Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay Among 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2019

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1996:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1996 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Rivera played for the Yankees from 1995-2013.  (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees on Tuesday evening, with Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina all elected for enshrinement.

According to the MLB Network broadcast, Rivera is the first player in MLB history to be a unanimous, first-ballot inductee. 

What a Hall of Fame 2019 class!" former player and current analyst, Alex Rodriguez, tweeted. "Congrats to my brother, Mariano Rivera, on becoming the first player to be elected unanimously. So happy for all four inductees, including my mentor Edgar Martinez, my teammate Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay, one of the best I ever faced."

Those players will join Lee Smith and Harold Baines in the class of 2019, who were selected by the Today's Game Era Committee to join the Hall in December. The enshrinement will take place on Sunday, July 21, in Cooperstown, New York.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, meanwhile, remained under 60 percent of votes. To be inducted into the Hall, a player must received 75 percent. Bonds and Clemens, two of the greatest players at their positions in MLB history, continue to be blacklisted from the Hall, ostensibly due to their connection to the steroid era. 

You can see the full voting table at BBWAA.com

Rivera was a no-brainer.

The New York Yankees closer was a 13-time All-Star, five-time champion and the 1999 World Series MVP. He finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting on five separate occasions, an impressive mark for a reliever. His 652 saves are the most in MLB history, he's third in career WHIP (1.00), and he registered 50 or more saves in a season twice and 40 or more saves nine times.

He only got better in the postseason. His 42 playoff saves are easily the most in history, surpassing second-place closer Brad Lidge by 24 saves, and his postseason ERA of 0.70 is the best mark in MLB history. And he did all of it using almost exclusively just one pitch, his famed and feared cutter.

Add it all up, and no other closer has ever been as consistently dominant as Rivera was in his 19-year career. Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner released a statement following Rivera's induction (h/t David Schoenfield of ESPN.com):

"Mariano was a fierce competitor and a humble champion, which has made him such a beloved baseball legend. Success and stardom never changed Mariano, and his respect for the game, the pinstripes and for his teammates and opponents alike makes this day such a celebration of his legacy. There will be many more great and talented relief pitchers, but there will never be another like him."

The late Halladay, meanwhile, was one of the game's most dominant starting pitchers in his era for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.

The eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner finished his career 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 2,117 strikeouts. He led his league in shutouts four times (20 overall), in complete games seven times (67 overall) and and in innings pitched four times (2,749.1 overall).

He was in the top five in Cy Young voting seven times, led his league in wins twice and threw both a perfect game in the 2010 regular season against the Florida Marlins and a no-hitter that postseason against the Cincinnati Reds.

Halladay tragically died in an airplane crash in Nov. 2017, and his wife released a statement on Tuesday regarding his Hall of Fame induction (h/t Bob Nightengale of USA Today):

"Being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is every boy's dream. To stand on that stage in Cooperstown and deliver your acceptance speech in front of baseball’s most enthusiastic fans is something that every baseball player aspires to achieve, and Roy was no exception. But that was not Roy's goal. It was not his goal to have those three letters after his signature. His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career. 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, Braden and Ryan."                                                        

While Rivera and Halladay felt like locks in their first year of eligibility, Martinez finally received the necessary 75 percent of the votes needed in his last year of eligibility. The longtime Seattle Mariners third baseman and designated hitter was a seven-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger and twice won the batting title.

He finished his career as a .312 hitter with 309 homers, 1,261 RBI and a .933 OPS. He led the American League in on-base percentage three times, in batting average and doubles twice and in runs and RBI once.

Finally, Mussina made his way into the Hall, making him perhaps the most surprising selection of the bunch (though certainly a deserving entrant). He was a five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, and though he was never a Cy Young selection, he did finish in the top five in the voting six times.

The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees starting pitcher finished his career 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 2,813 strikeouts. He threw 57 career complete games and 23 shutouts, and made 21 postseason starts, going 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.

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