Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time and on Tuesday he deservedly became the first player unanimously elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rivera headline this year’s HOF class which includes the late Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and former Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina.
After his retirement in 2013, it was inevitable that Mariano Rivera would someday be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s fitting that he’s the first unanimous selection into Cooperstown because throughout his career he was not only Hall of Fame player but a Hall of Fame person.
Mo was everything you want in a major leaguer and represented the Yankees franchise with the utmost class over the course of his 19-year career. Nobody’s perfect but he was as close to perfect as it gets every time he took the mound. He holds the all-time record for saves with 652, made 13 All-Star games and won 5 world championship during his time in pinstripes.
When he entered a game with the lead opposing teams knew the game was over, especially during the postseason. His performance in October was legendary and without him, the Yankees dynasty of the late 90s would’ve never existed. He had a ridiculous ERA of 0.70 during postseason play and holds records for games pitched (96) and saves, fittingly with 42.
There’s a ton of incredible stats that showcase Rivera’s greatness but this one might be the best:
When the pressure to perform was at its peak on the game’s biggest stage he was at his best and dominated the opposition more than any other reliever that’s ever stepped on a mound. He also provided countless memories for all us Yankee fans that we will never forget.
His former teammate Mike Mussina also provided plenty of memorable moments during his eight seasons in pinstripes and finally got the call to the Hall in his sixth year on the ballot. His vote percentage of 76.7 was just enough to get him over the hump but none of that matters anymore now that he’s in.
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His lifetime record of 270-153 is the 13th best winning percentage in major league history and he accomplished that pitching his entire 18-year career in the AL East during the steroid era. Moose was a true craftsman on the mound who was reliable as it gets and it’s about time he takes his rightful place in Cooperstown this summer.
Notorious Yankee Killer Edgar Martinez joins Mo and Moose as members of this year’s class along with Harold Baines and Lee Smith who were both voted in by the Veterans Committee back in December. Roy Halladay was also inducted in his first year on the ballot a little over a year after he passed away in an airplane accident on November 7th, 2017.
Like Mussina, Halladay was one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, winning 2 Cy Young Awards during his 16-year career with the Blue Jays and Phillies. It’s a tragedy how his life ended far to soon but his legacy will live on in Cooperstown for eternity.
As for next year’s ballot, the first time nominees are headlined by none other than Derek Jeter. The Captain is a shoo-in to get inducted and if I had to predict I think we’ll see him join his great friend Mo as the only unanimous selections in Hall of Fame history.