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February 21, 2014

Cooperstown eyes Jeter's future induction

(Continued)

This positive assessment was also shared by National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who was working in the Yankees organization when Jeter was drafted out of Kalamazoo High School.

“He was a classy guy,” said Idelson, “Very respectful.”

When it comes to Jeter’s possible future status as a member of the Hall of Fame, there doesn’t appear to be much doubt in the village of Cooperstown.

“About as much chance as Babe Ruth had,” said Fred Lemister, when asked about the possibility of Jeter being elected on the first ballot.

“He is a very strong candidate … for a first-ballot inductee,” said Haney.

“He certainly has the look of a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” said Idelson, while maintaining that no one could know until the votes were counted.

Jeter will become eligible for election to the Hall of Fame in 2020, one year after his longtime teammate, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera, one of the most dominant closing pitchers in baseball history, is also considered to be a future Hall of Famer.

“If he can’t get in on the first ballot, something’s wrong with the voting,” said Lemister.

The possibility of having two back-to-back years of Yankees inductions is appealing to some Cooperstown merchants.

“Consecutive years, it’s going to be great,” said Grigoli.

“I think this place will turn into the Bronx,” said Lemister.

Indeed, the proximity of Cooperstown to New York City, as well as the popularity of Jeter, has given rise to predictions of 2020 being a good year for attendance on induction weekend.

“Any time you involve a Yankee and any time you have players who are immensely popular with fans, you’re talking large numbers in Cooperstown,” said Idelson. “2020 certainly has the potential to be one of the largest induction crowds.”

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