Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, it was announced today. The pair represent extremes in margin of election, as Jeter was one vote short of being unanimous, while Walker squeaked in with a six vote margin.
Similarly, the pair are at opposite ends of the eligibility spectrum — Jeter, the beatified former Yankee shortstop, was on the ballot for the first time, while Walker, who played for the Montreal Expos, the Colorado Rockies, and (after he vetoed a trade to Texas for Ian Kinsler and Erik Thompson) the St. Louis Cardinals, was in his tenth, and final, year of eligibility.
Each player is pretty clearly qualified for enshrinement bases on their career accomplishments, though it took a while for the writers to come around on Walker, who is kind of the new Bert Blyleven in that regard.
Among those who fell short, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez all have HOF cases but are falling short primarily due to character/PED/off-field issues, and Scott Rolen appears to be in the Larry Walker category of a qualified player whose skill set doesn’t lend itself to easily being recognized.
Jeter and Walker will be joined by Veterans Committee selection Ted Simmons in being enshrined this summer.