Don Mattingly: 'I Don't Know' How Voter Could Leave Derek Jeter off HOF Ballot

Blake SchusterContributor IIIFebruary 8, 2020

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, left, shakes hands with manager Don Mattingly before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, May 3, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

It's been a few weeks since the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the results of this year's voting, and Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly is still trying to understand how Derek Jeter wasn't unanimously accepted to Cooperstown. 

"From my viewpoint, it doesn't really matter," Mattingly told the Associated Press. "But I'm thinking to myself, I don't know how you could look at anything in his career and say it's not Hall of Fame. So I'll leave it at that."

Jeter missed out on becoming the second-ever unanimous selection by just one vote out of 397. The voter who left him off the ballot has decided not to reveal themself. Former Yankees star Mariano Rivera remains the only player to every receive 100 percent of the vote. 

It'd be a bit awkward if Mattingly disagreed considering Jeter is now the CEO of the Marlins. 

Making sure to avoid upsetting your boss before the season even begins is as no-brainer a move as the manager will make all year.

But Mattingly also has a bit more firsthand experience. The two played together during Jeter's first stint in the majors in 1995 and were reunited for a few years in New York when Mattingly returned to coach from 2004-07. 

The two also know what it's like to become captain of the Yankees. While the other professional sports franchises in New York have stars who come and go, leading the Yankees remains one of the most vaunted titles in the city—if not baseball at large. 

Again, no one is denying Jeter's credentials as a Hall of Famer. The former shortstop slashed .310/.377/.440 with 3,465 hits and 260 home runs. That's about as unimpeachable as it gets. Yet it seems the voters for the Hall of Fame have begun to use unanimous selections as a new form of gatekeeping.

While Rivera earned the honor, plenty of other recent inductees somehow missed out despite their storied carriers warranting unanimous selection. Ken Griffey Jr. didn't receive 100 percent of the vote. Neither did Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Cal Ripken Jr., Hank Aaron or Tony Gwynn.

At least Jeter can take solace in being mentioned alongside those other baseball legends for the rest of time. 

Mattingly, meanwhile, was on the ballot from 2001 to 2015 and never made it into the Hall. Add Jeter's anonymous ballot to the list of gripes he has with baseball's voters.