The 2020 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced yesterday. Derek Jeter fell one vote shy of becoming the second player to be voted in unanimously and Larry Walker became the second Canadian-born player to earn a spot in Cooperstown. Jeter’s first-ballot election was expected. He was a tremendous player at a premier position for an iconic franchise that won a bunch of championships while he was playing. Jeter was no doubt a great player but I do find his legend status and the media fawning over his every action to be well over-the-top. By Jay Jaffe’s JAWS, Jeter was only a little bit above the level of the average Hall of Fame shortstop. JAWS isn’t the final say on these arguments, but it helps shed light on the fact that a lot of Jeter’s shine comes from having great teammates.

As for Larry Walker, I am really happy to see him get in. This was his final year on the ballot and while he was in my mind clearly deserving of the distinction, his eventual election was a toss-up even on election day. His being on the ballot so long seems to be a result of the voters holding his time playing in the thin air of Colorado against him. But wRC+, which controls for park and league factors, shows that during his time as a Rockie Walker was 47% better than league average. He was not merely a product of Coors Field. Speaking of the effect of home parks, an interesting thing to think about is how much better he might have been had he not started his career playing on the barely astroturfed cement of le Stade Olympique. Playing on artifical turf can impact players’ careers and Walker did struggle with leg injuries throughout his career, so it is reasonable to wonder how his early years in Montreal affected his career. In any case, congratulations to both of these excellent ball players.

While I did not submit an awards ballot for the IBWAA this year, I did fill out a Hall of Fame ballot. Here is who I voted for:

  1. Todd Helton
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Andruw Jones
  4. Manny Ramirez
  5. Scott Rolen
  6. Curt Schilling
  7. Gary Sheffield
  8. Sammy Sosa
  9. Larry Walker

The IBWAA voting process is slightly different than the BBWAA process. First, the IBWAA limit is 15 players, five more than the BBWAA. Second, members of the IBWAA may elect players in a year that the BBWAA fails to do so. Therefore the players on the IBWAA and BBWAA ballots can differ. For example, the IBWAA had previously elected Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens so they were not on the IBWAA ballot this year. Surprisingly, the IBWAA only elected Derek Jeter this year. The full results of the IBWAA vote will be posted here.

With those distinctions in mind, my BBWAA ballot would have been as follows:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Roger Clemens
  3. Todd Helton
  4. Derek Jeter
  5. Andruw Jones
  6. Manny Ramirez
  7. Scott Rolen
  8. Curt Schilling
  9. Sammy Sosa
  10. Larry Walker

Using spots for Bonds and Clemens and the 10-player limit of the BBWAA end up bumping Gary Sheffield off my ballot.