From Kalamazoo to Cooperstown, Derek Jeter’s playing career has reached its zenith. On Tuesday night, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Jeter as one of the two newest members of the Hall of Fame, receiving 99.7% of the votes. He fell just one vote short of unanimous induction.
In a career spanning 20 seasons, Jeter established himself as one of his generation’s greatest position players. Most notably, he ranks sixth all-time in hits, with 3,465. He also finished in the top ten of several categories for a shortstop, including sixth in home runs (260), tenth in batting average (.310), eighth in RBI (1,311), and sixth in fWAR (73.1). Add in 14 All-Star appearances and five World Series rings, and you get yourself a no-doubt Hall of Famer.
An entire body of literature exists celebrating Jeter’s highlight reel—for good reason, too. He made his living off of transcendent moments. Ask 100 fans of their favorite Jeter memories, and they might give you 100 different answers. Think of his role on the dynasty Yankees, Mr. November, the 9/11 first-pitch story, the flip play, diving into the stands, the jump throw, closing Yankee Stadium II, a 3,000th hit home run, and of course the walk-off hit to end his final game in the Bronx. That’s just a sampling of his flare for the dramatic.
While Jeter rightfully received criticism for subpar defense, his resume as a whole more than clears the Hall-of-Fame barrier. That he spent the entirety of his career in pinstripes, and took on the role of Yankees captain starting in 2003, only padded his credentials in the eyes of the electorate.
Larry Walker, after spending a full 10 years on the ballot, finally reached Cooperstown. The outfielder appeared on 76.6% of the ballots. Walker played in 17 seasons, primarily with the Colorado Rockies. He had a career .313/.400/.565 with 383 home runs (140 wRC+). Support for Walker grew notably over the last few years, registering at 54.6% last year.
Elsewhere on the ballot, Curt Schilling received 70% of the vote. Expect him to hear his name called next year. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to tread water, polling just north of 60%. Omar Vizquel (52.6%) and Scott Rolen (35.3%) also saw considerable gains.
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