Earlier this week Ken Griffey Jr. received 437 out of a possible 440 votes to earn his well-deserved place in the Hall of Fame. However 3 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) decided to play God at the pearly gates to Cooperstown omitting Junior from their respective ballots.
Griffey shrugged off the snub content to be headed to the Hall after learning of his induction. “To have the highest percentage is a shock, because I don’t think that way, the big thing is to get into the Hall of Fame. I was really surprised by the total.”
This injustice got me pondering whether these 3 anonymous derelicts prevented the perfect ballot in an attempt for the beloved Derek Jeter to be the first unanimous player enshrined. The 3 non-voters have gone into social-media hiding fearful to own up to their voting idiocy but it makes one wonder if they were New York based writers.
There is no question that the New York Yankees shortstop will be a first ballot inductee and deservedly so. Jeter was the poster boy for Major League Baseball throughout his entire career relishing in the big city spotlight. The 5-time World Series champion will be eligible to be anointed in the 2020 Hall of Fame class. Interestingly enough his former teammate and sure to be first ballot inductee Mariano Rivera will get the first crack at the perfect vote in the 2019 class. If I had a vote that counts, it would be ludicrous to leave any of those three off the ballot.
However, these are the same writers who have previously left the likes of Cal Ripken Jr. (537/545), George Brett (488/497), Babe Ruth (215/226) and Hank Aaron (406/416) to name a few off their ballot.
In a 2014 interview Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver rallied that Jeter deserves to be the first unanimous inductee. “I’ve thought about it; Jeter should be the one,” What can you say he hasn’t done? He has every credential imaginable — great player, good citizen. He plays the game properly, respects the game and his predecessors. He’s done it in the big city, for one team that wears a uniform of greatness. He has no marks against him. He has the numbers. And he wins. He’s a class act all the way. A pro’s pro, a gentleman’s gentleman. If you’re starting a franchise, who do want as your first pick? I’ll take Jeter, thank you. And I’m sure I wouldn’t get too many arguments.”
If Jeter cannot attain perfection, one would have to assume we will wait in baseball purgatory until Mike Trout hangs up the spikes before we are having the unanimous vote discussion again.
However, if we have learned anything over the years about Derek Jeter and the Yankees, don’t underestimate or bet against “Captain Clutch” or the “Evil Empire”. Perfection may be just around the corner.