Derek Jeter is the only sure thing on 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

The Post Office for the Village of Cooperstown is across the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — literally, maybe two dozen steps — and this particular Monday is a special day. 

The 2020 Hall of Fame ballots are being mailed from the 40 Main Street building today, sent out across the country to BBWAA writers who have the honor and responsibility of voting for the players who will make up the class of 2020. 

For those of us who are part of the electorate — this is my fourth vote — the confirmation emails went out Nov. 12. To be eligible to vote, BBWAA members have to be an active member for at least 10 consecutive years, with a 10-year grace period for writers no longer active. Previous voting members more than 10 years away from active status can apply for a vote based on their baseball coverage in the most recent season.

Here’s part of that email. 

Based on your qualifications, you have been approved to vote in the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame BBWAA election. 

Your 2020 ballot will be sent from Cooperstown on Monday, November 18 to the mailing address you provided through the voting registration process. You must complete, sign and return your ballot in the envelope provided. Your ballot must be postmarked no later than December 31 in order for your selections to be included in the 2020 results.

You will have the opportunity to vote for zero to 10 candidates. Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent or more of ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

It has always been, and always will be exciting to receive that email. So let’s take a look at the players on this year’s ballot, which was officially released at noon ET on Monday. 

We’ll start with the newcomers. 

Derek Jeter will be elected, without question, but he’s the only newbie likely to be a part of the class of 2020. 

After Jeter, guys like Bobby Abreu, Cliff Lee, Jason Giambi present interesting, but complicated cases. All are worth a few years of conversation, at least. From there, players who could receive a few votes but aren’t likely to meet the 5 percent minimum required to stay on the ballot: Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, Josh Beckett, Brian Roberts and Eric Chávez. 

Also on this year’s ballot, outstanding players who don’t have a realistic shot at winding up in Cooperstown but deserve mention: Heath Bell, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Raúl Ibañez, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz and José Valverde.

Here are the bios for all the new players  on the Baseball Hall of Fame website.

And now, a quick look at the holdovers. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are all in their eighth year on the ballot — each player gets 10, remember — and each received between 59.1 and 60.9 percent of last year’s vote. All three have Cooperstown-worthy numbers, but all three have likely been held back because of the vague character clause on the ballot. 

This is Larry Walker’s 10th year on the ballot, and he’s made great strides, up to 54.6 percent of last year’s vote. With the ballot-clearing of recent years — 11 players elected the past three years — Walker stands a legitimate chance of being elected this winter. 

And here are the other returning players, with their 2019 percentage of the vote and how many times they’ve been on the ballot: Omar Vizquel (42.8 percent, third year on the ballot), Manny Ramirez (22.8, fourth), Jeff Kent (18.1, seventh), Scott Rolen (17.2, third), Billy Wagner (16.7, fifth), Todd Helton (16.5, second), Gary Sheffield (13.6, sixth), Andy Pettitte (9.9, second), Sammy Sosa (8.5, eighth), Andruw Jones (7.5, third).

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