Derek Jeter received the highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes for a position player ever at 99.7. And although it doesn’t matter to the Yankees great that he wasn’t unanimous, it would be nice to know who didn’t vote for him and why.
Yankees fans are divided at the moment. On one side of the fence, some find it incomprehensible that one voter out of 397 believed Derek Jeter should not be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Over on the other side, there are those that could care less that DJ wasn’t unanimously elected.
Jeter’s now a Hall of Famer, and it’s unfair to solely focus on the fact that he missed 100 percent of the ballot by a single vote.
As a boy turned man that idolized Jeter, proudly wearing his jersey, imitating his batting stance and forever referring to him as my favorite player, I will do my best to solely focus on the fact that Jeets is months away from being enshrined as just the 26th shortstop ever.
Besides, reflecting on his body of work and the iconic moments he provided us Yankees fans is the less stressful of the two positions.
However, why is it that the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t make it a mandatory obligation to reveal all ballots to the public? The Baseball Writers Association of America is made up of journalists that make a good living covering, critiquing and holding those in and around Major League Baseball accountable for their actions.
It appears the BBWAA understands this, as Anthony Rieber of Newsday notes. A few years back, a majority of writers agreed to reveal their ballots to the public, only for the motion to be rejected by those that run the HOF because some writers had reservations about the practice impacting decisions.
While I can see that the revelation of the one writer that didn’t cast a vote for Jeter could start a witch hunt — it would also allow this person to explain themselves, and perhaps even enlighten fans as to why they felt this way.
No, Jeter isn’t the first player to be robbed of 100 percent of the vote — nor will he be the last. But complete disclosure in the year 2020 should be a given.
Baseball is often referred to as an antiquated sport that struggles to gain the attention of a younger audience. Perhaps this is part of the problem.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to speed up the game (robot umpires will be used this spring), make his players more marketable (The Players Weekend), and promote the game via social media — but then he goes and gives Astros’ players that were directly involved in the sign-stealing scandal immunity for their full cooperation. Talk about a lateral move.
Unfortunately, Hall of Fame voting is based on opinions, not facts. An illustrious player’s CV is not enough, alone, to get them into Cooperstown (Curt Schilling). Should a writer use their vote as a ploy to self-satisfy, then they should be stripped of the privilege to determine who stands among the games all-time greats.
So unless the Hall changes their stance on full transparency, we’ll forever be left with more questions than answers — even if you say you really don’t care.
However, at the Hall of Fame press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, Jeter himself said it was “OK,” that he didn’t receive a unanimous election — even stating that he didn’t need to know who the lone dissenter was. Per Ken Davidoff of the NY Post, who like many other writers does reveal his ballot to the public:
“See, that’s where our minds are a little bit different,” he said. “I focus on the ones that did [vote for me]. It takes a lot of people to all agree to get you to this point. So I’m not thinking about that. I’m happy to be sitting up on this stage right now, and that’s something that just doesn’t cross my mind.”