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If This Is True… It’s A Terrible Look (Jeter and the 99% HOF Vote)

by Paul Semendinger

January 22, 2022

***

I am going to assume this is all true.

We finally may have figured out who left Derek Jeter off his Hall-of-Fame ballot and why.

And it wasn’t that he didn’t think Derek Jeter was a Hall of Famer.

It seems that this writer just didn’t read the ballot that came in the mail and he decided to take a stand (on what, I have to wonder) by sending in a blank ballot.

***

Some background:

Nick Canepa writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He is a member of the BBWAA and has a Hall of Fame vote.

On January 1, 2022, Nick Camepa wrote the following in the newspaper in a column titled Once again, this Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is empty.:

“…just as my 2020 Hall ballot for modern players went back empty, 2021’s had no names checked, either.”

And there it might be, the one guy who didn’t vote for Derek Jeter for the Hall of Fame. When Derek Jeter was eligible, it’s possible that Nick Canepa sent in a blank ballot. I’ll get to more on this in a moment, because if things are to be believed, this writer didn’t know that Jeter was in the Hall of Fame. And if he didn’t know he was in, then he also didn’t know that he had already been on the ballot. How would a writer not know who is on the ballot? That’s easy, by not reading it and sending it back – blank.

Is that what this writer did? If so, it’s a bad look.

But, again, blank ballot or not that year, if he didn’t know he’s in the Hall-of-Fame, then he didn’t know to vote for him. The conclusion then is that he did not.

In the article linked above, Canepa argues, “I don’t vote for any person/player I don’t believe deserves it.” Which is fair, but what he does not explain is why Derek Jeter didn’t get his vote or why he doesn’t deserve to get in.

I was determined to see who Mr. Canepa voted for in the past. This wasn’t easy to find. By using Ryan Thibs’ HOF Tracker, I was able to who Canepa voted for in only one election:

2015: Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, Alan Trammell

Interesting. These are all Hall of Famers (as is Jeter) but I don’t see an argument that one could make to say that Craig Biggio or Alan Trammell were better players (read, more deserving of Cooperstown) than Derek Jeter.

To boot:

WAR: Biggio (65.4), Trammell (70.7), Jeter (71.3)

Hall of Fame Monitor: Trammell (119), Biggio (169), Jeter (337)

Hall of Fame Standards: Trammell (40), Biggio (57), Jeter (67)

I could go on and on.

Hits: Trammel (2,365). Biggio (3,060), Jeter (3,465)

Batting Average: Biggio (.281), Trammell (.285), Jeter (.310)

Homers: Trammell (185), Jeter (260), Biggio (291)

RBI: Trammell (1,003), Biggio (1,175), Jeter (1,311)

All-Star Games: Trammell (6 times), Biggio (7 times), Jeter (14 times)

Gold Gloves: Biggio and Trammell (4), Jeter (5)

World Series: Biggio (0), Trammell (1), Jeter (5)

On and on and on…

Old stats. New stats.

Random stats.

There is no way, no way, to argue that Craig Biggio and Alan Trammell are Hall of Famers, but that Derek Jeter isn’t. Not if one wishes to be taken seriously.

So why didn’t this writer vote for Jeter?

***

Now this is the part that might be untrue, but the reports seem to indicate that it is likely that Mr. Camepa was the man who left Jeter off the ballot.

See the following three tweets here:

I emailed Nick Canepa to ask why he would submit a HOF vote for Lester but not someone like Jeter. via /r/baseball https://t.co/cz6688w6Uk — Hot on r/Baseball (@HOTrBaseball) January 16, 2022
pic.twitter.com/i1UKd4Smyk — Tweter Seidler (@PlanZ33) January 17, 2022
MLB Hall Of Fame Voter Nick Canepa, Who Hasn't Voted For Someone In 2 Years, Is Unaware Derek Jeter Is Already In The HoF https://t.co/nFHoQ4jDs6 pic.twitter.com/5TzymPrCpC — Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 17, 2022

And here is the thing.

Being a voter for something like the Baseball Hall of Fame is something that must be taken seriously. Very seriously.

We have debates about who belongs and why.

The conversations go on and on…

Should PEDs count against a player? How about other forms of cheating? Should a player’s public statements impact their eligibility? What about gambling? What does the “character clause” truly stand for?

We ask “Who is better than whom?” We dig over stats. We look closely.

We debate. We argue. Sometimes people even get mad.

Fans take this all very seriously.

As such, the writers entrusted to make the votes should as well.

It seems as though some don’t.

It seems as though one voter didn’t even know that Derek Jeter was already on the ballot or if he did, he sent in a blank ballot anyway…

***

The BBWAA needs to look into this. If they have writers (or a writer) who is unaware of who is on the ballot, or who doesn’t look at the ballot, or who sends in blank ballots with no explanation, that person’s ability to vote should be questioned.

If we debate and discuss the merits of the players who deserve (or don’t deserve) to be in the Hall-of-Fame, we should also expect that the writers who have this vote also take this seriously. The merits of the voters should also be looked into. Voting for the Hall of Fame is something the writers who vote should take very seriously.

If Nick Canepa was the person who didn’t vote for Derek Jeter, he changed history – he changed a person’s legacy. Forever. If he didn’t vote for Jeter because he felt he didn’t deserve to be in, that’s one thing, but if he didn’t vote for Jeter because he, as the writer, didn’t even know he was on it, that’s another.

And that’s a problem.

It indicates a huge problem with the system as it stands and puts into question much.

How many players lost MVP Awards, or Cy Young Awards, or Rookie of the Year Awards because of writers who didn’t know enough (or anything) about what they were voting for?

For the integrity of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA, this should be looked into immediately. Mr. Canepa should explain his reasoning. The BBWAA should hold him to task.

If the BBWAA is going to hold the players up to lofty standards, shouldn’t they do the same for the voters?

It’s a fair question to ask.

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