Tuesday evening could be a benchmark day for Major League Baseball — which has had its fair share of controversy over the last week or so.
The Baseball Hall of Fame reveals its Class of 2020 beginning at 6 p.m. ET (MLB Network) where a New York Yankee could be unanimously elected for a second consecutive year.
After legendary closer, Mariano Rivera received votes on every baseball writer’s ballot last season, Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter is trending toward that rare air.
We had never seen a player selected unanimously before Rivera in 2019.
Jeter’s resume certainly does need any further endorsements. The famous No. 2 slashed .310/.377/.440 over a 20-year career that featured 3,465 hits, 14 All-Star Game appearances, and five World Series titles.
As of Monday morning, Jeter had a vote on each of the 179 public ballots, which accounts for approximately 43.4-percent of the total voting, per Hall-of-Fame tracker Ryan Thibodaux.
Hall-of-Fame hopefuls need 75-percent of the vote — or approval on at least 309 of 412 ballots — to gain enshrinement.
Jeter’s lauded career provides a momentary reprieve for the game just eight days after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred handed down severe punishment on the Houston Astros for their sign-stealing scandal in 2017.
But more controversy could be waiting for baseball come Tuesday night.
While the league is still reeling from the events that resulted in the firing of Astros manager AJ Hinch and the “mutual departures” of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran, there is a chance that Cooperstown might be opening its doors to two of the most notorious steroid users of the previous generation.
In their eighth years of eligibility, slugger Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are trending closer toward Hall-of-Fame induction.
Their presence for consideration has been a hot topic amongst the baseball community for almost a decade now as their storied accolades have been tainted by their known links to performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens — a former Red Sox and Yankees ace — ranks ninth on MLB’s all-time wins list with 354 and third with 4,672 strikeouts only behind the Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
Bonds is baseball’s home-run king, mashing 762 round-trippers over his 22-year career.
The seven-time NL MVP, 14-time All-Star, and 12-time Silver Slugger Award winner has been afforded more opportunities to gain access to the Hall of Fame compared to other PED-linked sluggers of his time given his earth-shattering numbers.
Sammy Sosa, who is also on his eighth year of eligibility, is one of nine players in MLB history with at least 600 home runs. Yet he’s currently trending at 16.7-percent.
Both Clemens and Bonds, though, are losing steam in their quest for enshrinement. While they were trending near 78-percent last week, their numbers have dropped below the 75-percent cut line to 71.7-percent and 72.8-percent respectively, per Thibodaux.
Should they fail to make the Hall of Fame this year, Clemens and Bonds will have two years of eligibility remaining before they are removed from the ballot.
Elsewhere, things are looking promising for Larry Walker — considered one of the best pure hitters of the 1990s and early 2000s.
The five-time All-Star and 1997 NL MVP put up as impressive of a six-year stretch as any hitter over the past three generations between 1997-2002. Walker slashed .353/.441/.648 while averaging 30 home runs and 98 RBI per season.
And that includes a 2000 campaign that was cut short to just 87 games due to injury.
In his 10th and final year of eligibility, he’s trending at 85-percent of the vote heading into Tuesday.
While he might just be able to slip by, pitcher Curt Schilling is losing steam as the only other viable candidate for enshrinement.
The six-time All-Star with the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox won three World Series titles and led the National League in wins twice, but his 216 wins over 20 years and a 3.46 ERA might see him come up just short.
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