Election into the Baseball Hall of Fame is the sport's highest individual honor. Only 233 ballplayers are presently enshrined in Cooperstown's hallowed halls of the 19,960 men to ever don a major-league uniform.
Induction as a member of the New York Yankees, however, is another level of prestige.
This July, Derek Jeter joins an exclusive group of former Bronx Bombers to have a plaque in Cooperstown, forever etching his name into baseball history as one of the game's all-time greats.
Eligible members of the Baseball Writer's Association of America won't be filling out next year's Hall of Fame ballot for quite some time. Nonetheless, it's never too early to check which former Yankees will have their names on the HOF ballot...
Returning from the 2020 HOF ballot
Including Jeter, 11 of the 32 total players featured on the 2020 ballot had played for the Yankees at one point in their career.
Bobby Abreu, Eric Chavez, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts, Gary Sheffield and Alfonso Soriano each spent a portion of their legendary big-league careers in pinstripes.
Here's how those 10 stacked up in the BBWAA's final tally.
|Total Number of Votes (out of 397)||Vote Percentage||Years on Ballot|
The five names in bold -- Clemens, Sheffield, Jones, Pettitte and Abreu -- garnered a sufficient amount of votes on this year's ballot in order to stick around until next year's election.
For reference, the cutoff in order to receive the necessary 75-percent plateau was 298 votes. Clemens -- who has increased his total of votes by over 25 percent over the course of his tenure on the ballot -- finished with 242 votes. With two years remaining on his decade of eligibility, it's debatable whether or not the seven-time Cy Young Award winner is in striking distance or not.
Larry Walker, who joins Jeter as the only two players to be inducted from this year's ballot, received 76.6 percent of the vote, climbing up from just 54.6 percent one year prior.
For the right player, it's absolutely feasible to slowly gather more and more votes after years on the ballot. For example, someone like Abreu -- who narrowly collected more than the five percent necessary to remain on the ballot -- could potentially climb to the three-quarter mark several years down the line.
Abreu and Jeter were the lone first-ballot players to garner more than five percent of the vote, leaving 16 others off for good, wondering what could have been.
Former Yankees on the ballot for the first time in 2021
Here's who will make a Hall of Fame ballot appearance for the first time in 2021 that spent some time with the Bronx Bombers. Each of these players retired from the game in 2015:
- A.J. Burnett, SP (2009-2011 with Yankees)
(1999-2015): 164-157 record in 435 G (430 GS), 3.99 ERA, 2,731.1 IP, 2,513 SO, 1.325 WHIP
- LaTroy Hawkins, RP (2008)
(1995-2015): 75-94 record in 1,042 G, 127 saves, 4.31 ERA, 1,467.1 IP, 983 SO, 1.406 WHIP
- Rafael Soriano, RP (2011-2012)
(2002-2015): 24-28 record in 591 G, 207 saves, 2.89 ERA, 636.1 IP, 641 SO, 1.078 WHIP
- Nick Swisher, RF (2008-2012)
(2004-2015): 1527 G, .249 BA, 245 HR, 803 RBI
Of course, Yankees fans will remember A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher's contributions in pinstripes during the Bombers' World Series title season in 2009.
LaTroy Hawkins, who wore 11 different uniforms over his 21 year career, spent less than one season in the Bronx -- the right-hander appeared in 33 games with the Yanks in 2008 before being shipped to the Houston Astros in a trade-deadline deal.
Rafael Soriano filled in as the Yankees' full-time closer in 2012, saving an impressive 42 games while Mariano Rivera was sidelined with a right knee injury. Soriano's performance that year earned him a spot on the Yankees' 2010s All-Decade Team.
Swisher represented New York in the 2010 All-Star Game, the only Midsummer Classic appearance of his 12-year career.
There's no guarantee any of those four will be on the official BBWAA ballot in 2021 -- let alone receive any votes -- but five years after their retirement, it'll be nice for the baseball world to have an excuse to honor their careers.
After 2021, notable former Bronx Bombers will be featured on plenty of ballots for the rest of the decade. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are eligible for the first time in 2022, while Carlos Beltran will be permitted to receive votes the following year -- although, after his confirmed involvement in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, his legacy undoubtedly took a significant blow.
In 2025, CC Sabathia, Brian McCann, Ichiro Suzuki and Troy Tulowitzki will be on the ballot.
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