Everyone’s favorite time of year has come and gone, and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will be opening its doors to two more members come July’s induction ceremonies. Derek Jeter was inducted on his first try and came one vote short of a unanimous induction, while Larry Walker made it in on his tenth and final ballot.
Derek Jeter was Derek Jeter. There’s not much to write about him that hasn’t already been covered ad nauseum. 3,465 hits (good for sixth[!!!] all-time), five World Series rings, a series of defensive highlights that will be played on loop for eternity and the literal best-selling jersey in MLB history. There’s an MLB prospect whose first name is “Jeter” (and yes, he plays shortstop). He played twenty seasons in America’s biggest media market and was the focus of a cult of personality that bordered on the fetishistic. He punched his ticket for Cooperstown fifteen years ago, and all that’s left is the formality of an actual induction.
Larry Walker was an all-around legend who put up offensive numbers that stood out even in the turbo-powerful steroid era. Even park-adjusted stats love his work. His lengthy injury history and his time at Coors Field both hindered his candidacy, but voters eventually came around to the idea that his offense wasn’t just a mile-high mirage. Walker was excellent defensively as well and stole 230 bases during his fifteen-year career. He took home an MVP award in 1997 along with seven Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers. Thanks in no small part to a nerdy, internet-y grassroots campaign, Walker is finally (deservedly) in Cooperstown.
Jeter and Walker will be inducted alongside Players’ Union executive Marvin Miller and catcher Ted Simmons (both of whom are long overdue for Hall of Fame plaques). The ceremony will take place in Cooperstown on July 26.