Derek Jeter and Larry Walker are the newest members of the MLB Hall of Fame. Jeter was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and received 396 of the total number of 397 votes. This was the highest mark by a player not named Mariano Rivera, as he finished with 99.7% of the vote. Walker, on the other hand, was not as sure-fire in his candidacy. In his final year on the ballot, Walker needed 75% of the vote to get on the ballot. He finished with 304 votes, which elevated him above the 75% threshold by six votes.
For many, Jeter is a household name. He was drafted sixth overall in the 1992 MLB draft. He then won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1996. Throughout his career he finished with 3465 hits, 1311 runs batted in, hit over 260 home runs, and a .310 career batting average. In addition, he was a 14-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner. To top it all off, Jeter won five World Series championships with the Yankees, with whom he spent his whole career. Many thought Jeter would get the shot at being the second unanimous selection into the HOF ever, but he fell short by just one vote.
Compared to Jeter’s legacy, Walker’s is still impressive but not as strong, all things considered. Walker spent his playing days mostly with the Montreal Expos and the Colorado Rockies. He finished his 17-year career with a .313 average, 2160 hits, and 1311 runs batted in. He won three batting titles and the 1997 National League MVP award. Jeter was a five-time all-star, three-time silver slugger, and a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner. Walker was in his final year of eligibility on the ballot and was able to bump his candidacy from 54% of ballots to 76.6% this year to finally get into the Hall of Fame.
Next year’s incoming class is very weak, as there is not a superstar player like Jeter. Look for big-name players such as Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens to possibly get into the HOF. Many people have not voted for these players in the past due to the use of PEDs. But with a soft class next year, it could open the door for these players to finally get into Cooperstown.