Dear BBWAA: Do your Job!
I would first like to congratulate you on another wonderful year of Hall of Fame voting. This year’s class is another deserving collection of individuals. Both Larry Walker and Derek Jeter were terrific players who played the game at the highest level and with the highest level of sportsmanship. They are prime examples of what it means to be a hall of famers. I know the process can be time consuming and I think the countless amounts of research paid off, as you selected the right people who deserve to be in this class. So for that I congratulate you. To be a member of the BBWAA is a great honor, but to be a hall of fame voter is an even higher honor. And while many of you are doing the right thing by voting for those who are truly deserving, there are some who are omitting certain individuals for various reasons.
In the case of Derek Jeter, you have an individual who was an iconic figure in the game of baseball due to the magnitude of his situation. He was playing shortstop for the New York Yankees during a period in which the Yankees were at the forefront of sports. He was the leader of the pack and was following suit of other Yankees who had been headliners during pivotal Yankee dynasties (Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jackson, etc.). Jeter was a durable force for the Yankees and had accumulated a number of awards and statistical achievements. He was the 1996 Rookie of the year, a 14 time all star, 5 time gold glove winner, 5 time silver slugger, 5 time World Series champion and he was the MVP of the 2000 World Series. He was also a member of the 3,000 hit club. The numbers and awards are there and that is why he is a hall of famer, but that is not the issue at hand.
In the 84 year history of the Baseball Hall of Fame, there has been one person to be elected to the hall unanimously. That person is not Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, Nolan Ryan, Ernie Banks, Honus Wagner, Tom Seaver, Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Or any of the handful of guys you might expect to be unanimous. Instead the only unanimous member of the Hall of Fame is Mariano Rivera and he was elected in last year. And while I agree that Mariano is deserving to be unanimous, so does Derek Jeter and the fact that 1 of you did not vote for him is terrible.
I know that you have the right to your opinion and you have your reasons and methodology for voting, but in what delusional world is Derek Jeter not a unanimous hall of famer. If you did not vote for him because of the old “well Babe Ruth wasn’t unanimous” argument, then you are outdated. That argument went out the door when Rivera was elected unanimously last year. If you voted by the strategic voting method of supporting other guys because you knew Jeter was going to get in, then you miscalculated the number of hall of famers on the ballot. In recent years the ballot has been flooded with guys who have legit resumes to be in Cooperstown, so not voting on slam dunk guys to help the other guys stay afloat was seen as ok. But this year was not great since Jeter was only compelling first year and other than Larry Walker, your next best candidates were all worthy but come with baggage. If you did not vote for him for any other reason, the public would like to know. We just want to hear your reasoning and logic.
Derek Jeter is in the hall of fame and that was never an issue. It just disturbs many that one of the 327 members of your organization, the BBWAA, did not vote for one of, perhaps the most iconic baseball figure of the last 30 years. And while Mariano is great, I can say that kids growing up were not practicing sawing off Minnesota Twins hitters with a 1-2 cutter in their back yards. Those kids were rolling to the right and making jump throws across the infield like Jeter was. They were not asking for 42 in little league, and if they were it was because of a much more inspiring pioneer in Baseball history. They were running to their coach and asking to wear number 2 and play shortstop. That is the impact he had.
Voting for the Hall of Fame is hard, and I respect many of you for doing it. But if you are going to continue, you need to vote for those who deserve and truly should be in the hall. Take bias out, and pick the guys who should be in. Derek Jeter is a hall of famer, and had a perfect career. He was robbed by 0.3 percent of a perfect ending. I truly hope you do not screw up like this again.
A Baseball Fan