A grand slam! Derek Jeter was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, January 21, five years after he completed a 20-year career with the New York Yankees.
The former shortstop, 45, came within one vote of being a unanimous pick, appearing on 396 of 397 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Had he received one more vote, he would have become the second unanimous selection in history and joined his former teammate Mariano Rivera.
It is unclear which voter did not pick Jeter, whose 99.7 voting percentage put him above former MLB outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. (99.3 percent).
“I look at all the votes that I got,” the Miami Marlins CEO said on Tuesday. “It takes a lot of votes to get elected in the Hall of Fame. Trying to get that many people to agree on something is pretty difficult to do, so that’s not something that’s on my mind. I’m just extremely excited and honored to be elected.”
Larry Walker, who played for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals during his 17-year career, was also elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Jeter played for the Yankees all 20 of his seasons after being drafted in 1992 as a high school player out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He won five World Series and was named an All-Star 14 times. He served as the Yankees’ captain from 2003 through his retirement in 2014. His uniform number, 2, was retired in 2017.
“Every accolade that has been bestowed on Derek throughout his career has been earned and deserved,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement to MLB.com on Tuesday. “He was a captain and champion in every sense of the word, a man who embodied our traditions and expectations with an unmistakable grace and dignified resolve. Derek’s legacy as one of the most beloved and charitable players in the last quarter century cements his place in baseball history. As he is immortalized in Cooperstown this summer, we proudly reflect on the honor he brought the Yankees franchise, the New York community and the great game of baseball.”
Scroll down to see congratulatory messages from Alex Rodriguez, Joe Torre, Rivera and more.