Sport Opinion: Who is rogue Hall of Fame voter? Derek Jeter doesn't care, so neither should we
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Momentum picked up steam in his second year on the ballot, but the jury is still out on Scott Rolen's Baseball Hall of Fame candidacy. © Chris Gardner, AP Scott Rolen won eight Gold Gloves at third base. In 2019, his voting percentage jumped from 10.2% to 17.2% – a significant increase that provides some promise with eight more years on the ballot. Rolen was a top-tier third baseman during his 17-year major league career that began in Philadelphia in 1996.From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.
Ok, so who’s going to step up and be the?
Who left Derek Jeter off their Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, making sure he didn’t join New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera as baseball’s only unanimous electees?
Jeter received 396 of the 397 votes, obtaining the highest voting percentage, 99.7, of any position player in election history.
Baseball Hall of Fame: Derek Jeter is a no-brainer, but will he be unanimous?
The only question about Derek Jeter getting into the Hall of Fame is whether he’ll be a unanimous choice or not.There’s a Baseball Hall of Fame election around the corner, coming Tuesday.
Still, it was not 100%. So, let the witch-hunt begin.
Yet, just as Jeter did throughout his 20-year major-league career, he deftly sidestepped the storm the anonymous voter created, refusing to let it tarnish his glorious moment.
“Well, I look at all the votes I got,’’ Jeter said. “Do you know how hard it is to get that many people to agree on anything? It takes a lot of votes to get elected into the Hall of Fame."
The fact that someone didn’t vote for him?
Sorry, let everyone else worry about it.
“That’s not something on my mind,’’ he said. “I’m just extremely excited and honored to be elected.’’
Still, the idea that someone purposely left Jeter off their ballot, or perhaps turned in a blank ballot, won’t suddenly be forgotten.
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He’ll be asked about it Wednesday at the Hall of Fame news conference. He’ll be asked about it in South Florida as the CEO of the Miami Marlins. He’ll be asked about it until the July 26 induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York.
Jeter won’t touch it. Not now. Not at the Hall of Fame. Not ever.
Ken Griffey Jr., who was three votes shy of being a unanimous selection in 2016, remembers the same furor during his election.
Sure, he would have loved to have been the first unanimous selection, but nowadays does anyone even remember?
“I don’t even think about it,’’ Griffey told USA TODAY Sports. “It doesn’t bother me. I just think it’s harder for voters to leave guys off nowadays because you have to reveal your ballot. So if you vote a little different, the scrutiny comes. It makes you more accountable.’’
Derek Jeter’s excellence redefined the Yankees
The legendary Yankees shortstop is an easy pick for Cooperstown.Heading into Tuesday the only question is whether Jeter will be inducted to Cooperstown by unanimous vote. Through Monday, Jeter was named on all 211 publicly-available Hall of Fame ballots, as tracked by Ryan Thibodaux and his cohorts. Jeter will clear the 75-percent threshold with almost as much ease as he displayed on the baseball field.
Still, while most active voters in the Baseball Writers' Association of America publicly reveal their votes, it’s not a requirement. So, the lone soldier may never be exposed.
Besides, by not being unanimous, Jeter can be just one of the guys in baseball’s greatest fraternity.
“He’s got 12 minutes to make a speech,’’ Griffey said, “and then we’ll start throwing stuff at him. We’ll treat him like a visiting player at Yankee Stadium, throwing batteries and apples at him. We’ll say, 'This is what it’s like playing at your house.’ "
Jeter, just like Griffey, was an icon of his sport. He epitomized class and grace on and off the field. He represented baseball as well as anyone who wore the uniform.
He played through baseball’s steroid era, the BALCO investigation that severely tarnished Barry Bonds’ career, and the Biogenesis scandal that resulted in 13 players being suspended, including teammate Alex Rodriguez.
Now, at a time the Houston Astros were caught cheating using electronic equipment, and with the Boston Red Sox under investigation, Jeter once again provides a shining light with his election.
Curt Schilling congratulates Hall of Famers, promises more on falling short again
Curt Schilling congratulates Hall of Famers, promises more on falling short againRather than sulk over his eighth straight year of missing the cut, Schilling took the high road, congratulating the two inductees announced on Tuesday, Derek Jeter and Larry Walker.
“Look, there are situations the sport has gone through throughout its history,’’ Jeter said, “and at times it can seem pretty ugly. I also understand people make mistakes and fortunately people have to pay for those mistakes.
“I think the game is going to move on obviously, and it’s going to be in a better place for it.’’
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'GRATEFUL AS CAN BE':
And if anyone is looking for a role model, look no further than Jeter, who played the game the way it was meant to be, overcoming early struggles to become one of the greatest shortstops in history.
He remembers being so overwhelmed after signing with the Yankees out of high school in 1992 that he sat on his hotel balcony every night and sobbed. He made 56 errors his first season in the minors, still a South Atlantic League record.
“Man, that first summer in ’92 in Tampa,’’ Jeter said, “I was just trying to make it to ’93. I thought I was completely overmatched and thinking I made a mistake signing a professional contract.
“To think of the Hall of Fame never crossed my mind.’’
Why, even with everyone telling him he was a slam-dunk, telling him years ago he better start preparing his speech, he refused to listen.
Derek Jeter blames ‘instant gratification’ on MLB’s decline in black players
African-American participation in baseball has declined over the decades, but Derek Jeter believes the kids are at least partly to blame. Sitting beside fellow Hall of Fame electee Larry Walker at their first press conference since being elected to the Hall of Fame, Jeter shared one reason for the rapid decline in black participation across the league since his 1995 arrival. “I think, you know, the younger generation — and let me finish before anyone judges me,” Jeter remarked. “I think you’re into instant gratification.”The Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop entered a league where approximately 16.
“Everyone kept saying it was a foregone conclusion,’’ Jeter said, “but I never looked at (it) this way. I tried to stay away from that conversation.
“I had a great relationship with Reggie [Jackson], and he would constantly remind (me) when I came to the park, 'You’re not a Hall of Famer yet.’ ’’
Well, now he joins Jackson, and will be part of perhaps the most celebrated induction ceremony in history, joining Canadian outfielder Larry Walker. Hall of Fame officials are anticipating record crowds, exceeding the 82,000 in 2007 that saw Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. feted.
“This means a little more to me,’’ Jeter said. “I grew up a Yankee fan. It’s the only organization I wanted to play for. I was fortunate to play 20 years in New York with a lot of thanks to the [George] Steinbrenner family.
“That’s one thing I always want to be remembered as: remembered as a Yankee.’’
What won’t be remembered is the unknown voter.
Jeter doesn’t care.
So why should we?
Follow USA TODAY Sports MLB columnist Bob Nightengale on.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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