Yesterday, Mariano Rivera became the first player ever to be elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
His former New York Yankee teammate Derek Jeter, who headlines the 2020 class of potential inductees, may become the second next year.
Jeter, who racked up 3,465 hits and five World Series titles over the course of his career, will certainly get in the first ballot whether or not it ends up being unanimous.
First-timers joining Jeter on the ballot include Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Cliff Lee, Rafael Furcal, Eric Chavez, Josh Beckett, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, and Paul Konerko.
Of those players, perhaps Lee (2008 AL Cy Young, four-time All-Star, 2.52 ERA in 11 postseason starts) and Beckett (three-time All-Star, 7-3 with 3.07 ERA in 14 postseason games, 2003 World Series MVP) have the best HOF cases, but none of them are close to a slam dunk like Jeter.
That means controversial/borderline players who are already on the ballot like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, and Omar Vizquel could have a better shot at getting in next year than they normally would.
It will be the eighth year on the ballot for Clemens, Bonds, and Schilling, while Walker will have his 10th and last opportunity to get in by winning 75 percent of the vote.
“In their seventh year on the ballot, Clemens received 59.5 percent of the vote and Bonds received 59.1,” according to The Associated Press. “Last year, Clemens was at 57.3 percent and Bonds was at 56.4. In theory, there’s enough time to make up the remaining ground, but views on Bonds and Clemens appear pretty entrenched.”