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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. jevans77573 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    So does the known steroid users such as Bonds and Mcquire still make the HOF?? Also, Clemons and A-Rod, known HGH users, do they make it in?

    • pinkfloydprism - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      Chris, Lance, or Verne Clemons?

      Maybe Chris, because he starting in 1997…but he is not HOF worthy as he pitched in 5 games.

      Lance? He played in the 70’s – but still…not enough games (19).

      So you must mean Verne? He played in the early 1900’s. But his slugging was .360 for his career…no roids there, or HOF.

      • pinkfloydprism - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        Please add an edit function… That should say started.

  2. thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Can I make the argument that not only is Jeter not a first ballot HOFer, but not even a HOF-worthy player? WOWY shows that he records outs on balls in plays at a rate SEVEN standard deviations lower than the average SS. His defense is not just poor, it is historically bad. Jeter’s sample size is plenty large that we can pretty much rule out the batted ball profile he faced is significantly different than other SS. Add his horrendous defense to a offense propped up on a rather empty BA, and you have a solid but unspecatular player.

    • aceshigh11 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM


      I’m a die-hard Red Sox fan, and I respect the hell out of Jeter.

      You’re going to be very lonely with this opinion.

      • bigleagues - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM

        I too am a red-blooded, died in the wool, Red Sox fan (nearly from birth) who has felt the pain inflicted by Jeter’s game as much as other opposing fan and even I wouldn’t hesitate in placing Jeter on the first ballot.

        There’s being a HOF voter with an agenda – and then there’s outright baseball heresy.

        Maddux is a no-brainer as well.

        If they aren’t gonna vote the small-Hall type players in unanimously on the first ballot, then doesn’t that – at least somewhat – invalidate the most cited argument for a small-Hall?

        That is . . . if a player is a future Hall of Famer, it should be self-evident without the need of an advanced statistical case needing to be made.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        Respect his longevity and ability to hit singles? Fine. I respect Johnny Damon for the same thing. I have no respect for Jeter not moving off SS when his defense is unprecedntedly awful. Subtract his singles with the bat from the ones he fails to record outs on with his glove. His jump throws look cool though …

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Live-ball players to play more than half their career at shortstop who have a higher wRC+ than Derek Jeter: A-Rod (drops off the list next year), Nomar (had about half the career of Jeter), Hanley Ramirez (hasn’t hit his career downslope yet). That’s it. But yeah, all Jeter did was hit singles and play a long time.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Also… value is value. That Jeter derived it while being spectacular at hitting singles (and baserunning, another thing you ignored) and average at other things doesn’t change the fact that he generated that value. The man’s about to pass Arky Vaughan for first all-time in batting runs among primary shortstops (again, once A-Rod drops off that list). You don’t do that by just playing a long time and hitting singles.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        I didn’t say that is all he has done. But he is terribly overrated for these things. I’m not sure you want to focus on how his bat performs relative to other SS, because there is no way in hell it measures SEVEN std dev above the mean (and that sure is nice being able to exclude ARod from those lists, considering the circumstances for his shift). Yes, you are right, value is value. But don’t forget that negative value is negative value. All balls in play that turn into hits where a normal shortstop wouldve made an out should be subtracted from Jeter’s hit total. This exercise turns Jeter into a clear HOFer (based on his bat according to peers at his position) to an above average player.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        WOWY is just one measure of defensive performance. I find it very interesting though that you go straight to the one that paints him in the worst light and just assume that the other main metrics are all horribly biased on Jeter. Because as much as I respect Tom Tango’s analytic chops, I’m not going to ignore the industry consensus just because he says so.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Re: Kevin S. @ 1:30
        I use WOWY here not because it paints the worst picture but because of Jeter’s longevity WOWY is able to filter out more noise than the other metrics, giving a clearer picture. I am not a blind follower of Tango, nor should I be a blind follower of industry consensus.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        What explanation do you have for WOWY being wrong in this case? And even if it is a bit too harsh, five std dev is still disasterous.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        I’m curious as to why you think WOWY filters out noise long-term better than UZR, DRS, FRAA or TZ do. Also, standard deviation isn’t a good measure to use for components of value, since we tend to consider absolute career value and a standard deviation in hitting, fielding and baserunning will have a different absolute value. Specifically, since there’s a greater spread in offensive performance than defensive performance, a player who was (for example) seven standard deviations better than his position offensively and seven standard deviations worse than his position defensively will likely have been an above-average player, even though framing the way I just did would lead one to believe he was in fact just average.

      • bigleagues - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        thereisaparty . . .

        I LOVE the stats, the advanced metrics, all of the newest ways of analyzing player contributions, etc . . . I use them all the time to support my argument or refute another.

        But this is where I have to admit that I’m full and push myself away from the stats buffet and ask the question . . . does what actually happened in the course of a game – on the field and not necessarily reflected in the scorebook – matter to you?

        No matter how much you love or loathe Jeter . . . or even if you are kind of neutral . . . it must be conceded that it is very difficult to sufficiently explain Jeter’s impact on a game, season or playoff series simply by using the statistics.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      offense propped up on a rather empty BA, and you have a solid but unspecatular player.

      I was up with you until this part. He has a career .382OBP against a .318 BA (9.95% walk rate), that’s not empty. His SLG is the exact same as Cal Ripkin Jrs and better than Larkins. Overall he has a 117 OPS+.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        It’s Ripken. Not Ripkin. I hate that.

        Aren’t you one of the few Oriole fans around here? Geez.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        Furthermore, I’d put his ’99 season as best player on that team. A .349/.438/.552 triple slash for a 153 OPS+ out of the leadoff spot (7.8 rWAR, 2.7 higher than #2 Bernie Williams). The year prior, ’98, he was also tops in rWAR with a 7.3 (next was O’neill at 5.5) when he hit .324/.384/.481 for a 127 OPS+.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        No, I’m a Yanks fan, and sorry for the misspelling.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Jeter’s ’99 at the plate was indeed fantastic. His ISO that year was 70pts higher than his career average, so his BA wasnt fueled as heavily by singles that season. However, I am arguing that WAR cannot be used to measure Jeter since rWAR and fWAR use defensive inputs that have Jeter as poor, not abyssmal.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        However, I am arguing that WAR cannot be used to measure Jeter since rWAR and fWAR use defensive inputs that have Jeter as poor, not abyssmal.

        You are arguing that we can’t use metrics that disprove your theory? Well I love your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter…

    • number42is1 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      You’re….an idiot!

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Spectacular analysis and use of ellipsis

    • dinkydow - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Have you ever watched him play? If statistics were always true, going to strip clubs will make you middle aged and bald. His peers, his opponents and those who play and have played with him, older players, coaches and managers who have watched him play all feel he’s a HOFer and I think they know a little more about baseball than you do.

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        Watch him play? I read the binary code my computer simulations produce. Is this what you are referring to?

      • dinkydow - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        Yuck, yuck. Let me guess. You’re from the mid west, Chicago maybe, farther west?. Possibly a Cubs or KC fan (my condolences if I’m right). Let me ask, do you enjoy baseball or the statistics more? Are you the guy we see on TV texting on your phone instead of watching the game?

      • thereisaparty - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        Not one of those guesses is correct. Great assumptions though.

      • dinkydow - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        You’re lying. I think I nailed it.

      • jon623 - Jul 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        ^I love how he never replied. Good work.

      • dinkydow - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:39 PM

        Yeah. Me too.

    • italkball - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:06 AM

      Jeter is a good offensive ball-player. He had hit over .300 in his career so far and has dominated at the plate during postseason play. Defensively he has dropped off somewhat due to his age and loss of mobility but come on. He is in my top 3 for MLB shortstops next to Cal Ripken Jr. and Honus Wagner. He is part of the 3,000 hit club and possibly the most clutch player to ever put his cleats in the dirt. “The Captain” has earned his spot in Cooperstown. Unanimous? Doubtful, because everyone had their opinion and not all believe as I or others do about him as a player. However, success is measured by championships, and he has certainly led the Yankees to plenty of them.

  3. adenzeno - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    The sportswrites who failed to give Mays, Aaron,Bench,Brett 100% of the HOF vote are the same ones who complained about the All Star game voting..I dont think their(writers) judgement is any better than the avg man/woman on the street

  4. davidpom50 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I find it funny that this is framed as a debate about Jeter. I wonder if 4 years after he retires, we’ll forgot that he’s about to go on the ballot and wonder if some other great but still active player (Pujols, perhaps?) will be the first unanimous choice.

    My point is this: As great as Jeter has been, I can’t think of a better chance for a unanimous selection than Maddux. Untouched by scandal, eminently liked, and on the short list of the greatest pitchers of all time.

    • jimbo75025 - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      ……..and did all (or most) of it facing guys who were roided out.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      I can think of 20 players, including Maddux and Jeter, who should (or should have) gone in unanimously. Anyone who didn’t vote for a guy like Maddux or Jeter shouldn’t have a ballot.

      This bothers me far more than the people who send a single vote for a mediocre player.

      • davidpom50 - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        That sounds like a fun exercise…. 20 unanimous players. I’ll start us off with an obvious one:

        Babe Ruth


      • 18thstreet - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        Start with the people who got 85 percent and tell me what the case against is.

        I think Nolan Ryan was tremendously overrated, but I don’t understand how anyone voted against him.

  5. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Officially, this comment is the beginning of the “HBT Commenters for Giving Craig Calcaterra a HoF Vote” Movement.

    Let’s get Craigy a vote.

  6. flyerscup2010 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    babe ruth only got in with 95% of the vote…and he’s BABE RUTH.the hall of fame voters are and always have been and therefore always will be absolute clowns.

    • largebill - Jul 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      While I firmly believe Ruth was the best player to ever play the game, it is silly to point at the tiny percentage that didn’t vote for him, Cobb and the other 3 elected on the first ballot. That first election included everybody who ever played the game and there wasn’t the same access to statistical information that we have today. Considering that situation, I think the early voters did remarkably well. Most of the odd selections came later from the veterans committee.

      • flyerscup2010 - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        I mean I could still point to Jackie Robinson or Reggie Jackson or Hank Aaron, or I could point to Roger Maris not being in the Hall, or Richie Ashburn only getting in from the Veterans Committee after 30 years passed, so my point still stands I think. I will say on Babe Ruth that the dude was the unquestioned best player in history by far when he retired, so it still seems asinine to me that he wasn’t unanimous, despite it being a loaded ballot since it was the first ballot. And all of this points to there never being a unanimous inductee because there will always be one clown voter who needs to make sure no one is ever unanimous because they need to play god and decide that no one should be unanimous.

  7. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    As a die hard, lifelong Rays fan and Yankees hater, I can say without hesitation that anyone who doesn’t vote Jeter first ballot should have their vote revoked as well as any credibility they may have once possessed.

    • indaburg - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      I’m a Rays fan too, and I agree with you.

      I am curious about one thing–“lifelong Rays fan”? How old are you?

      • flyerscup2010 - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        They speak so eloquently for a potential 14 year old

  8. jimeejohnson - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    A schmuck is more than an idiot. A schmuck is a f*cking demented idiot, the most narrow of minds, and a propensity to have his head up his ass. Think Glenn mental midget Beck or Rush fat slob Limbaugh, or somebody who thinks Jeter does not deserve to be a first ballot, unanimous Hall of Famer. Let’s go Mets!

    • spellingcops - Jul 18, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      Great job bringing politics into the discussion. You just earned yourself the douche of the day award.

      • flyerscup2010 - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        I was more offended by the “Let’s go Mets!” part than I was by him calling a spade a spade, but I would like to say that hall of fame voters might be on par with the two chaps he mentioned as far as schmuckiness goes.

  9. natinals10 - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    It should be noted Jeter has more hits at his current age then Pete Rose did. I can’t believe a few idiots here don’t think he is first ballot worthy

  10. gloccamorra - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    There’s a third category of schmuck: the one who won’t for ANYONE on their first year of eligibility. There was one of those in Boston in the ’60s and ’70s who didn’t vote for Ted Williams or Frank Robinson their first time up, and never got another chance.

  11. hushbrother - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    The question is, will Peter Schmuck vote for him?

  12. jaypace - Jul 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    problem with baseball now, too many dorks with computers trying to tell me what a great ball players is. To mimimize Jeter’s career to singles and terrible defense is laughable. I mean nevermind the clutch hits in the playoffs. I mean these computer guys will have you believe hitting .313 for your career is easy. I really don’t want to argue this any further but he has had a remarkable career, that is all.

    • A.J. - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Who are these mythical computer dorks? Such a ridiculous straw man. Guess what, no “computer dork” with any kind of respect in the “dork” community thinks Jeter isn’t a Hall of Famer.

      They also all agree that at this point his defense sucks and he isn’t as good as he was, because he’s old, as tends to happen to old players. Thinking he’s not a perennial All-Star starter at age 38 and thinking he isn’t a HOFer are not the same thing.

  13. brandondmorrow - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Literally had a former big leaguer (not a HOF candidate so no bias) tell me it’s not just a random idiot that keeps players from going in unanimously. Because Ruth, Cobb, Mayes and so many others didn’t, they actually conspire to make sure no one does. I’m sure not all writers are in on it but there’s enough that they rotate it to keep it from being too obvious. And so the heat never gets too hot of course.

  14. chiefagc5675 - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Are all you negative jacka**es on disability or did you just not have time to get a job what with your obsession with jeter? He will go in to the Hall of Fame whether you guys want him there or not- bet 5 standard deviations or $10K on that- your choice.

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