Joba: Jeter, Not The Voter, Should Be The Story

Derek Jeter fell one vote shy of unanimous induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Zach Gelb
January 22, 2020 - 9:50 am
Derek Jeter Hall of Fame

USA Today Images


To the surprise of no one, Derek Jeter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday. To the annoyance of many, however, Jeter was not a unanimous selection. He received 396 of 397 votes.

Apparently for one voter, the five-time World Series champion wasn’t worthy of first-ballot status. 

Still, former Yankee and World Series champion Joba Chamberlain wants Jeter, not the voter, to be the story.

“Let’s not overshadow what just happened,” Chamberlain said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Two unbelievable players just got in. Let’s call it what it is: he’s the highest vote-getter [among] position players, taking over Griffey. I don’t want [one vote] to overshadow the fact that two gentlemen that are very deserving to get into the Hall of Fame just got in. It was fun to watch. Are we going to find out who that one voter was? Who knows? But I don’t want that to be a part of the conversation when we celebrate these guys who just got in.”

Jeter received 99.7 percent of the vote, while fellow inductee Larry Walker received 76.6 percent. Walker surpassed the 75 percent threshold by six votes.

Chamberlain played with Jeter from 2007 to 2013.

“I don’t know if there’s enough words, honestly,” Chamberlain said, when asked about that experience. “Coming into it as a 21-year-old kid and seeing him sit there, to not understand what you’re going to get yourself into with being in the clubhouse and trying to help the team win and then to see a guy like that, to be so welcoming and so open arms about anything and just always there for you – he was an unbelievable player, but he was even a better person than he was a teammate.”

Mariano Rivera is the only unanimous inductee in Cooperstown history. Chamberlain was proud to play with both Rivera and Jeter.

“Both of those guys, you would never know if Mo blew a save, and you would never know if Derek just blew the game or if he had a game-winning hit,” Chamberlain said. “They went about their business. They were guys you could lean on when you wanted to. Those were guys, where, it was a teaching lesson and you didn’t even really know it. They would come talk to you and it would just be a casual conversation, and then you would just kind of stop when they left, and you’re like, ‘Holy cow, I just got taken to school, and I didn’t even know it.’ I think that’s the biggest thing I take from both of those gentlemen: understanding how professional they were and how good they were for a long time. When they went to work, they went to work. It was a privilege and an honor to play alongside those guys and to call them teammates and friends.”