Jack Etkin, Forbes.com: Walker Needs to Match Last Year's Leap to Enter HOF

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By Jack Etkin/Forbes.com

Former Rockies right fielder Larry Walker will need to duplicate the sizable voting leap he made a year ago if he is going to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his 10th and final year on the ballot of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The list of 32 candidates on the 2020 BBWAA ballot was announced Monday by the Hall of Fame. There are 18 first-time candidates. But of that group, only Derek Jeter is a first-ballot lock. And that will help Walker, along with the fact that four spots on the ballot have opened up as a result of Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina having received the necessary 75 percent of votes cast to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame in the last election.

BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of major league coverage are eligible to vote. More than 400 BBWAA members this week are being mailed ballots, which must be returned by Dec. 31. Results will be announced Jan. 21, 2020, on MLB network. Last year, a total of 428 ballots were distributed to eligible BBWAA members, and 425 ballots were returned.

Walker, who spent nearly 10 of his 17 seasons with the Rockies, received 54.6% of the votes cast last year, vaulting 20.5 percentage points from his vote total of 34.1% in 2018. That said, Walker must gain another 20.4 percentage points to become the first Rockies player elected to the Hall of Fame. Walker began his career with the Montreal Expos, signed with the Rockies as a free agent for the 1995 season, which began three weeks late because of an ongoing players’ strike, and was traded to the Cardinals in August 2004.

Jay Jaffe, who has exhaustively researched Hall of Fame voting, wrote that Walker’s 20.5 percent rise in the 2019 election was the ninth-biggest jump in modern history. He’ll again need to make the ninth-largest increase in the 2020 voting.

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