The 2020 Hall of Fame announcement just took place and to the surprise of no one, Derek Jeter headlines the class. He is joined by outfielder Larry Walker. They were the only two players that got enough votes to earn enshrinement this summer.

Derek Jeter is clearly a hall of famer. He’s not the greatest player ever, even if he was voted on as if he belongs in the class of those who are – but he’s a hall of famer and him getting in is not an issue at all. One voter out of the 397 voters declined to vote for Jeter. We don’t know who that non-vote was from at this point. What we do know is that Jeter received a higher percentage of votes than anyone not named Mariano Rivera, ever.

We also know that Derek Jeter was a heck of a ballplayer. He spent 20 years playing in the Major Leagues from 1995-2014 and every single game came with the New York Yankees. He led the league in plate appearances five times, runs once, and hits twice. His career line ended at .310/.377/.440. He hit over .320 seven times in his career, with a best .349 mark in the 1999 season. Along the way he collected 3465 hits – including 544 doubles, 66 triples, and 260 home runs. He also walked 1082 times in his career. He was the rookie of the year, a 14-time All-Star, a 5-time World Series winner, and regardless of how everyone seems to feel about his defense, was voted on as a 5-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop. Now The Captain can put Baseball Hall of Famer on his resume.

Larry Walker. This was a close one. Walker was in his final year of eligibility. The publicly available votes had him above the 75% mark, but not by a lot. And the private votes have the tendency to bring totals down. It was going to be close for Walker, and it was. He got six more votes than he needed to and now gets to stand alongside the all-time greats in Cooperstown.

From 1989-2005, Larry Walker hit .313/.400/.565. Over his 17 year career he led the league in doubles once, and in home runs once. From 1998-2001 he led the league in average three times, including a career best .379 mark in 1999. Walker also led the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 1997 and 1999. In an 8-year span from 1997-2004 he hit an absurd .340/.437/.621 over 1000 games.

The work done against Walker’s case was that he benefited from Coors Field. And, well yes, of course he did. To argue otherwise would be insane. But we also know that outside of Coors Field he was a very, very good hitter. His last year before heading to Colorado he put up a .981 OPS for the Expos. His final two seasons of his career came with St. Louis where he posted a .908 OPS. Larry Walker was an elite level hitter, with or without Coors Field. He was also one of the better defenders at his position for a large part of his career. Walker would rack up seven Gold Gloves to go along with five All-Star selections. He also brought home the 1997 MVP Award.

Three former Cincinnati Reds were also on the ballot and all of them received votes. Scott Rolen continues his climb, getting 140 votes and 35.3% in his third year on the ballot. Paul Konerko played in 26 whole games as a Red back in 1998, and he got 10 votes – good for 2.5% of the vote. And then there’s Adam Dunn, who got a single vote on a ballot. To remain on the ballot moving forward a player must receive 5% of all votes, meaning that both Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko will no longer be on future ballots. You can see the entire ballot, and voting percentages here.

Looking forward to the 2021 ballot, there are a few former Reds that will be eligible for the first time. Aaron Harang, Jeremy Affeldt, Grant Balfour, Jason Marquis, Kevin Gregg, and Skip Schumaker will all be among the first timers.

16 Responses

  1. RedNat

    Just frustrating that we lost out to Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta this offseason for free agents. We are becoming the Bengals. Even on the rare occasions that we have extra money we can’t convince good players to come to cincinnati. We cant develop young players anymore so our future is kinda depressing .

    • Big Ed

      Jesse Winker’s career OPS is 61 points higher than Ozuna, and Winker’s career OPS+ is 120 to Ozuna’s 112. The Reds have the better hitter, although Winker no doubt needs to play all season. Winker is also 3 years younger than Ozuna, and will cost them more than $17 million less than Ozuna.

      The Reds didn’t “lose” the free agents; they simply agreed with 28 other teams that they were not worth what the alleged “winner” paid. There have been many dubious “winners” of free agency auctions. The Cubs “won” Jason Heyward; The Cardinals “won” Dexter Fowler; the Mariners “won” Robinson Cano; the Angels “won” Albert Pujols; the Yankees “won” Jacoby Ellsbury; the Red Sox “won” David Price and last year “won” Nathan Eovaldi; the Orioles “won” Chris Davis, big time. Usually, the highest bidder is wrong, and the other 29 teams are correct.

      The Reds will head toward the deadline with plenty of money to spend and much more information on some key prospects. The Cardinals and Cubs will not be in the position to take on a contract.

    • TR

      BK: I’m in complete agreement with your comment. Shogo Akiyama with time in centerfield and with ‘get on base’ ability along with Aquino, who given some time, will blossom into a real good right fielder. Winker, if injury-free, is one of the best natural hitters around. So far I call this off-season a success, other than a needed backup (Holt) at shortstop.

  2. Colorado Red

    While WAR is not an end all, Derick and Walkers where about the same.
    Derick is no Ken Griffey Jr, but he got a higher vote total.
    Yes, if Derick had played off of the coasts, he would still be in, but not nearly unanimous.

  3. centerfield

    I predict that in 5 years players will be launching twitter campaigns to get elected. Times change.

  4. CFD3000

    Congratulations to Larry Walker and Derek Jeter. I agree that Walker should have gone in sooner, and Jeter shouldn’t have been almost unanimous, and that Colorado (and Montreal) and New York are to blame, but both deserve their plaques. And a tip of the cap to whoever decided not to vote for Jeter, and instead throw a single bone to our man from Milwaukee Adam Dunn.

    Based on these results I do expect Rolen to eventually get in. And it does appear that, as in player evaluation in general, the tide is shifting away from counting stats and batting average toward more sophisticated rate states and on base percentage. That bodes well for Joey Votto in ten years or so.

    Meh on Ozuna by the way – Atlanta is a good outcome for the Reds.

    And finally, it’s nice to see some positive baseball news after this sign stealing garbage – no pun intended.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    I remember Walker completely dismantling the Reds over a weekend series I drove down to attend in the early 2000s. He was a beast.

  6. NorMichRed

    Really happy for Walker. I had the good fortune of being an original Rockies’ season ticket holder and seeing Larry play for a handful of years before relocating to the Upper Midwest and more regularly renewing acquaintances with the Reds. Walker was a true 5-tool player, and his home/road splits clearly showed he was more than a Coors Field phenomenon. (By stark contrast, Exhibit A=Trevor Story.) One of the great defensive OF’s I’ve ever had the privilege of watching…and tremendous base running skills and instincts for a big man. Plus that great irreverence and self-deprecating humor he showed at times as part of a great baseball personality. Glad he will be the first player to enter Cooperstown in a Rox jersey. Reds FO, let’s go find us one or more like him!

  7. LWblogger2

    No gripes here about Jeter and Walker being elected into the HoF. They were both very good to excellent during long careers. I’m a little surprised that Konerko didn’t garner more votes. While I don’t think he’s a HoF player, I could see some arguments for his enshrinement being valid. 6x All Star. 2 or 3 Top 10 finishes for MVP. Long career. Top 75 in HR and RBI, I think. Maybe in total bases too… 1B so numbers not exceptional enough for the HoF but 2.5% of the vote is less than I would have thought.

  8. Gonzo Reds

    Walker definitely deserved to get in sooner. I think he still would have made the HOF if he had been able to play his whole career as an Expo.

    Rolen was not always loved wherever he went, a bit rough around the edges, but think all Reds fans thought he was the glue that held our team together during his tenure and we started our downward spiral once he was injured and then gone. I’d love to see him get in as well as pick a Reds cap rather than a Phillies cap.

    I think Schilling belongs, he was a better pitcher than either Blyleven or Morris and they are in. Another one rough around the edges with the media which hurts his numbers but think he’ll eventually get in. No way Edgar Martinez should have gotten in. Can’t play the field? Can’t be in the HOF in my book! NL purest here, hate the DH rule!

    Of course, Bonds and Clemens were probably the two greatest I saw as I grew up. They both were HOF worthy even before the steroid years. 50% of players in that age likely used steroids, put these guys in… esp as we realize there are worse things you can do like the current cheating scandal.

    And finally… just put Pete in, as a player. His issue was as a manager and it didn’t even affect games since he bet on his own team to win, big deal! If he got a lifetime ban for that, Bregman, Altuve, Beltran, Cora etc… should be banned for TWO lifetimes!

    • LWblogger2

      I don’t think I can agree on Edgar. He was a crap 3B but probably could have at least a passable 1B. Didn’t play more 1B because there were other options and the M’s really wanted him to concentrate on hitting. He was never really given a chance to be a position player. His hitting was so good. He was definitely the best DH to ever play. He deserves his slot.

    • LWblogger2

      Oh and fully agree on Bonds and Clemens.

    • greenmtred

      I don’t find it so easy to conclude that sign-stealing is worse than steroid use. Both are attempts to gain unfair advantage.

      • LWblogger2

        I would agree but have to point out that although the performance enhancing drug use gave an unfair advantage to some players, so many players were involved that one has to wonder how much of an edge it provided, relative to the competition? Bonds and Clemens were the best I’d seen and sure looked like HoF players. I wonder how much the performance enhancements made them stand out versus other users.

        All the cheating is a stain on the game for sure. I love baseball but it’s getting harder to keep loving it.