Derek Jeter Will Not Be First Unanimous MLB Hall of Fame Inductee

Rich StoweAnalyst IIIJuly 22, 2011

3,000 Hits and more does not mean 100% vote for HOF
3,000 Hits and more does not mean 100% vote for HOFJ. Meric/Getty Images

This afternoon, I read an article by Sam Borden from Sports Illustrated where he discusses the chance of Derek Jeter becoming the first ever unanimous Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.

Ignoring some of the statistical and factual errors in the article (Jeter has five championships, not four and Barry Larkin has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame yet), I understand what Mr. Borden was trying to get across.

Yes, Derek Jeter is the kind of player that appeals to everyone, and out of all the players on recent ballots, seems to have the best chance of being the first ever unanimous Hall of Fame inductee (Tom Seaver has the record of 98.84 percent, and Cal Ripken Jr. has the record for a position player of 98.53 percent).

There are several factors working against any player ever receiving 100 percent of the vote.  The first of which is the "no player gets in on the first ballot" mentality that sadly still exists within the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).  This is the mentality that made players such as Joe DiMaggio have to wait several years before being elected.

There's also the "I don't vote for anyone who played during the Steroid Era so I'm casting a blank ballot" mentality.  This is mainly the reason why a truly historic player like Rickey Henderson didn't get close to 100 percent of the vote and why a player like Roberto Alomar had to wait till his second ballot, and he still fell short as well.

While I do believe that Derek Jeter may challenge Ripken and Seaver's vote percentage records, no player will ever get 100 percent of the vote. 

There will always be some voter who doesn't vote for a player on their first ballot for whatever reason the voters use to justify not voting for a more-than-deserving player, and in the case of a player like Derek Jeter (a sure-fire, no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer) he'll get elected on the first ballot, missing a minimum of one vote and thus, falling just shy of 100 percent.

I also believe this is one of the biggest travesties in Hall of Fame voting.  The fact that players like Sandy Koufax, Rickey Henderson, Tom Seaver and others were not deemed "100 percent Hall of Famers" is a shame and the justification given by the voting members of the BBWAA of why a player didn't deserve their vote (at least in the case of no-doubt Hall of Famers) has always been nothing but a weak excuse for the voters trying to exert power and control over someone's life and career.