Derek Jeter was voted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Jan. 21 by 396 of the 397 voters. This abomination reveals a major flaw in the Hall of Fame voting process.
Let me be very candid here, before Tuesday, I was not in favor of Jeter being inducted unanimously into the Hall of Fame. I did not think Mariano Rivera deserved it either. However, after Mo was inducted on 100% of ballots and this Jeter debacle, my mind has changed.
Originally, I believed Jeter did not deserve to be inducted unanimously because even though he was the face of baseball and a great offensive player, but because of the standards set by generations of baseball voters before him, he does not stack up to the legendary talents that were not inducted unanimously like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, or Babe Ruth.
Look at Ernie Banks, who was as lovable to the baseball world as Jeter was considering he is “Mr. Cub” and is one of the most quoted baseball player ever. Banks was the first shortstop to hit 40 home runs in a season, then he did it four more times. Banks is the only shortstop in the 500 Home Run Club who did not use steroids (A-Rod). Banks received 83.8% support.
By the idiotic standards put in place by Hall of Fame voters, Jeter did not deserve to be unanimous. However, those standards should change.
It seemed like the tides had turned when Rivera was unanimously elected, however, one lousy writer decided to rain on Jeter’s parade in the name of a faulty tradition that ended last year. If a player is a generational talent that changed the game like Jeter did and had an unflappable charisma like Jeter, they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame as long as they are one of the top few players on a ballot.
That being said, not all Hall of Fame deserving players should be unanimous, such as Larry Walker or Barry Bonds. But when a player is not inducted unanimously for the sake of continuity, then it is seriously time to reconsider the election process. The lone voter’s motives are not known. He may not have voted for Jeter because of personal reasons or he genuinely did not feel Jeter was deserving of the Hall of Fame. However, that is another reason why the voting process should be considered.
Baseball writers should not be the only gatekeepers of a player’s first ten shots at the Hall of Fame. Firstly, some baseball writers hold grudges against players they covered and unfairly take that into account when voting. Also, it is outdated, just like many of the writers that genuinely do not understand many measurables that now can set some players apart from others. Originally, baseball writers were some of the only people who knew players in times before TV or social media made every player accessible to every fan. This is why they got the vote.
Nowadays, there should be several groups of voters that elected players, from former players to announcers, and even a group of people formed by the Hall of Fame meticulously trained on how to select the best players.
The Hall of Fame needs to be saved, and it is losing its mystique because of old baseball writers that are trying to make a point and making our heroes’ special day about people we have never heard of.
After Mariano was elected unanimously, I changed my mind on unanimous-status in the Hall of Fame. It does not matter now that Mays or Aaron were not unanimous, that was before any player had ever been unanimous. After Jeter was robbed of unanimous status, it is time to change how voters induct Hall of Famers.
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