All-time saves leader Mariano Rivera became the first person to earn unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he was named on all 425 ballots submitted by the National Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The voting tabulations were announced Tuesday by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson on the MLB Network.
Rivera was joined by starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina and designated hitter Edgar Martinez as part of the 2019 class to be inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y. on July 21.
“Amazing, amazing,” Rivera said in an interview on the MLB Network. “I have to say thank god for that. It was a beautiful, long career, and to end up with this is amazing.”
Rivera and the late Halladay both made the Hall of Fame on their first attempt. Halladay and Martinez each received 85.4 percent of the votes while Mussina was named on 76.7 percent of the ballots. The requirement for induction is 75 percent.
Mussina was chosen in his sixth time on the ballot, while Martinez was chosen on his 10th and final season on the BBWAA ballot.
Martinez received 70.4 percent of the votes last season.
Rivera recorded a record 652 saves, Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history, Mussina won 15 or more times in 11 seasons, and Martinez topped a .300 batting average in 10 full seasons.
Halladay’s life tragically ended at the age of 40 on Nov. 7, 2017, in a plane crash near Tampa, Fla. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated the plane Halladay was piloting climbed sharply in the final seconds before plunging into the water.
The quartet joins outfielder/designated hitter Harold Baines and right-handed reliever Lee Smith in the 2019 induction class. Baines and Smith were chosen by the Today’s Game Era Committee in December.
Among those falling short of induction were pitchers Curt Schilling (60.9 percent) and Roger Clemens (59.5 percent) and outfielders Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) and Larry Walker (54.6 percent).
The candidacies of both Clemens and Bonds have been controversial due to suspicions they used illegal performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.
The right-handed Rivera was part of five World Series championship teams with the Yankees during a career that spanned 19 seasons from 1995-2013.
Rivera went 82-60 with a 2.21 ERA in 1,115 appearances (10 starts).
The 13-time All-Star saved 40 or more games on nine occasions, topped by 53 in 2004.
Rivera stepped up his performance in the postseason with a microscopic 0.70 ERA and 42 saves in 96 appearances. He had 11 saves and a 0.99 ERA in 24 World Series appearances.
His rise into the best reliever in baseball history nearly never happened as he grew up in Panama and was working on his father’s fishing boat. At age 20, he was signed by a Yankees scout and began his trek toward the majors.
“There will be many more great and talented relief pitchers, but there will never be another like him,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “This is another incredible achievement for Mariano, and a day like today brings me great pride knowing he wore the Pinstripes for each and every game of his remarkable career.”
Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 416 games (390 starts) for the Toronto Blue Jays (1998-2009) and Philadelphia Phillies (2010-13). The eight-time All-Star tossed 67 complete games, including 20 shutouts.
Halladay is one of just six pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. The right-hander won the American League honor with the Blue Jays in 2003 and the National League award with the Phillies in 2010.
Halladay threw a perfect game against the then-Florida Marlins in 2010. His postseason no-hitter occurred against the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 NL Division Series.
Halladay’s widow, Brandy, released a statement through the Phillies shortly after learning of her late husband’s upcoming enshrinement.
“His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career,” Brandy Halladay said. “Tonight’s announcement is the end result of that effort. If only Roy were here to personally express his gratitude for this honor, what an even more amazing day this would be. I would like to extend special thanks to the baseball writers for the overwhelming percentage of votes that Roy received in his first year on the ballot. It means so much to me, (and sons) Braden and Ryan.”
The only other pitcher in postseason history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason is Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.
Martinez spent his entire 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners from 1987-2004 and was a seven-time All-Star.
Martinez won two AL batting crowns — hitting .343 in 1992 and .356 in 1995 — and drove in more than 100 runs six times. He established career highs of 37 homers and 145 RBIs in 2000.
Martinez was primarily a designated hitter beginning with the 1995 campaign, and that affected his candidacy in previous years.
“I had nervous energy all day, I had to go work out,” a relieved Martinez said on MLB Network. “When you’re expecting something of this magnitude, it works in your mind pretty much all day.”
Overall, Martinez had 2,247 hits, 309 homers and 1,261 RBIs in 2,055 games with Seattle.
Mussina went 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts in 18 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (1991-2000) and New York Yankees (2001-08).
“Surprising somewhat. It was a pretty big jump from last year to this year,” Mussina said on MLB Network of earning induction. “I knew it was going to be close, but it’s pretty cool.”
Mussina was a five-time All-Star — all with the Orioles — and also won seven Gold Glove awards. He finished his career with a lone 20-win campaign when he went 20-9 for the Yankees at age 39, his final season.
“Moose was the most intelligent pitcher I ever caught,” former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said in a statement. “He made catching fun because he was so well prepared. When we took the field together, he was always two steps ahead of everyone else wearing a uniform. This special recognition is well deserved. Congrats Moose.”
Baines accumulated 2,866 hits, 384 homers and 1,628 RBIs in a career (1980-2001) in which he served as designated hitter for 1,643 of 2,830 games played. He spent the first 9 1/2 seasons of his career with the Chicago White Sox (he later had two more stints with the club) and also played for the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Orioles and Cleveland Indians.
Smith pitched in the majors from 1980-97, and his 478 career saves rank third all-time behind Rivera and Trevor Hoffman (601). He spent his first eight seasons with the Chicago Cubs and also pitched for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati and the Montreal Expos.
—Field Level Media