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Derek Jeter and Co.: The 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

The Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2020 ballot on Monday, and one name should be surrounded by neon lights: Derek Jeter, the former Yankees captain, who might follow Mariano Rivera as the second unanimous inductee when results are revealed in January.

The other 17 newcomers on the ballot might have to wait awhile, and some will get no votes at all from the hundreds of baseball writers who cast ballots. But all had significant influence in their own way, even if their paths do not lead to Cooperstown.

Though he spent most of his career with the Phillies — nine years with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .928, better than Mike Schmidt — Abreu pulled off a neat trick late in his career: He played for the Yankees, the Mets, the Dodgers and the Angels. Only three others have played for all four current teams in the New York and Los Angeles markets: pitcher John Candelaria, infielder/catcher Bill Sudakis and the Hall of Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson.

Since baseball expanded the playoff field in 1995, Josh Beckett is the only pitcher to throw a shutout in a division series, a league championship series and a World Series. Two of his gems came for the Marlins in 2003 — against the Cubs in the N.L.C.S. and the Yankees in the World Series — and the other for the Red Sox in the 2007 division series opener against the Angels. Beckett tossed only six shutouts in his 14 regular seasons, but the last was a no-hitter for the Dodgers in 2014.

The last time the Padres finished with a winning record, Heath Bell saved more than half of their victories. That was in 2010, the second of his three seasons as an All-Star. For his last appearance in the All-Star Game, the next summer in Phoenix, Bell did his customary sprint to the mound from the bullpen — but just before he got there, he slid on the grass. Breathing heavily, with a grass stain and a small tear on his pants, Bell retired Jhonny Peralta on a pop-up. “I got to do something at the All-Star Game that nobody’s ever done before,” Bell said later. “I really wanted to have a good time.”

The Yankees’ dynasty hung in the balance before the decisive game of their 2000 division series in Oakland. They had won three of the last four World Series, but the young A’s were ascending. “They’ve won enough times,” Eric Chavez said of the Yankees in a news conference before Game 5. “It’s time for some other people to have some glory.” Chavez didn’t know it, but a live feed of his interview was playing on the Coliseum scoreboard while the Yankees took batting practice, and they noticed. The Yankees would score six times in the first inning and win, 7-5, with Chavez making the final out. “You can’t beat us with your mouth,” Derek Jeter said after the game. “You have to beat us on the field.” All was forgiven a decade later; the Yankees signed Chavez after the 2010 season, and he helped them win two division titles.

As an Oakland Athletics farmhand in 1994, Jason Giambi reported to spring training and found his locker next to Goose Gossage’s. It took weeks for Giambi to summon the courage to talk to Gossage, the salty veteran reliever, but soon they bonded over baseball history: 13 years earlier, when he was 10, Giambi had seen Gossage pitch for the Yankees in the World Series at Dodger Stadium. “He just thought it was kind of cool that a young kid knew about the game,” Giambi said. “With skateboarding and video games and everything, a lot of guys didn’t watch the game when they were kids. But back then, you lived the game.”

Giambi had an eventful career, to put it mildly. At the very end, when he was playing for Cleveland at 43 years old with a grizzled gray beard, he switched to No. 72 — the same number he wore for the A’s in that first spring training.

The Seattle Mariners drafted 35 players in 1992 before taking Raul Ibanez from Miami Dade College. He clawed his way to the majors — even playing catcher for a while — but was so lost in a crowd of sluggers that his manager at the time, Lou Piniella — though fluent in Spanish — called him “eye-BAN-ez” instead of “ee-BAHN-yez.” Three years in Kansas City established Ibanez as an everyday player, though, and he stayed in the majors through 2014. Ibanez now works in the Dodgers’ front office and would make an excellent manager if he ever wants that job; he is one of the most respected and genuine people in the game.

Paul Konerko hit a grand slam in the World Series and made the final putout to end a perfect game. He set the total bases record for the White Sox, who retired his No. 14 and built him a statue. Konerko was not fast and was not a great fielder, so Baseball Reference credits him with just 27.7 wins above replacement, fewer than Von Hayes, Martin Prado and Rondell White. But never mind that: His was an extraordinary career that inspired the Mets’ Pete Alonso, himself a right-handed, slugging first baseman. “The way that he was clutch and was such a great leader and did everything the right way — that’s someone who I wanted to be like,” Alonso said during the summer. “He had a fantastic career, and I think he’s a Hall of Famer.”

The same pitcher won the first regular-season and World Series games at Yankee Stadium — and it wasn’t even a Yankee. It was Cliff Lee, who beat C.C. Sabathia to open the park in April 2009 as a member of the Indians, then did it again that October as a member of the Phillies. Lee was a study in efficiency; he led the majors four times in fewest walks per nine innings, and on April 18, 2012, he issued no walks in 10 innings for the Phillies in a no-decision against the Giants. That is the only game since 2007 in which a pitcher has worked 10 innings, and Lee needed just 102 pitches to do it.

In Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, Carlos Pena saved baseball from a thorny problem. The Phillies were trying to close out Pena’s Tampa Bay Rays, and led by a run in the top of the sixth inning. The game was therefore official, but a driving rain had invaded Philadelphia and would not let up for days. At the time — in a monumental oversight — there was no rule that said postseason games must be played to their completion. Could the Phillies actually win the World Series in a rain-shortened clincher? Commissioner Bud Selig said he would not have allowed that, but, luckily, he never had to make the decision: With two outs, Pena singled home the tying run, and the game was mercifully suspended. The Phillies won two nights later in crisp, clear weather delivered to them by a rival.

The ring is nice, for sure, but Brad Penny also should have an M.V.P. trophy for his work in the 2003 World Series for the Marlins. Penny beat the Yankees in both of his starts, and the actual M.V.P., Josh Beckett, was 1-1. Penny even drove in two runs with a single in Game 5, providing the margin of victory to send the Marlins back to the Bronx with a three-games-to-two lead. Beckett twirled a shutout on short rest in Game 6, but Penny — a towering right-hander who would later start an All-Star Game for the Dodgers — deserved better.

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