The 2020 MLB Hall-of-Fame class was announced on Tuesday, and two players will be enshrined come July.
Derek Jeter, one of the greatest Yankees of all-time, got the call in his first year on the ballot, and Larry Walker, a dominant right fielder, barely received enough votes on his final try.
While there is some controversy surrounding how both of these players got elected, there is no question that they dominated their positions in the time they played. Not only did they dominate the league, but both players had their fair share of success against the San Diego Padres.
Larry Walker played nine seasons as a member of the Colorado Rockies. Given that the Rockies are in the NL West, he received plenty of opportunities against the Friars. In his 177 career games against the Padres, he took advantage of every game.
Walker torched the Padres, with a lifetime slash line of .323/.406./634. His 1.040 OPS to go along with 49 home runs and 145 RBIs was simply dominant. Not to mention, Walker had an elite glove and arm. In his 1997 MVP season, the San Diego Padres should’ve just walked him, as he had a 1.582 OPS against San Diego. This was his best season against the Padres.
The reason it took Walker so long get into the Hall-of-Fame was simply the “Coors Field effect.” Voters held strong on the fact that he played the majority of his games at the most hitter-friendly stadium in the big leagues. However, to Walker’s credit, when playing against the Padres, he hit very well in San Diego. The Canadian only got to play at Petco Park in one season, so he mostly got to play the Padres on the road at Qualcomm.
Qualcomm Stadium had a park factor of 93, meaning it was very pitcher-friendly. Despite Qualcomm’s reputation, Walker hit consistently at the Q. His .274/.354/.573 slash at Qualcomm is quite impressive and further proves that deserved to be in the Hall-of-Fame. While Coors Field did improve his numbers slightly, he put up great numbers otherwise.
The other member of the 2020 Hall-of-Fame class, Derek Jeter, played his entire career in the American League with the New York Yankees. The Yankees played the San Diego Padres every three years, beginning in the 2002 regular season, so his sample size against the Padres is quite small.
In his limited opportunities against the Friars, Jeter recorded a .317/.378/.366 slash with four RBIs and zero home runs in 45 at-bats. He only played one game at Petco Park, and that was in 2013. In that game, he went 1-for-4 with a single. In three career regular-season games at Qualcomm Stadium, he didn’t do too well. Jeter went 2-for-12 with a walk and three strikeouts at the Q. It’s safe to say Jeter did his damage against the Padres at Yankee Stadium.
However, Jeter did make his presence felt in the 1998 World Series. He went 6-for-17 with four runs, three walks, and an RBI. The Padres have not made it to the NLCS since, and the sight of Jeter rejoicing after winning his second World Series title provides nightmares for Padres fans.
To no surprise, both fantastic players had tremendous success against the San Diego Padres. Their legacies will now be in Cooperstown forever.
It is worth mentioning that two former Padres were on this year’s ballot, but neither got in. Gary Sheffield played a season and a half in San Diego. He received 30.5% of votes in his 6th year on the ballot. The other former Padre was Heath Bell. Bell didn’t receive any votes in his first year on the ballot, and will not be on the ballot next year. He was with the Padres for five seasons and was a three-time All-Star.