The Captain is on deck.
With Mariano Rivera officially elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame — the first ever to gain unanimous selection on the writers’ ballot — he won’t be lonely for long when it comes to Core Four representation in Cooperstown. Next year’s freshman class of candidates will be headlined by Derek Jeter.
“I hope definitely Derek will be there next year,” Rivera said Tuesday night in a conference call. “Andy [Pettitte] and Jorge [Posada], to me that would be the greatest moment of my life, knowing those guys would be there, too.”
The Yankees’ longtime shortstop and captain retired after the 2014 season, the year after Rivera’s pinstriped farewell tour, with a slash line of .310/.377/.440 in 2,747 career games. His 3,465 hits rank sixth all-time, and he posted a .308/.374/.465 slash line in 158 postseason contests.
Throw in the lack of connections between Jeter and performance-enhancing drugs, and he ranks as a bona fide slam dunk to gain first-year entry.
Jeter won’t face much stiff competition from his fellow 2014 graduates. Bobby Abreu, Jeter’s Yankees teammate from 2006-08, figures to get some love from the more sabermetric-inclined voters thanks to his .395 on-base percentage, yet he’s highly unlikely to make it all the way in his first shot.
Another former Yankee, Jason Giambi, will be harmed by his heavy connections to PEDs. Cliff Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner, probably didn’t register long enough a peak for election.
Other names of interest are former Yankees Eric Chavez and Alfonso Soriano, Yankee-killer Josh Beckett and beloved White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.
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