Baseball Hall of Fame 2020: Legends welcome Derek Jeter to Cooperstown
Derek Jeter was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, stunningly missing out on the unanimous Hall of Fame election by one vote. Nonetheless, the stars waiting for him in Cooperstown are already welcoming him to their exclusive club.
“Derek Jeter is one of my favorite — if not my favorite — players since I’ve been out of the game. Not only was a he a great player, but he conducted himself as a consummate professional through his entire career. To do what he did in New York and to not have any controversy, he just did things the right way. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have him coming to the Hall of Fame. I never thought there was any question he would get there and on the first ballot. He’s a slam dunk. Being a part of that Core Four and that dynasty, they were one of the great teams in history. It was fun watching him play. I can’t imagine it won’t be unanimous. He deserves it.”
“He is what he is, he’s the guy who certainly is as recognizable as anybody that has played the game. Obviously accomplished a lot of great things, and deserves wholeheartedly to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and maybe a 100-percent guy.
“For a guy who played his whole career in New York it’s pretty impressive he did what he did on the field, but also largely kept himself out of the newspaper off the field, which is not an easy thing to do.
“Those of us who played up there and lived up there understand how that life can be, and how easy you can get sidetracked and get caught up in trouble but to his credit he never did that. He played the game the right way. He played hard, showed up every night and did his job and had so much success. It’s refreshing to see guys at that level, play for so long and play the game the right way night in and night out. It’s something you don’t see all the time and for a guy of his stature to do that, that’s a huge credit to him.”
“This was only a matter of time. I think he was a Hall of Famer the last three to five years of his career. Once he went by Lou Gehrig (as the all-time Yankees hits leader), and the World Championships and the Captain and all the leader of probably the team of the decade.
“I guess the competition would be (Tom) Brady. He is in that class up there with Brady. Brady has won six times and Derek has won five championships and that’s kind of what you measure the stuff on. The guy had a great career, played 157, 159, 158 and so forth and so on, so that is kind of what stood out to me the most.
“Great players seem to be able to will themselves to not get too sick to not play. I’m sure he came to the ballpark with a flu or a virus or a fever or a headache, or this and that but it had to be a broken bone for him not to play. So the respect you have for him as a guy who answered the bell, answered the post. How many did you post? And he posted in the regular season and October. So that is where you earn your respect, for me. He posted. No time off. Play every day. Let’s go, let’s go. And the same level of effort and the same contributions every day.”
“Derek, congratulations on being selected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame! It is well deserved, and I’m looking forward to this summer in Cooperstown when we will celebrate your incredible career.”
“Derek was so successful on a number of levels. The leadership he showed, even on a quiet front, he wasn’t the most vocal guy but he showed leadership by example. He was definitely the glue to those great teams of the ‘90s. So it’s going to be a befitting honor for him, no question.”
“I watched Derek’s first Major League home run in Cleveland, and not only did I think he was going to be a great player, but when you spoke to him, you knew he had a lot of class. His class has carried on to this day and I’m thrilled he’s joining the Hall of Fame.”
“I first met Derek in 1996, and he became our starting shortstop only after Tony Fernandez got injured. I thought, ‘Hopefully he’ll be OK.’ It turned out he was (AL) Rookie of the Year. It all started then, and he never quit!”
Cal Ripken Jr.:
“I am excited to see another shortstop entering the Hall of Fame, especially someone like Derek. He played on the biggest stage in the world and always seemed to rise to the occasion. Derek represented his team, the city and the game in such a great way. I enjoyed competing against him and getting to know him and looking forward to seeing him in Cooperstown in July.”
— Collected by Ken Davidoff, Kevin Kernan and Dan Martin
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