We’re coming up on three years since former Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz was in the auto accident that claimed the life of Fredia
Ann Veitch, and he still has yet to go to trial. Trial was set to start next week, but that’s on hold because Leyrtiz is taking in interlocutory appeal of a key evidence ruling.
At issue is evidence of Veitch’s blood alcohol content — she herself was over the limit at the time — and whether she was texting at the time of the crash. The judge has struck it from the trial, while Leyritz wants to introduce it into evidence.
Why? Because while there’s a strong belief out there that, because Leyrtiz was drunk, he’s virtually assured of being convicted for manslaughter, legally speaking that’s not the case. If he was drunk but otherwise obeying all traffic laws and didn’t do anything to cause the crash, and if Veitch was the one who did cause it, the most he can be convicted of is DUI. While that seems rather unpalatable given that Veitch is dead and Leyritz is not, her behavior before the crash — legally speaking — would seem pretty critical.
I haven’t been following the case too closely recently so I’m not sure what the basis was for the judge striking the evidence, but if his ruling stands, Leyritz is in deep, deep trouble.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.