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Will Derek Jeter be the first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee? Probably not, thanks to the schmucks

Jul 17, 2012, 9:14 AM EDT

Derek Jeter Reuters

Alan Hoskins of the Kansas City Kansan asked several experts — ESPN people and some respected baseball writers — if they think Derek Jeter will be the first unanimously-elected Hall of Fame inductee.

The response was itself unanimous: nope. No one, of course, argued that it was because he wasn’t deserving of first-ballot induction because that’s nuts. Rather, all of them noted the following concept, most eloquently stated by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

“Might but there’s always some schmuck who just won’t vote for it. Maybe Greg Maddux. But a lot of great ones didn’t make it.”

There is always some schmuck, isn’t there?  Two kinds of schmucks, really. The first kind is the “I vote for no one in the Steroid Era because I know everything and will turn in a blank ballot to draw attention to myself –er, I mean to protest some Great Wrong” guy. These people are terrible, by the way. Really the worst kind of person.

The other schmucks: guys who say that since Willie Mays didn’t get unanimously elected, no one should. Because the best way to right past wrongs is to repeat them.

Bah. There are a lot of people who should have been unanimously elected. The next one, as several of them note, should be Greg Maddux, but won’t be because some schmuck will come up with a reason. The next one should probably be Jeter and some other schmuck won’t vote for him either, because of some other schmucky reason.

Schmuck schmuck schmuck.

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    I don’t get the blank ballot turn in. If you don’t want to vote for anyone, don’t turn in your ballot. That way you don’t count against the 75%. Or if you think no one is worthy, give up your voting privileges because you are a moron.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Eh, I tend to be a bigger Hall kind of guy, but if there was nobody on the ballot I felt worthy, I’d turn in a blank ballot.

      • Alex K - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        How often does that happen, though? It hasn’t happned for a lot of years if I’m not mistaken.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        No, it doesn’t, but that’s by my standard. I only mean that if you truly feel that nobody on the ballot is HoF-worthy, you shouldn’t feel guilty about turning in a blank ballot. I think that’s separate from the grandstanders.

    • stoutfiles - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Derek Jeter Facts:

      -Plays for top baseball organization that is always televised, so he gets maximum exposure.
      -Always has had great hitters behind in the #3 slot.
      -At no time has he ever been the best player on his team.
      -At no time has he ever been the best SS in baseball.
      -Would not give up SS spot to A-Rod when A-Rod was a better defensive player.
      -Would not take less money when his defensive stats were/are in the bottom half of baseball.

      That said, he is a .310+ lifetime hitter who usually comes up big in big games. He deserves to be on the first ballot, but he’s not unanimously great. He’s just Barry Larkin in a bigger city that avoided injuries.

      • protectthishouse54 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        I’d have to disagree with your statement that at no time, he’s ever been the best player on his team. DJ finished in the top 3 in MVP voting three different times (and should have won in ’06). This would also disprove the “best SS” remark, unless you’re talking purely defense. I also disagree that he should have given up his spot to A-Rod, when they were similar defensively at the time and A-Rod is more power-focused. Imagine A-Rod at shortstop nowadays! And don’t knock a guy for “not taking less money.” That’s absurd.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        1. True
        2. Fairly irrelevant
        3. False. Best player on his team by fWAR in 1998 (arguably the greatest team ever, no less), 1999, 2006 and 2009. Was a legitimate MVP candidate in all four of those years. Best player on his team by rWAR in 1998, 1998, 2001 (tie), 2006 and 2009.
        4. Wrong. Best shortstop in baseball by fWAR in 1999 and 2006, with the uncertainty of defensive metrics giving him an argument in 2005 and 2009. I’d look up the rWAR numbers too, but this is getting repetitive.
        5. True. And this is a major strike against the leadership/team player narrative. But it doesn’t change how he actually performed.
        6. True. Again, narrative.

  2. southpaw2k - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    And why were guys like Willie Mays not voted in unanimously? Because Ted Williams wasn’t voted in unanimoulsy. And why wasn’t Williams unanimous? Because Babe Ruth didn’t get in unanimously. I’ll never understand that logic, either. It doesn’t mean anything, except that the voters are self-serving snobs. I wonder if as new voters are brought on board (however often that happens), the older vets sway them into such archaic thinking.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Willie Mays wasn’t voted in unanimously because some people are racist.

      • bozosforall - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:04 AM

        Particularly those in the Northeast.

  3. Rich Stowe - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I talked about this last year:

    No one will ever get 100% because the majority of voters are idiots

    • Roger Moore - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Nah, it’s not because the majority of voters are idiots. The majority are decent people who are doing their best. They may be a bit old fashioned and not reflect the latest thinking, but they’re honestly trying to put the best players into the Hall. The problem is that it only takes one idiot or obnoxious attention seeker to keep the election from being unanimous, and there will always be one one in any group as big as the HOF electorate.

    • largebill - Jul 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Wow our schools are doing a lousy job teaching math skill if anyone thinks that less than 10 out of 500+ voters equals a majority.

      We should be able to mock the extreme minority of voters who don’t take the responsibility seriously without lumping them into the majority who do. Even those who use awful “logic” to defend their vote choices (Yes, I’m talking about you Heyman) try to make the right choice.

  4. earfsten7 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Chipper jones should be the next first-ballot hall of famer. Not that Jeter shouldn’t be, but Chipper is retiring this year and Jeter still has a couple of years left in him.

    • bravojawja - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      “Next” first-ballot HOFer? I can think of three or four Braves who will/could/should be first-ballot HOFers before Chipper is even on the ballot, never mind anybody else.

      But I agree that Chipper will get in the Hall before Jeter for the reason you suggest.

      • largebill - Jul 18, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        I wouldn’t put money on Chipper Jones being a first ballot guy or even being in before Jeter. The voters have historically under appreciated third base expecting corner outfielder type stats. Couple that with the fact that we are about to hit a crazy period of HoF voting and it is quite possible that Jones waits a few years.

      • bravojawja - Jul 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        You can’t be serious. He is universally recognized as one of the three best switch hitters in the game’s history and one of the best third basemen in the game’s history. Have you seen any of the Chipper Farewell Tour going on this year? Teams are falling all over themselves giving him Really Cool Stuff to take home with him. I half expect the Mets to hand him the deed to the old Shea Stadium lot.

        The “crazy HoF voting” is mainly crazy because of all the steroid blahblah, and Chipper has never been painted with that brush, not even in a Jeff Bagwell way. The only possible reason for not voting him on the first ballot will be Braves fatigue.

    • spudatx - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Randy Johnson isn’t a first ballot HOFer? Glavine? Smoltz? Maddux? Ken Griffey Jr?

  5. number42is1 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    you know.. Love the Yanks or Hate them… i don’t think that there is anyone out there that TRULY thinks that Jeets is not a first round unanimous HoFer. you can say the same thing about Mo and Maddux and probably Randy Johnson. but yea… SCHMUCKS!

  6. sictransitchris - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    This is all very petty.

  7. paperlions - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I just can’t get worked up about someone not being elected unanimously. Jeter will still easily be a first ballot guy, the schmucks aren’t important enough for me to care about in this case.

    • Rich Stowe - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      it’s the schmucks that show what a farce the HOF voting is

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        There are a lot of things that show what a farce it is….the biggest problem is that many in the electorate don’t know much about baseball and many others can’t be bothered to learn about the sport they cover so that they understand it better than they did as a 12 yr old.

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

        Sometime you guys should look at the list of voters, many have never been sports writers, any editor of a sports section (which is a position for an editor, not a former sports writer, and many of those editors have no interest in sports) gets a HOF vote and keeps it for life. Guys that covered baseball for a few years and then moved on to hockey, football, or basketball (and who haven’t covered baseball in decades) have votes, and have them for life.

        The electorate is a mess.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Don’t you have to be a writer for X number of years to gain entrance in the BBWAA? I remember a big ado about it because guys like Neyer, Keith Law and Dave Cameron have been writing for years, but as not a part of a publication there was a backlash against them getting membership.

        It’s true that many who have a vote haven’t been a writer for years, but there were at some point.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        No, you have to be a member of the BBWAA for ten years to have a ballot, but the BBWAA has full discretion over who they admit into their membership ranks. The backlash against guys like Law and Neyer was an old-guard, anti-internet sentiment that got beaten down eventually.

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        Once you are a member of the BBWAA, you can stay a member even if you stop writing about baseball, once a member they don’t kick anyone out.

  8. steeler999 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Anyone who doesn’t vote for a player because Babe Ruth wasn’t a unanimous choice should immediately have their voting privileges revoked.

  9. Francisco (FC) - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I think Mike Schmidt is still hunting down the rest of the 16-odd Schmucks who didn’t vote for him in the first ballot.

  10. beefytrout - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    I think I’ll see a 100% guy in my lifetime (I’m 34). My dad and I get into this debate every year or so… his position is the same as this article, that there’s always that one guy that won’t vote for whatever reason, to maintain tradition. Our most recent debate was Mariano Rivera. On paper there is no reason, on field or off, that you can give for not voting for Rivera. So if anything, we’ll hopefully have one of these schmucks admit to their schmuckery at some point.

    • sabatimus - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      No, there’s a reason some schmuck won’t vote for him: he’ll think something like “I don’t believe in closers and saves are a BS statistic”, totally ignoring the 2.21 ERA, sub-1.000 WHIP, and the fact that he currently hold the major league record for ERA+.

    • Rich Stowe - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      Even Mariano will have one voter that doesn’t think closers deserve to be in the HOF

  11. ajcardsfan - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Schmuck schmuck schmuck.
    A wise guy, eh? Craig, please tell you me where you making a play the 3 Stooges, and were wanting us to read that Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.

  12. Rich Stowe - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Maddux, Jeter, and Rivera are the ones with the best shot at 100% but they’ll still fall short

  13. jevans77573 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I actually like the fact that no player recieves unanimous voting, it supports the fact that no player was or ever will be perfect. It is such a prestigous honor to make the hall of fame who cares if you get in by the min vote count or all of them

  14. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Yeah it is stupid, but so what? Jerks will be jerks. What’s important is that he gets in on the first ballot. We don’t need to keep stats on how many did or didn’t vote Derek Jeter into the Hall. Because we all know he will be in it. It’s voters trying to create levels in the Hall of Fame, like they have some duty to distinguish one Hall of Famer from another. Well, there is no upper or lower level. You’re either in or you’re out. We look at the more worthy Hall of Famers by career stats, not by how many votes they got.

  15. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Roger Clemens deserves to be the first unanimously-elected Hall of Fame inductee. Cause nobody especially greg maddux was better, EVER!! End of story, case closed, done deal.

    • jevans77573 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      obviously the statement of a foolish Yankees fan haha

      • bozosforall - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:11 AM

        Obviously the statement of a bitter Red Sox fan

  16. woodyqq2 - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    SCHMUCKS, SCHMUCKS!!!!!!! those are kind words. I know some more appropriate words for those people.

    • number42is1 - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      does it rhyme with “schmucks”?

  17. Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Actually, if I had a ballot, there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t vote for Maddux. Not because he’s undeserving, but because he’s such a shoo-in that I’d rather my vote go towards somebody who actually needs the help getting in. With the glut coming up and the worthy guys still on the ballot, there’d be more than ten worthy guys for me to vote for. Since the Hall insists on limiting the number of players one can vote for in a single year, I’d have to choose my ten so as to maximize the impact. Another vote for Maddux over the 75% threshold is redundant – in is in.

    • Alex K - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      I don’t 100% remember who will be in the 2013 class, but I don’t know if the total log jam will be there, yet.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM


        Guys who should be automatic:

        Leaves guys like Raines, Schilling, Walker, Biggio, Edgar and McGwire as ones who should get in as well, which would take up your hypothetical 10 spots.

        *seriously, is there anything bref can’t do?

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        Well, it’s the 2014 ballot that matters, since that’s when Maddux is eligible. Of the players potentially on that ballot, I believe Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio, Mike Mussina and Kenny Lofton all to be HOF-worthy. That’s fifteen players. There’s a very real chance that none of the ones who are eligible in 2013 will get elected (although I seriously hope that Murray Chass’ rumormongering isn’t enough to keep Piazza out). Basically, I’d have to leave Maddux, Glavine and Thomas off because they’ll get in anyway, vote for Bags, Rock, Trammell, Edgar, Walker, Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio and Moose, and hope Lofton and Mac don’t fall off the ballot because I couldn’t vote for them. If enough of those guys don’t clear, I have a problem again the following year, when Johnson, Smoltz and Pedro all hit the ballot. It really is going to be a clusterfuck.

      • Alex K - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        Kevin- I did my math wrong on when Maddux would be eligible I thought it was 2013. I wasn’t actually disputing your point (I agree with it, actually), I was just saying I didn’t think that the problem would be there when Maddux was added to the ballot.

      • Alex K - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        I know it won’t happen but I hope that at least Bagwell and Piazza are already in by 2014 since there should be no question on either.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Yeah, I wasn’t arguing so much as explicitly showing the issue facing a theoretical voter that has the same HOF preferences I do.

  18. deathmonkey41 - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Someone should let the voters know that if they do vote him in uniamously, they’ll be a nice gift basket waiting for them.

  19. crali - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    So, do all the reporters talk and then decide, well ok, I’ll be the 1 not to vote for him? How does that work? I remember reading a few of Joe Posnanski’s old blogs on how there were times where he just didn’t see what made Jeter special but I’m guessing even the haters have to note the 3200+ hits – unless they count how many were infield…I don’t know.
    Here’s 1 more question – for all the people that want to say make “these years” the steroid years and just let players in does that mean Jeter gets lumped together with them because of the years he played?
    Why would Mariano be a 1st ballot HOFer when no other reliever is? Certainly Goose Gossage doesn’t think he or any present day closer should be-
    Personally, I believe there are already users in the Hall but because there’s no proof and I’m pretty sure they aren’t coming forward anytime soon.
    I also think Goose along with Reggie needs to just be quiet. JMO

  20. florida727 - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    I’m probably off-base here, but when Jeter gets elected, certainly on his first ballot try, I’d take a great deal of pride in being one of the ones that put him there. I think it’d be cool, “Yep, my vote helped get him in.”, instead of being the idiot that has to justify why he felt Jeter (or Maddux) wasn’t “worthy” of my vote.

  21. drewsylvania - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    It might happen, in part due to a total disconnect about his defense and the broadcasters who simply. cannot. stay. off. his. johnson.

    Having said that, he’s one of the most famous players in history, so if you’re going by a combination of fame and performance, he deserves the unanimous vote.

    • bozosforall - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:19 AM

      The bigger joke is Jim Rice getting in on the sympathy vote.

  22. DJ MC - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    I just want to mention that Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck is ineligable to vote thanks to the rules set down by the paper. So let’s leave him out of this, ok?

    • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      Which is kind of a shame, since Peter Schmuck would strengthen the electorate.

  23. aceshigh11 - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    I believe that Tom Seaver received the highest % of votes in the HoF’s history (98.8%).

    I mean…to think that NO ONE has ever been unanimously inducted is amazing. Who the hell WOULDN’T vote for Willie Mays or Ted Williams or Babe Ruth??

    That’s just pure lunacy to me.

    • ikedavisnose - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      You are right, Seaver does have the highest percentage of votes. But talking about Seaver why is he the one with the highest percentage, is it b/c he played on all those bad Mets for all those years and they know that if he was on a better team he may have had 400 wins or was he just very friendly with the mediaduring his career.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      A racist would not vote for Willie Mays.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        I wish the ballots were public so that we could see who did not vote for Mays and Aaron, who were inducted 3 years apart. I’m guessing it’s the same people

      • bozosforall - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:18 AM

        It was the voters from New England, the most racist region in America.

  24. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    In is in. The rest is noise.

    • foreverchipper10 - Jul 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      That’s what she said.

  25. thatyankeedude - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    What really is the argument against him?

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