Column: Jeter’s Voting a Puzzling Result
I'd love to meet the moron who didn't think Derek Jeter was a Hall of Famer.
Without knowing him or her, I'd venture a guess the voter is either one of those stodgy old-timers who still thinks the designated hitter should be outlawed or is a Boston Red Sox fan who despises the
Either way, it's wrong.
He/she was the only one of the 397 voters who left the former New York Yankees shortstop off their ballot, thus preventing him from joining former Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera as a unanimous selection to Cooperstown.
Voting is done by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America with 10 or more years of membership. Each voter can select no more than 10 players who have played at least 10 seasons and have been retired for at least five. Players who are on 75 percent of the ballots go to the Hall of Fame.
Someone out there determined that Jeter was not worthy of a Hall of Fame vote in his first year of eligibility, despite being a lifetime .310 hitter with 3,465 career hits - sixth-most all-time - during a 20-year career that featured 14 All-Star appearances, five Gold Gloves and five World Series championships.
I'd bet he/she didn't vote for Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays or Mike Schmidt in their first year of eligibility, either. For decades, there were voters who fancied themselves as purists. By golly, if Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams weren't unanimous picks, they would make sure no one got a perfect score.
Too often, voters seem to let personal attitudes affect the way they fill out their ballots. A player who blew off an interview or acted like a jerk toward the media would not get votes. The same thing evidently goes for political views.
There is zero doubt that former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling has the stats to qualify for the Hall of Fame. He earned a career record of 216-146 with a 3.46 earned run average during a 20-year career with the Phils, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. He was even better in the postseason, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA while winning three World Series titles (2001 Diamondbacks, 2004 and 2007 Red Sox).
Yet, the closest Schilling has gotten to the Hall of Fame is the infamous bloody sock from the '04 Series that's on display in Cooperstown.
His problem is his online antics have overtake his performance between the lines. He was fired from an analyst role at ESPN in 2016 for an anti-transgender post on Facebook. He's also drawn attention for his right-wing political leanings and avid support for President Donald Trump.
Like Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens came up short in their eighth years on the ballot, receiving 60.7 and 61 percent of the vote this year, respectively, due to their alleged involvement in baseball's steroid era.
Personally, I think Bonds should be in already. He was a Hall of Famer even before he allegedly cheated. Baseball's alltime home run king and seven time National League MVP is the only player in history to ever hit at least 500 homers and steal at least 500 bases.
Then again, it's not surprising, considering snubs have been happening for nearly a century. Consider the first group that was eligible, a list of players that included Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Ruth and Honus Wagner.
Cobb was the leading vote-getter with 222 of a possible 226 (98.2 percent). His career batting average of .367 is still a record, as are his 12 batting titles and 54 steals of home. His record of 4,191 career hits stood until Pete Rose broke it in 1985 and his 2,246 career runs scored lasted until 2001.
If that's not a Hall of Famer, I don't know what is.
Ruth's 714 career home runs was the record until Aaron broke it. He also collected 2,213 RBIs, 2,062 walks, a .690 slugging percentage and 1.164 OPS. More significantly, he changed the game. Before he slugged 29 homers in 1919, no one had ever hit more than 24. Yet, 11 voters didn't think Ruth deserved to be in the Hall.
Aaron smacked 755 homers while handling the enormous pressure of chasing Ruth. Yet, when he was first eligible in 1982, nine folks didn't put him on their ballots.
Williams is the last player to hit .400 in a season (406 in 1941). He finished his 19-year career — he missed three full seasons and parts of two others while serving as a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War — with a .344 average to go with 521 homers and 2,654 hits.
Still, 20 voters left him off their ballots in 1966.
It doesn't appear as if anyone is going to be joining Rivera in that exclusive club anytime soon.
Hopefully, attitudes will change by the time Mike Trout is eligible.