. His longest stint with the Indians came in 2006 when he hit .277 (28-for-101) in 29 games. In 47 total games with Indianapolis, he hit .273 (47-for-172) with 24 runs, 14 doubles, five home runs, 21 RBI and four stolen bases.

During his five-year run with the Buccos, he hit .241 (317-for-1,314) and belted 16 home runs in 2006. Bautista’s career really took off after being traded from Pittsburgh to Toronto in August 2008. In 2010, he earned his first of six consecutive All-Star bids and was named an AL Silver Slugger while finishing fourth in AL MVP voting after smacking an MLB-high 54 home runs. He topped himself again in 2011 when he hit a career-high .302 with MLB-leading figures in home runs (43), walks (132), slugging percentage (.608) and OPS (1.056) to finish third in AL MVP voting while taking home his second of three career Silver Slugger Awards.

“Joey Bats” participated in the MLB Home Run Derby twice (2012, ’14) and finished second to Prince Fielder in 2012, marking the highest HR Derby finish by a former Indian since Hall of Famer Larry Walker was second in 1997. He finished his 15-year MLB career with a .247 batting average (1,496-for-6,051), 344 home runs, .836 OPS and 36.7 bWAR.

Gary Sheffield – 1988 Denver Zephyrs

Just days after going 3-for-11 with three RBI in three games vs. Indianapolis at Mile High Stadium in Denver, third baseman Gary Sheffield visited Bush Stadium for the only time in his short minor league career in 1988. He went 1-for-10 in those three games – good for a .190 career clip vs. the Indians in the two series combined – but it wasn’t representative of the major league career he would soon be entering.

Sheffield made his MLB debut later that season and went on to a 22-year career in the big leagues. He won the NL batting title in 1992, was a World Series champion with the Florida Marlins in 1997, was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger, finished third in NL MVP voting twice and was second behind Vladimir Guerrero for AL MVP in 2004. In 2,576 career MLB games, he compiled 2,689 hits, 509 home runs and 60.5 bWAR. This will be his final year on the BBWAA ballot after he gathered 55.0% of the vote last year.

Jimmy Rollins – 2000 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins visited Victory Field with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre twice during the 2000 season, the last coming during the Governors’ Cup Championship Series just two days before he made his MLB debut with Philadelphia. During that final battle for glory within the International League, Rollins – who went 0-for-7 with one RBI in the first two games of the set – hit .385 (5-for-13) with two doubles, a home run and two RBI over the final three games at the Vic, but the Indians prevailed in the best-of-5 series, 3-2. In 13 total games against Indy that season, he hit .308 (16-for-52) with seven extra-base hits and six RBI.

The next season, Rollins earned his first career All-Star bid, finished 17th in NL MVP voting and third for Rookie of the Year. His standout season came during his NL MVP campaign in 2007, when he led the league with 139 runs and a career-high 20 triples. Over his 17-year career he was a three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner, the 2007 NL Silver Slugger at shortstop, and helped the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008. In 2,275 career games, he collected 2,455 hits and 47.6 bWAR, and his .9834 fielding percentage currently ranks fourth all-time among shortstops Last year was his second year on the BBWAA ballot, getting 12.9% of the vote.

Bartolo Colón – 1997 Buffalo Bisons, 2008 Pawtucket Red Sox

In the midst of his 21-year major league career with 11 different teams, right-handed pitcher Bartolo Colón made four starts against the Indianapolis Indians with Buffalo and Pawtucket. During his rookie season with Cleveland, Colón faced Indy three times including two appearances at Victory Field, where he went 0-1 with four runs allowed and eight strikeouts in 10.0 innings as the Indians won both contests. His final appearance against Indianapolis came on April 3, 2008, at Pawtucket when he tossed 5.0 scoreless innings with five strikeouts en route to a win. In four career starts against Indy, he posted a 2-1 record, 2.66 ERA (6er/20.1ip) and 19 strikeouts.

One year after making his MLB debut in April 1997, Colón earned his first of four career All-Star honors. He bounced between Cleveland, Montreal and Chicago (AL) before landing in Los Angeles (AL), where he won an AL-leading 21 games with a 3.48 ERA (86er/222.2ip) and 157 strikeouts to be named the league’s Cy Young Award winner. The remainder of his career included stints with Boston, Chicago (AL), New York (AL), Oakland, New York (NL), Atlanta, Minnesota and Texas. In 565 career games (552 starts), Colón went 247-188 with a 4.12 ERA (1,584er/3,461.2ip), 2,535 strikeouts and 46.2 bWAR. He is currently 36th on the all-time strikeouts list and tied for 51st on the all-time wins list. This is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

Chase Utley – 2002-03 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons

For eight games at the beginning of his budding major league career, infielder Chase Utley appeared at Victory Field with a mix of results. His standout performance in Indianapolis came on June 12, 2003, when he went 3-for-5 with two runs, two doubles, a home run and RBI. In total at the Vic, he went 8-for-32 with four hitless appearances but managed a .288 clip (15-for-52) in 15 total games against Indy.

In 2005, after a pair of partial big-league seasons, Utley caught his stride as a major league infielder with 73 extra-base hits. From 2006-10 with Philadelphia, he was named to five consecutive NL All-Star teams and earned four straight Silver Slugger Awards (2006-09). During that stretch, he finished in the top 10 for NL MVP voting three times (2006-07, ‘09). Over 16 years with the Phillies and Dodgers, he appeared in 1,937 games and recorded a .275 batting average (1,885-for-6,857), 259 home runs, .823 OPS and 64.5 bWAR. His 87.5% success rate on stolen bases (154-for-176) is currently third among players since 1951 with at least 80 attempts. This is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

Brandon Phillips – 2002 Ottawa Lynx, 2004-05 Buffalo Bisons, 2014 Louisville Bats, 2018 Pawtucket Red Sox

Infielder Brandon Phillips was a consistent opponent of the Indianapolis Indians over his 17-year major league career, appearing in 21 games against the Indians from 2002-18. He hit safely in nine of 11 games at Victory Field with a .341 batting average (15-for-44), 10 runs, three doubles, three RBI, one stolen base and one sacrifice bunt. Three of those games came in 2018 – the final season of his career –including a 3-for-4, two-double performance on Aug. 11 with Pawtucket. In total, he hit .312 (24-for-77) with 18 runs, six extra-base hits and eight RBI against Indy.

Between his numerous stints against Indianapolis, Phillips solidified himself as a dependable big-league infielder. Originally selected by Montreal in the second round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, he was traded in June 2002 to Cleveland with left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee, outfielder Grady Sizemore and first baseman/outfielder Lee Stevens in exchange for right-handed pitchers Bartolo Colón and Tim Drew. After being traded to Cincinnati for a player to be named later (right-handed pitcher Jeff Stevens) in April 2006, he immediately became an everyday player for 11 seasons with the Reds. In 2008 he won his first of four NL Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, and from 2010-13 was named an NL All-Star in three of four seasons with one Silver Slugger. In 1,902 total games with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Los Angeles (AL) and Boston, Phillips hit .275 (2,029-for-7,378) with 211 home runs, 209 stolen bases and 28.4 bWAR. This is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

José Reyes – 2003 Norfolk Tides

During the 2003 season with New York (NL) in which he finished eighth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, infielder José Reyes appeared in two early May games against Indianapolis at Norfolk’s Harbor Park and went 2-for-5 with an RBI double, run and stolen base.

Just over one month later, Reyes made his MLB debut with the Mets and began an impressive 16-year big-league career. In 2006, his first of four All-Star seasons, he led all major leaguers with 17 triples and 64 stolen bases to finish seventh in NL All-Star voting and earn a Silver Slugger Award. After appearing in his final two All-Star games with New York (NL) in 2010-11, Reyes bounced between Miami, Toronto and Colorado before ending his career back where it started. In 1,877 career games, he hit .283 (2,138-for-7,552) with 131 triples, 145 home runs, 517 stolen bases and 37.4 bWAR. He currently ranks 33rd on the all-time stolen bases leaderboard. It is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

Víctor Martínez – 2003 Buffalo Bisons

An eventual five-time AL All-Star, catcher and first baseman Víctor Martínez appeared with Buffalo in four games against the Indianapolis Indians. The switch-hitting slugger went hitless in a pair of contests at Victory Field and was just 1-for-14 in all four games against Indy in May 2003.

One year later, Martínez’s big-league bat took off when he hit .283 (147-for-520) to be named an All-Star and Silver Slugger. The 2005 season kicked off a stretch of three consecutive years – nine total – with a .300-plus batting average. In 2014, his final All-Star season with Detroit, he led all major leaguers with a .974 OPS and AL-leading .409 on-base percentage to earn his second Silver Slugger and finish second in MVP voting behind Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Martínez appeared in 1,973 career games in stints with Cleveland, Boston and Detroit, hitting .295 (2,153-for-7,297) with 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI and 32.0 bWAR. It is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

James Shields – 2006 Durham Bulls

Twenty-six days before making his major league debut in May 2006 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, right-handed pitcher James Shields spun a gem against the Indianapolis Indians at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. In his lone career start against Indy – he only made 10 Triple-A starts in 2006 and 14 across his 17-year professional career – Shields earned the win with 8.0 one-run innings and nine strikeouts.

On May 31, he made the first of 21 major league starts that season and 405 over the course of his 13-year MLB career. A workhorse, Shields made 30-plus starts in 11 of those 13 seasons including 10 straight from 2007-16. His standout year came in 2011 when he led MLB with 11 complete games and an AL-leading four shutouts to earn his first All-Star bid, finish third in AL Cy Young voting and 16th in AL MVP. In each season from 2013-15 with Kansas City and San Diego, he led the league in starts along with an AL-best 228.2 innings pitched in ’13. In 407 career games across four teams, he went 145-139 with a 4.01 ERA (1,167er/2,616.0ip), 2,234 strikeouts and 30.7 bWAR. This is his first year on the BBWAA ballot.