COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - On the eve of Hall of Fame weekend, The Franchise went to bat for The Captain.
Mets legend Tom Seaver, who holds the highest vote percentage in Hall of Fame history, said he thinks Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter should be the first player to get 100 percent of the vote when he is eligible for the Hall with the Class of 2020.
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"Jeter should be the one," Seaver told MLB.com. "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. He's a class act all the way. A pro's pro, a gentleman's gentleman. If you're starting a franchise, who do want as your first pick? I'll take Jeter, thank you. And I'm sure I wouldn't get too many arguments."
Seaver received a record 98.84 percent of the vote (425 of 430) when he was elected in 1992.
Players are elected by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. It is a mystery why any voter would think Seaver was not a Hall of Famer, let alone five.
But Babe Ruth only got 95.13 percent. So it's hard to imagine Jeter receiving every single vote five years after he finishes his career at the end of this season.
(Asked by Newsday recently if he ever thinks about getting into Cooperstown, Jeter said, "Nope." There was a 100 percent certainty he would say that.)
Seaver's remarks were a topic of discussion Friday as fans and the Hall of Famers began to arrive in the tiny village of Cooperstown. A crowd of more than 50,000 is expected tomorrow when three players and three managers will be inducted as the Class of 2014.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre will be joined by fellow skippers Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.
Cox, whose greatest success came with the Atlanta Braves, will be enshrined with two of his former pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. They will be joined by former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas.
As visitors began to stream into the Hall, they were greeted by displays honoring the six inductees. Torre's was chock full of Yankees memorabilia.
Glavine was pictured in a Braves uniform, but his display also included the Mets jersey he wore when he won his 300th game in 2007.
The presence of Cox, Maddux and Glavine is already starting to draw a sizable contingent of Braves fans. Yankees fans are expected to jam the place, especially Sunday as the day-trippers arrive, although rain is in the forecast in advance of the expected 1:30 p.m. ceremony.
Sunday's crowd could be small compared with what will happen if Jeter makes it in 2020 (with Mariano Rivera a first-time eligible a year earlier.) But will Jeter really be a unanimous selection?
"That's up to the writers," Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith said. "I don't know if that policy is going to hold. The bottom line is making it here."
Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven was more blunt.
"Cal Ripken should have been," he said. "Tony Gwynn should have. Derek Jeter is one of those guys: How can you not vote for him? It's a shame."