Cooperstown is about to have some new residents. How many is still to be determined.
More than half of the vote cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America recorded by ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux, three players are currently projected to gain entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame – Derek Jeter, Curt Schilling and Canadian Larry Walker.
But there’s still a lot left up in the air. As of Tuesday afternoon, 48.1 per cent of the balloting remains private, meaning there could be sizable swings in either direction for any candidate on the bubble. Only Jeter’s induction is a sure thing (currently at 100 per cent), while 17 of the 22 eligible players have already been statistically eliminated according to Thibodeaux.
With another round of Baseball Hall of Fame voting set to come to a close, TSN.ca takes a statistical look at the careers of possible inductees and where things stand ahead of today’s reveal at 6 p.m. ET.
Derek Jeter (1995-2014)
There’s only one question when it comes to Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame induction – will he get in unanimously or not?
Going in with every vote isn’t as easy as it sounds. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron couldn’t even do it. The lone member of the 100 per cent club is Jeter’s long-time teammate Mariano Rivera, who managed the feat last year.
Jeter has checked pretty much every box possible. He was the 1996 Rookie of the Year, a 14-time All-Star, five-time World Series winner, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and a five-time Gold Glove winner.
He finished with 3,465 hits – with No. 3,000 coming as a home run off David Price – and is a career .310 hitter across 20 big-league seasons. His 158 postseason games with a slash line of .308/.374/.465 and a half-dozen ‘Jeter moments’ in October bode well for his case, too.
It’s simple. Jeter is a Hall of Famer by all measures. But so were Ruth, Aaron and Mays, et al, so we know there are no guarantees in Cooperstown.
Larry Walker (1989-2005)
This is it for Larry Walker as the Canadian is in his 10th and final year of voting eligibility.
As of Tuesday, Thibodeaux has Walker at 83.6 per cent, meaning he needs 65.7 per cent of the remaining vote on his side. It doesn’t sound like much considering what he already has, but Walker saw an 11.3 per cent drop from public to private ballots in 2019, finishing about five percentage points below the needed threshold of 75.
Walker’s pure hitting numbers are likely Hall of Fame worthy. He’s a career .313 hitter with 383 home runs and an OPS of .965. He was a five-time All-Star, the 1997 National League MVP and a three-time winner of the batting title. He could play the field, too, as the Maple Ridge, B.C., native took home seven Gold Glove Awards in his career.
On the other side, Walker’s home-road splits work against him, considering the belief that Coors Field – where he spent most of his career – benefits hitters. Walker hit .348 at home and .278 on the road, while his OPS was almost 200 points higher at home. Plus, the era he played in hasn’t been particularly kind to hitters’ careers after the fact.
Curt Schilling (1988-2007)
As of right now, Schilling’s public support stands at 78 per cent, meaning he needs 71.7 per cent of the remaining vote to swing his way according to Thibodeaux.
For his career, the right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts in 3261.0 innings.
He was a six-time All-Star, a three-time World Series winner and a World Series MVP for his performance with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
Schilling finished with 60.9 per cent of the ballot last year, seeing a drop of 8.9 percentage points from his public total.
Outside looking in
Mathematically, the only other players who have any sort of shot at the Hall are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Bonds is polling at 72 per cent while Clemens is close behind at 71, meaning they will need between 78 and 79 per cent to gain entry.
However, both players suffered the largest drops last year (11.6) between public and private ballots as the divide of how to perceive baseball’s steroid era continues to exist. Considering no player made up ground last year according to Thibodeaux, it’s a tall order.
The following players will be newly eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021:
Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Adam LaRoche, Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rios, Nick Swisher, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.
Buehrle (2000-2015): 214-160, 3.81 ERA, 5-time All-Star, 2005 World Series Champion
Hudson (1999-2015): 222-133, 3.49 ERA, 4-time All-Star, 2014 World Series Champion
Hunter (1997-2015): .277 Avg, .793 OPS, 353 HR, 1,391 RBI, 5-time All-Star, 9-time Gold Glove
*** To see the most up-to-date Hall of Fame tracking from Thibodeaux, click here.