Derek Jeter deserved to join Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Fame inductees in MLB history. Instead, he was robbed by one single voter.
Derek Jeter robbed countless hitters of base hits during his time as a shortstop with the Yankees. The stellar infielder now knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a robbery. One single Hall of Fame voter prevented Jeter from joining his former teammate, Mariano Rivera, in baseball immortality.
Don’t expect Jeter to complain about the one voter who failed to give him the nod though. He’s much too classy to engage in such behavior. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t wronged though. The former Yankees captain is still going to Cooperstown, but he deserved to be the second unanimous inductee in the MLB Hall of Fame.
The record will show that Jeter only managed to garner 396 of the 397 votes possible to earn induction. That will allow him to join Larry Walker in this year’s class of Cooperstown inductees, but it’s not going to be the celebration Jeter deserved.
It’s fair to wonder what possessed the unidentified voter to leave Jeter off their respective ballot. Perhaps the voter in question didn’t want to see another unanimous selection so soon after Rivera broke that invisible barrier last year.
It’s also possible that anti-Yankees bias played a role in the decision. The team tends to be either loved or hated by fans and media members alike. Jeter was the face of baseball’s “evil empire” for the vast majority of his distinguished career. He was drafted by New York out of high school in 1992 and played his entire 20-year MLB career with the Yankees. His 14 All-Star appearances during that career accurately portray what a terrific player he was for such a long time.
The one realistic negative that can be lobbed at Jeter’s otherwise sterling career is just how long he insisted on staying the Yankees’ shortstop. He turned into a below average defender at the infield’s most important position late in his career. Perhaps that sense of pride or ego turned one voter off from the idea of bestowing another measure of immortality on Jeter.
Anyone asking themselves whether or not Jeter should have been a unanimous selection need only compare him to Rivera. The two players were both cogs of the Yankees dynasty during their primes. However, no one would claim that Rivera’s stardom outshone Jeter during that run. Rivera thoroughly deserved to be a unanimous Hall of Fame inductee after becoming the most dominant closer in baseball history. Jeter deserved to join him in that elite club because he was the most important player on the same teams that Rivera played on.