The ballots are in, and the Baseball Writers' Association of America voted Derek Jeter and Larry Walker into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Jeter got in with 99.7 percent of the vote, while Walker received 76.6 percent, just clearing the 75.0 percent threshold. Jeter was one vote shy of being a unanimous selection.
The modern era committee had previously voted players' union leader Marvin Miller and catcher Ted Simmons into the Hall of Fame in this year's class.
Jeter, 45, was always a lock to get in as a first-ballot selection. The career New York Yankees shortstop was a five-time champion, a 14-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2000 World Series MVP.
He finished his career as a .310 hitter with 3,465 hits, 260 homers, 1,311 RBI, 1,923 runs and 358 steals. He saved his best baseball for the postseason, however, when he was a .308 hitter with 200 hits, 20 homers, 61 RBI and 111 runs in 158 games.
He also provided some legendary moments, such as his famous flip to home plate in Game 3 of the 2001 American League Division Series:
There was little doubt Jeter would get in. The bigger questions this year revolved around Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Walker, 53, was in his final year of eligibility. He was a five-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, the 1997 National League MVP and a three-time batting title winner. He hit .313 for his career with 383 homers and 1,311 RBI.
But Walker earned just 54.6 percent of the vote last year, calling into question whether he would get a big enough bump to get in. The answer was yes.
Schilling, 53, presented his own fascinating case. His regular season numbers (216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3,116 strikeouts, six All-Star Game selections and zero Cy Young Awards) never seemed gaudy enough to get him into the Hall.
His postseason resume is superb, however, with three World Series titles, a co-World Series MVP in 2001 and fantastic statistics (11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 133.1 innings). Despite those numbers, however, Schilling hasn't garnered the votes to get into Cooperstown.
As for Bonds and Clemens, the only question regarding their Hall of Fame bids is whether voters would ignore their ties to steroids. Yet again, both were denied.
Bonds regularly denied using steroids, though it was reported in 2007 that he had tested positive for amphetamines in 2006. Additionally, investigators uncovered documents that implicated Bonds in a steroid regimen during the BALCO investigation, though Bonds denied using banned substances in front of a grand jury.
His on-field resume, however, speaks for itself. He's MLB's all-time leader in home runs (762) and walks (2,558) and was a 14-time All-Star, seven-time MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner and two-time batting title winner. His 2,227 runs are third all-time, and his 1,996 RBI rank sixth.
Like Bonds, Clemens denied taking steroids after being accused of using banned substances on multiple occasions. But his on-field resume is superb. He is a two-time champion, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and the 1986 AL MVP. He ranks ninth in career wins (354) and third in strikeouts (4,672).
On merit alone, Bonds and Clemens would have been first-ballot selections. It's the steroid debate that keeps them out.