On Tuesday night, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2020 induction class. Eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America submitted their ballots prior to New Year's Day and players who appeared on at least 75 percent of submitted ballots will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.
Here's how you can watch the Hall of Fame announcement.
2020 Baseball Hall of Fame announcement ceremony
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 21
TV channel: MLB Network
Live stream: MLB.com
Now here are six things to know heading into the 2020 Hall of Fame announcement.
1. Jeter is the only lock
There is only one mortal lock on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot: Derek Jeter. The iconic Yankees shortstop has appeared on every public ballot as of this writing and he stands a good chance to join longtime teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Famers in history. Even if he's not unanimous, Jeter figures to post one of the highest voting percentages ever.
Here are the five highest voting percentages in Hall of Fame voting history:
- Mariano Rivera: 100.0 percent
- Ken Griffey Jr.: 99.32 percent
- Tom Seaver: 98.84 percent
- Nolan Ryan: 98.79 percent
- Cal Ripken Jr.: 98.53 percent
Jeter was a 14-time All-Star who won five World Series rings and is sixth all-time with 3,465 career hits. He is currently part-owner of the Miami Marlins but will be inducted into Cooperstown for his accomplishments as a player, obviously.
2. Walker is in his final year of eligibility ...
... and he's on the bubble. This is Larry Walker's 10th and final year on the Hall of Fame ballot and he is currently polling at roughly 85 percent on public ballots. That's encouraging, but players generally see their voting percentage drop once non-public ballots are counted, so Walker will cut it close.
. Here are Walker's voting percentages in his first nine years of Hall of Fame eligibility:
- 2011: 20.3 percent
- 2012: 22.9 percent
- 2013: 21.6 percent
- 2014: 10.2 percent
- 2015: 11.8 percent
- 2016: 15.5 percent
- 2017: 21.9 percent
- 2018: 34.1 percent
- 2019: 54.6 percent
Walker made a huge jump from 2018 to 2019 and he needs to made another huge jump from 2019 to 2020 to get over the 75-percent threshold needed for induction. There is typically a bump in support in a player's final year on the ballot and that could be what puts Walker over the top. As it stands, it'll be close.
In parts of 17 big-league seasons Walker went to five All-Star Games and won an MVP. He amassed 72.7 WAR in his career, fifth most among outfielders in the last 50 years. Only Barry Bonds (162.4 WAR), Rickey Henderson (110.8 WAR), Ken Griffey Jr. (83.6 WAR), and Reggie Jackson (73.8 WAR) are ahead of him. (Mike Trout is at 72.5 WAR.)
3. Schilling is on the bubble as well
Walker and Curt Schilling are the most likely candidates to be voted into the Hall of Fame this year along with Jeter. Schilling received 60.9 percent of the vote last year, a career best, and the public ballots currently have him hovering around 79 percent. Once you factor in the usual non-public ballot decline in support, yeah, it's going to be very close.
Unlike Walker, this is not Schilling's final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. This is his eighth year of eligibility, so he will be on the ballot again next year, and again the year after that. He'll have two more chances to get in even if he misses this year. Given the upward trend in his support, it seems likely Schilling will be voted into Cooperstown before his 10 years on the ballot are up. He might not make it this year, but he will eventually.
4. Bonds and Clemens are likely to fall short again
All signs point to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, arguably the best hitter and pitcher of their generation, not receiving enough support to be voted into the Hall of Fame this year. Both men are in their eighth year on the ballot and they've been held back by performance-enhancing drug allegations.
As of this writing Bonds and Clemens are polling at just under 75 percent on public ballots. Non-public ballots have been particularly harsh on these two over the years, so it is a near certainty they will again fall short of Cooperstown. Here are their voting percentages over the years:
Bonds and Clemens have had similar voting percentages over the years -- isn't it weird someone would vote for Bonds but not Clemens, or vice versa? -- and their support has stagnated the last three years. Now that the ballot backlog isn't as severe as it has been the last few voting cycles, maybe they can get more than 60 percent this time around.
This year is the eighth year on the ballot for Bonds and Clemens, so they still have another two years of eligibility remaining. Given the current trend in their support, it is far from certain they will be voted into the Hall of Fame before their 10 years on the ballot are up despite being two of the greatest players to ever live.
5. Rolen's support is on the rise
Barring a massive (and unexpected) wave of support among non-public ballots, Scott Rolen will not be voted into the Hall of Fame this year. No player has gained more votes this year than Rolen, however. As of this writing he's already gained 47 votes among returning voters (i.e. voters who didn't vote for him last year but did this year).
After appearing on 10.2 percent of submitted ballots in 2018 and 17.2 percent in 2019, Rolen is currently polling at close to 50 percent, which is an enormous year-to-year increase. Even if he drops to 35-40 percent once the non-public ballots are counted, that's still an encouraging improvement. Rolen has seven more years on the ballot and he's trending toward induction.
Other notables gaining support among public ballots this voting cycle are Gary Sheffield (+40 votes), Billy Wagner (+32 votes), Todd Helton (+29 votes), Jeff Kent (+28 votes), and Andruw Jones. None have a voting percentage as high as Rolen though.
6. Miller and Simmons were already voted in
Groundbreaking union leader Marvin Miller and eight-time All-Star catcher Ted Simmons were. The Modern Era committee is one of four "eras" committees that meets every few years to vote on players who fell off the BBWAA ballot (like Simmons) and personnel not eligible for the BBWAA ballot (like Miller).
Miller passed away at age 95 in 2012 and will be inducted posthumously. He was instrumental in building and growing the MLB Players Association. Simmons slugged 248 home runs in his 21-year career and he is simply one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game. He will join Jeter and any other BBWAA selections at the induction ceremony in Cooperstown in July.