The first pitch for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 Induction Weekend came blazing across the plate Monday, Nov. 18.
Five-time World Series champion Derek Jeter heads a group of 18 new candidates, including a former Most Valuable Player, postseason MVPs and winners of Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot that is being mailed this week to more than 400 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Jeter, who for 19 of his 20 big league seasons was a teammate of 2019 Hall of Fame electee Mariano Rivera, will join 14 holdovers from the 2019 balloting in which Rivera, fellow pitchers Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina and designated hitter-infielder Edgar Martinez were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Additional newcomers to the ballot include Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Jason Giambi, Paul Konerko, Rafael Furcal, Bobby Abreu and Alfonso Soriano.
Candidates must be named on 75% of ballots cast by selected BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of MLB coverage to gain election. Along with the electees, the other players who were named on more than half of the ballots cast in last year’s election were pitchers Curt Schilling (60.9%) and Roger Clemens (59.5) and outfielders Barry Bonds (59.1) and Larry Walker (54.6).
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years provided they receive at least five% of the vote. Walker is on the ballot for the 10th and final time. Other holdovers from the 2019 ballot are pitchers Andy Pettitte and Billy Wagner, first baseman Todd Helton, second baseman Jeff Kent, third baseman Scott Rolen, shortstop Omar Vizquel and outfielders Andruw Jones, Manny Ramírez, Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa.
Jeter spent all 20 of his major-league seasons with the Yankees and finished with 3,465 hits, the sixth highest total in history. His other career rankings include seventh in at-bats (11,195), 11th in runs (1,923), 23rd in total bases (4,921), 29th in games (2,747) and 35th in doubles (544). Jeter never played a position other than shortstop in his 2,674 games in the field, which ranks second all-time at the position only to Vizquel. Jeter was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, finished second in the AL MVP voting in 2006 and third in both 1998 and 2009.
The 14-time All-Star was the MVP of the 2000 game at Atlanta, and later that year was also the World Series MVP. Jeter had eight 200-hit seasons, batted .300 12 times, scored 100 or more runs 13 times and won five Gold Glove Awards for fielding. He participated in 33 series and 158 games in postseason play, both records, and also holds postseason marks for at-bats (650), runs (111), hits (200), total bases (302), doubles (32) and triples (5). In essentially the equivalent of a full regular season, Jeter in postseason play batted .308 with 20 home runs, 61 runs batted in and 66 walks.
Lee was the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2008 with the Cleveland Indians and had four other top-10 finishes during a 13-season career that included stints with Philadelphia, Seattle and Texas. A four-time All-Star, the left-hander led his league in fewest walks per nine innings four times, strikeout-to-walk ratio three times, shutouts and winning%age twice each and victories, earned run average and complete games once apiece. Beckett was the MVP of the Florida Marlins’ 2003 World Series victory over the Yankees and also of the Boston Red Sox’ AL Championship Series triumph over the Indians. He pitched a no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers May 25, 2014 against the Phillies.
Giambi clouted 440 home runs and drove in 1,441 runs over a 20-season career with the Yankees, Indians, Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies in which he had league-leading totals in walks four times, on-base%age three times, slugging%age and doubles once each. The five-time All-Star was the AL MVP in 2000 with the A’s and as the runner-up the next year to Ichiro Suzuki. He ranks 32nd all-time in both walks and home runs. Konerko played all but two of his 18 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, including their World Series title season in 2005 when he was the MVP of the ALCS.
Furcal broke into the majors with a National League Rookie of the Year season in 2000 for the Atlanta Braves and later played for the Dodgers, Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he won a ring as the starting shortstop on the 2011 World Series champs. Abreu banged out 2,470 hits and stole 400 bases over 18 seasons with the Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Houston Astros and New York Mets. He played in more than 150 games in 13 consecutive seasons (1998-2010), and his 1,990 games in right field rank 11th on the all-time list. Soriano became the fourth member of the 40-homer/40-steal club in 2006 when he hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases for the Washington Nationals. He topped the majors in runs (128) and hits (209) in 2002 with the Yankees and was the 2004 All-Star Game MVP at Houston with the Rangers.
Rounding out the ballot are pitchers Heath Bell, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz and José Valverde; first basemen Adam Dunn and Carlos Peña; second baseman Brian Roberts; third baseman Eric Chávez; infielder Chone Figgins and outfielder Raúl Ibañez.
Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Results will be announced by Hall of Fame president Tim Mead at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, live on MLB Network.
The ballot: Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Barry Bonds, Eric Chávez, Roger Clemens, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Raúl Ibañez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, Andy Pettitte, J.J. Putz, Manny Ramírez, Brian Roberts, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa, José Valverde, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker.