Derek Jeter, Larry Walker cement legacies with Hall of Fame selections


Keith Allison / Wiki Creative Commons

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter headlined the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees.

Derek Jeter, “The Captain,” has taken his rightful place alongside baseball’s legends in the Hall of Fame. Jeter will be joined by Larry Walker: the raw and powerful Canadian slugger. 

On Jan. 21, Jeter and Walker were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeter was the slam-dunk pick, after collecting more than 3,000 hits and winning five World Series in a stellar 20-year career. Meanwhile, Walker, a career .313 hitter, waited nine years to become the second Canadian-born player to be voted into Cooperstown. 

In order to be placed on the Hall of Fame ballot, players must be five years removed from MLB and have played in 10 or more MLB seasons, per USA Today. According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a player must receive 75% of the votes in order to receive admission into Cooperstown. 

Election into the Hall of Fame is granted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, an organization that is independent of the Hall of Fame. Members earn a Hall of Fame vote from the BBWAA by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat, per the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Some might argue that the Hall of Fame is a popularity contest. However, most voters take their responsibility very seriously. Countless hours of debating and research goes into ensuring that they pick the 10 best possible candidates for the Hall of Fame. 

Let’s also remember that BBWAA members are human and, therefore, are susceptible to making mistakes, or even holding grudges against a candidate, as is the case with Curt Schilling

Even the great Jeter didn’t receive all of the votes, receiving 396 out of 397 potential votes, per The New York Times

Now, back to Walker, a player recognized for his powerful bat and strong arm from the outfield. However, throughout his tenure on the ballot, many writers were skeptical of his offensive numbers. Walker played for 10 years at Coors Field, a hitter-friendly stadium because of the thin air in Denver. 

Not to mention, Walker had some bad luck: he was placed on the ballot at the same time as several superstars. 

Some players that overshadowed Walker during his tenure on the Hall of Fame ballot include Ken Griffey Jr., Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, Randy Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Craig Biggio, Chipper Jones, and Greg Maddux.

Walker was a worthy candidate but, compared to the players mentioned above, he was not the best choice available. Walker was only named an All-Star five times during his 17-year career, per Baseball Reference. Meanwhile, Griffey Jr. was a 13-time All-Star, Rodriguez a 14-time All-Star and Biggio a 7-time All-Star. 

Regardless, Walker will become the first Rockies’ alumnus to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeter, the kid from Kalamazoo, Mich., and the Yankees’ captain will be right beside him to commemorate their illustrious careers and cement their legacies in baseball immortality.