They will tell you that football in this country is king, but yet I never hear any debates about the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has been around longer and the voting process is far more transparent. So transparent that most writers now make their voting public, so we can make educated guesses as to who will be elected.
Derek Jeter fell one vote short of being a unanimous selection, one year after Mariano Rivera was the unanimous choice. I still can’t believe that there was ever going to be a unanimous choice because I thought there would be that one lone writer who was going to claim there should be no unanimous choice.
Derek Jeter is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, without a doubt. He got 99.7% of the vote, but let us look at baseball legends of the past and how they fared on the first ballot. 9 voters didn’t vote for Hank Aaron on his first ballot. 11 writers didn’t vote for Babe Ruth on the first ballot. 23 didn’t vote for Willie Mays on the first ballot. 31 writers didn’t vote for Roberto Clemente in a special election after he died as a hero! When we look at voting percentages, these legends far well short of Derek Jeter. I’m not justifying that Jeter wasn’t a unanimous choice, but showing you that baseball writers back in the day were even more unreasonable in voting for the Hall of Fame.