My 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

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FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2014, file photo, New York Yankees' Derek Jeter jumps after hitting the game-winning single against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game, in New York. Derek Jeter is among 18 newcomers on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, announced Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, and is likely to be an overwhelming choice to join former New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera in Cooperstown after the reliever last year became the first unanimous pick by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

It’s almost that time of the year to find out who will be immortalized in Cooperstown by being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller are already set to be inducted in July as they were voted in by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.  But who will join them off the regular ballot?  Here are the former big leaguers I would vote for if I had a ballot.

Derek Jeter

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Yankees Derek Jeter walks to the plate in the sixth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauer)

Much like Mariano Rivera last year, this one really needs no explanation.  The captain, Derek Jeter spent his entire 20-year career in the iconic Yankees pinstripes and became one of baseball’s greatest icons.  All the credentials are there, Jeter is a 14-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 5-time Silver Slugger winner, 2-time Hank Aaron award winner, and has 5 World Series rings, including in 2000 where Jeter was World Series MVP.  Along with that, he is a member of the 3,000-hit club.  Jeter has given baseball fans some incredible moments throughout the years and don’t be surprised if he joins his former teammate, Rivera, with a unanimous vote into the Hall.

Larry Walker

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File-This June 23, 2018, file photo shows retired Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker during picture day for the Rockies before a baseball game in Denver. Walker made a significant leap in Hall of Fame voting only to fall short in his ninth year on the ballot. The longtime player for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals finished with 54.6 percent. That was up more than 20 percent from a year ago. He thinks analytics may have boosted his case. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Walker enters his last year on the ballot and got a huge increase in votes last year, but has ways to go before he meets the 75% threshold.  It’s possible, as usually players on their last year get a major increase in votes.  I believe Walker has the credentials to be in the Hall of Fame.  He was the 1997 MVP along with being named to 5 All-Star games and winning 3 batting titles.  He got it done on both sides the ball as he won 3 silver sluggers and 7 gold gloves.  He finished with a career .313 batting average and a .400 on-base percentage.  Some voters have penalized Walker for playing in Coors Field, a hitter’s ballpark, which I think is totally unfair, especially since Walker played his first six seasons in the big leagues with the Expos in Montreal.  I do not believe a player should be penalized because of their home ballpark because at the end of the day, there are 81 games played on the road and 81 games played at home.

Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez hits during the second inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship baseball series against the Philadelphia Phillies Friday, Oct. 16, 2009, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The debate that comes up every year, should steroid users be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  By no means am I saying the use of performance enhancing drugs are okay, but I think these four former ballplayers should be in the Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame is a museum and museums are meant to exhibit history.  A big chunk of history is missing without the home run king and 7-time MVP Barry Bonds.  A big chunk of history is missing when the 7-time Cy Young award winner, Roger Clemens, is not in the Hall of Fame.  If not for World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, the Curse of the Bambino, would have lasted a little longer for the Red Sox.  Sammy Sosa, who with Mark McGuire, “saved” baseball with their single season home run record chase, is a big part of baseball history.  I think it is a huge mistake to leave out these four former players from the Hall of Fame.

These are the guys I would vote for, but obviously not all of them will reach the 75% of votes to be elected.  Jeter is a lock, no doubt about that.  I think Walker will just slightly miss it as I just don’t think he will be able to go from 54.6% to 75%, even with a last year boost.  I think Clemens and Bonds will get very close this year and be inducted in 2021, while Sosa and Ramirez will most likely never see Cooperstown.  Tune into MLB Network on January 21st to watch the live announcement.

 

Stats and research from https://www.baseball-reference.com/