The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York will be inducting four new members this year including closer Mariano Rivera, pitcher Roy Halladay, pitcher Mike Mussina, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez.
Mo Rivera from the New York Yankees, the greatest closer and MLB’s all-time saves leader, received the first unanimous ballot by the Baseball Writers of America with 425 votes or 100 percent of ballots.
In December 2018, the Today’s Game Era Committee selected Lee Smith and Harold Baines to join this year’s class of inductees.
A 19-year old Mariano Rivera, a right-hand pitcher from Panama, signed a $2,500 deal with the Yankees in 1990. The rest is history. After 19 seasons, Rivera retired with the most saves in MLB history at 652.
During a dominant 1996 season, Rivera acted as the set-up man for John Wetteland. In 1997, Rivera took over as the Yankees closer and held the position until he retired in 2012.
Rivera won five World Series titles with the Yankees. In 1999, he was also named World Series MVP. In the postseason, Rivera posted a 0.70 ERA. He also holds the record for most saves in postseason history with 42.
“There is nobody that is ever going to do what he did out of the bullpen,” said former Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Over his career, Rivera made 13 All-Star teams. He finished with a 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Very few players could hit Rivera’s cutter, which he called a “gift from God.” Even switch hitters with no success would bat right-handed instead of lefty to try to gain an edge.
It took six years, but Moose finally made it into Cooperstown by receiving 76.7% of the votes. Mussina pitched for 18 seasons in the big leagues, including his first ten with the Baltimore Orioles and the last eight with New York Yankees.
Mussina won 270 games, which currently puts him at 33rd all time. His overall record was 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts. He made the All-Star team five times and won seven Gold Gloves, including four straight between 1996 and 1999.
Mussina set a MLB with at least 11 wins in 17 consecutive season. He missed a 20-win season by one win twice and finished his career with a pair of 19-win seasons.
Mussina played his collegiate ball at Stanford. In 1990, the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the first round. Although he played in the World Series with the Yankees in 2001 and 2003, he did not win a ring.
On his tenth and final year on the ballot, Martinez finally earned a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame with 85.4% of the votes. During his time, there were few better pure hitters than Martinez. He led the AL in hitting twice with a .356 average in 1995 and a .343 average in 1992. Martinez was the centerpiece of a dangerous Seattle Mariners lineup that had Ken Griffey, Jr, Alex Rodriguez, and Jay Buhner.
Martinez played third base and DH, but settled in as DH for the majority of his career. The seven-time All Star finished his 18-year career with a .312 batting average, .418 on base percentage, and .515 slugging percentage. He’s a rare breed and one of only 18 players in the history of baseball to have a triple slash line of .300/.400/.500.
Martinzez hit 309 career homeruns and drove in 1,261 runs. He also smashed 514 doubles, leading the league twice. During the 2000 season, a 37-year old Martinez hit .324 with 37 home runs and 145 RBIs.
In 1995, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Roy Halladay, a right-handed pitcher, in the first round with the 17th overall pick. He spent 12 seasons with the Blue Jays (1998-2009) before he played four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (2010-13).
In his first season with the Phillies, Halladay pitched a perfect game on May 29, 2010 against the Florida Marlins, becoming only the 20th player to achieve perfection. Later that year, he threw a no-hitter in the playoffs. On October 6, 2010, Halladay no hit the Cincinnati Reds during Game 1 of the NLDS. He became only the second player in history to throw a no hitter in the postseason behind Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
Halladay won the Cy Young twice and made the All-Star team eight times. Over his career, Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He struck out 2,117 batters. Halladay led the AL in wins with 22 in 2003. He led the NL in wins with 21 in 2010. He won 20 games three times. Halladay finished his career with 67 complete games during an era when starting pitchers rarely went the distance. He also has 20 shutouts.
In 2017, Halladay passed away at the age of 40 when a plan he was flying crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.