Yankees: Derek Jeter should have been a unanimous Hall of Fame selection

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

For the second consecutive season, a Yankees great has earned election into the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, this time around, The Captain, Derek Jeter, missed being unanimous by one single vote.

While Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous player elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019, demystifying the belief that no man could accomplish such a feat and thereby paving the way for former Yankees teammate Derek Jeter to do so — still, we waited with bated breath for the official announcement from Major League Baseball.

And so, a little after 6:15 PM on Tuesday, January 21, it was announced that Jeter collected 396 of 397 possible votes (99.7 percent) for entrance to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. How could someone in their right mind not believe Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer?

Jeter wasn’t alone in being selected, though, as Larry Walker gained 76.6 percent of the ballot in his final year of eligibility. The highly-controversial Curt Schilling again fell short of enshrinement at 70 percent.

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As for the writer that felt Jeter wasn’t completely deserving of a unanimous selection, you can kick rocks. I’m sure this person will point out Jeter’s defensive deficiency; however, they fail to give him any credit for winning five Gold Glove Awards. They’ll nitpick that Jeter never won a league MVP, only led the AL in an offensive category three times or never hit more than 24 homers in a season.

No, Jeter wasn’t the greatest at his position like Rivera was nor was he even the best player on many of the Yanks’ championship clubs. Still, he played the second-most games ever at shortstop (2,674) while collecting the most hits, runs scored, highest OPS and championships won of any man to play the spot.

As a leader, he was a consistent producer, averaging .313/.382/.448 with 194 hits, 15 homers, 73 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases across 151 games per season from 1996-2012.

Jeter’s illustrious 20-year run as the shortstop of the New York Yankees is something the baseball world will never witness again.

A superstar in every sense of the word, only five players in the history of the game collected more hits than Jeter’s 3,465. What began with the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award included 14 All-Star appearances (one MVP), five World Series championships (2000 MVP), five Silver Sluggers, and being named the captain of baseball’s last true dynasty.

Playing under the bright lights and intense media scrutiny that is New York, Jeter was an icon.

Aside from a few sly jokes about gift baskets, you never heard a bad thing about the kid from Kalamazoo. Whenever Jeter was on the field, you knew the Yankees had a chance to win — even in the twilight of his career.

When Jeter retired at the end of the 2014 season, he finished as the Yankees all-time leader in hits, runs scored, doubles, stolen bases and times on base.

He played 30 more playoff games than anyone in baseball history (158) — as the Bombers were victorious 97 times (.614 winning percentage). Across 16 playoff years (33 series), Jeter slashed .308/.374/.464 with 111 runs, 200 hits, 32 doubles, 20 homers and 61 RBIs. Basically, you can add an extra season to Jeter’s resume.

From “the flip,” to hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit and a walk-off single in his final big league at-bat, Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script. DJ was all the things you wanted out of a ballplayer — and his effect on the game can still be seen through the players that wear No. 2 in his honor.

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Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Mr. Jeter. You more than deserved it. To the one BBWAA member that left Jeter off his ballot, your bias is showing. FYI, Brad Penny and J.J. Putz each received one vote. Go figure.