Derek Jeter got into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but he may have to wait an extra year to take the Cooperstown stage due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Baseball Hall of Fame expects to make a decision on this year’s induction ceremony, scheduled for July 26, at some point during the first week of May, according to president Tim Mead. Considering that New York is the world’s epicenter for the coronavirus, with stay-at-home orders in effect until at least May 15, it seems unlikely the Hall would choose to proceed with the original date.
Last year’s ceremony for former Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera drew a crowd of 55,000 and with Jeter expected to surpass that number, a gathering of that size just doesn’t seem consistent with New York’s coronavirus policy, even looking ahead three months from now.
So then what? The induction ceremony could be postponed until later in the year, say September, or pushed all the way to the following July, which currently shapes up to be a potentially thin Class of 2021 and would benefit from Jeter headlining the show.
The controversial Curt Schilling, a political lightning rod, is the next closest to Cooperstown as he finished with 70 percent of the vote in this year’s balloting (75 percent is required for induction). After Schilling, it was Roger Clemens (61 percent), Barry Bonds (60.7) and Omar Vizquel (52.6).
As for the 2021 newcomers, the top of that list, by WAR, consists of Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Dan Haren and Barry Zito. No first-ballot inductees in that group, and aside from any committee selections, the stage stillwould mostly belong to Jeter and his fellow ’20 classmates, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller.