This will surely be a topic we revisit in the winter of 2019, but for now, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver believes that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter should be the first man to be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a great article on MLB.com, Seaver is quoted as saying as much:
"I've thought about it; Jeter should be the one," Seaver said. "What can you say he hasn't done? He has every credential imaginable -- great player, good citizen. He plays the game properly, respects the game and his predecessors. He's done it in the big city, for one team that wears a uniform of greatness. He has no marks against him. He has the numbers. And he wins.
Seaver also said "I can't see how he won't be."
Unfortunately, I'm going to respectfully disagree with one of baseball's greatest all-time pitchers. Let's leave aside whether or not Jeter should be unanimous, please, and instead focus on if he will be.
We've recently seen examples of Greg Maddux, Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken -- just to name three -- where it's pretty difficult to justify not voting for the guy, and yet more than a handful of voters has decided to not throw them a vote. I only mention those recent names because a lot of the current BBWAA voting body is the same as those voting bodies. Not that anything has changed much. Throughout history, we can talk about players like Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, etc. who didn't get 100 percent of the vote.
I bring this up because there will be at least one voter (I'll guess it's around 10) who neglect to vote for Jeter. Some will do it specifically because no one has ever been a unanimous selection. Others will do something like turn in empty ballots because of some stand against the so-called steroid era. Others, sadly, will probably do it for attention.
Not that this is a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. Jeter will get in on the first ballot and, to bottom line it, that's really the most important thing -- just as it was with all the names listed above. It's more a head-scratcher than anything else (seriously, justify not voting for Greg Maddux, please).
Seaver is the man with the highest voting percentage of all-time, with 98.84 percent of the vote in 1992. Following Seaver, the highest percentages are Nolan Ryan (98.79 in 1999), Ripken (98.53 in 2007), Ty Cobb (98.23 in 1936) and George Brett (98.23 in 1999). In this past election, Maddux got 97.2 percent of the vote. Yes, more than two percent of the BBWAA Hall of Fame voters left Maddux off their ballots. Sigh.
Anyway, I'm sure we'll continue to have discussions like this moving forward with several players, but it's probably best to resign ourselves to the notion that it's very likely no one will ever get 100 percent of the vote. In fact, I'd be surprised if anyone broke Seaver's record.