Most Americans don't know the newest baseball Hall of Famers but they're well-liked by MLB fans

David MontgomerySenior data journalist
February 05, 2024, 3:09 PM GMT+0

The three newest players inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame are all popular among fans of the sport, but none of them are household names among the general public.

Third baseman Adrián Beltré, first baseman Todd Helton, and catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer each received more than 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America this year to earn their induction in July. But among the general public, 69% have no opinion about any of the three new Hall of Famers.

All three new Hall of Famers are known by fewer Americans than other public figures asked about on the most recent Economist/YouGov survey, including comedian Jon Stewart (31% have no opinion), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (35% have no opinion), professional wrestling magnate Vince McMahon (46% have no opinion), and former White House official Peter Navarro (56% have no opinion).

Even among baseball fans — Americans who say Major League Baseball is one of their top interests — 36% have no opinion about any of the newest Hall of Famers. But those top baseball fans who do know them tend to like them.

  • 44% of baseball fans have a very or somewhat favorable opinion about Beltré, who had 3,166 hits and 477 home runs in a 21-season career that saw him win five Gold Glove awards for his fielding prowess. Only 9% of baseball fans have an unfavorable opinion of Beltré.
  • 40% of baseball fans like Mauer, who played his entire 15-year career for his hometown Minnesota Twins and won the 2009 American League MVP. 14% of baseball fans have a negative view of Mauer.
  • 39% of baseball fans view Helton favorably, while 14% view him unfavorably. Helton slugged 369 home runs and won three Gold Gloves in a 15-year career with the Colorado Rockies.

Around 10% of Americans say Major League Baseball is one of their top interests. Another 18% say they're somewhat interested in MLB.

Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on January 28 - 30, 2024 among 1,686 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Elsa)