The greatest closer and designated hitter of all time will join a dominant starter in being honored in Cooperstown this summer.
Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, while Edgar Martinez was elected in his final year on the writers’ ballot and Mike Mussina edged over the threshold.
Rivera was named on all 425 ballots from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the first-ever unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame. Ken Griffey Jr. had set the mark at 99.32 percent in 2016.
Halladay polled at 85.4 percent in his debut and Martinez netted the same number of votes to end a decade of waiting to get the call, while Mussina’s 76.7 percent just cleared the 75 percent standard for induction.
They will be honored July 21 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with fellow Class of 2019 members Lee Smith and Harold Baines, who were elected by the Today’s Game Era Committee in December.
Welcome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019! #HOF2019 https://t.co/cgk6TVg9xv
— Baseball Hall ⚾ (@baseballhall) January 22, 2019
Larry Walker had the biggest jump among those who missed the cut, going from 34.1 percent in 2018 to 54.6 this time. He’ll have one more shot to make it in on the writers’ ballot next year before falling off.
Other contenders who saw increases from 2018 included Curt Schilling (51.2 percent to 60.9), Roger Clemens (57.3 to 59.5), Barry Bonds (56.4 to 59.1).
Fred McGriff failed to make the cut despite a surge in support from 23.2 to 39.8 percent in his final year on the writers’ ballot but will be a strong contender for election by the Today’s Game Era Committee.
Though Hall of Fame voters have traditionally struggled with how to handle relievers, Rivera was a no-doubter. His 652 career saves are an all-time record and he was one of the most dominant postseason pitchers ever, posting a 0.70 ERA in 96 playoff games as he helped the Yankees win five World Series titles.
Halladay didn’t get nearly as many chances in October, but his postseason debut was one for the record books — a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. The durable right-hander won Cy Young awards in both leagues, with the Blue Jays in 2003 and the Phillies in 2010, and led his league in complete games seven different times even as working nine innings became a lost art. Halladay died in a plane crash Nov. 7, 2017, at age 40.
Martinez made it to the majors as a third baseman but ended up setting the standard for designated hitters, to the point that the annual award for the best DH is named after him. He collected 2,247 hits in 18 seasons with the Mariners and had a .418 career on-base percentage, which ranks just outside the top 20 all-time.
We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. #EdgarHOF pic.twitter.com/yIHekxIFxC
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 22, 2019
Mussina was a consistent force in the Orioles’ and Yankees’ rotations, posting at least 11 wins for 17 consecutive years and topping 200 innings 11 times.
This election continued the recent trend of multiple players making the cut after no one was elected from the writers’ ballot for the class of 2013. Those who just missed out this time will like their chances next year, with Derek Jeter the only apparent Hall lock set to debut on the 2020 ballot.
Others from the current group who will return to the ballot in 2020 after receiving at least 5 percent of the vote: Omar Vizquel (42.8), Manny Ramirez (22.8), Jeff Kent (18.1), Scott Rolen (17.2), Billy Wagner (16.7), Todd Helton (16.5), Gary Sheffield (13.6), Andy Pettitte (9.9), Sammy Sosa (8.5) and Andruw Jones (7.5).
Notable first-year candidates falling off the ballot include Michael Young (2.1), Lance Berkman (1.2), Miguel Tejada (1.2), Roy Oswalt (0.9) and Placido Polanco (0.2).