Mariano Rivera Unanimously Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame

January 22, 2019 - 6:31 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Former Yankee Mariano Rivera became the first player to be unanimously elected to baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday night.

Rivera received all 425 votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced Tuesday. The quartet will be enshrined in Cooperstown along with Today's Game Era Committee selections Harold Baines and Lee Smith on July 21.

Rivera is baseball's career saves leader with 652. Armed with his signature cut fastball, he won five World Series over 19 seasons with the New York Yankees.

WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman adds that “he was the best of whatever he did. He was the best of all time.”

Rivera made a weepy exit in September 2013, when teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte went to the mound to remove him against Tampa Bay in what turned out to be his finale. After the final out, Rivera went back to the mound where he became famous and gathered a bit of his workplace to take home.

"I wanted to get some dirt, just stay there for the last time, knowing that I ain't going to be there no more," he said.

But, Waldman notes his greatest went beyoung the diamond.

“Everyone I know in the media has a story about Mariano, and a kindness out of the blue," she said. "Never mind that he was the greatest of all time, it’s how he carried himself, with class and dignity all the time.”

Earlier on Tuesday, New York Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden also seemed confident in Rivera's election to the Hall of Fame.

"There's no question that he's gonna be elected. The only question is with what percentage," Madden told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. "Just look at his numbers overall. He was phenomenal."

"I don't think there was ever a better person that ever played the game of baseball and I don't think that's an overstatement," Madden added.

Ken Griffey Jr. previously held the mark for top percentage at 99.32 when he was on 437 of 440 ballots two years ago.

Halladay, an ace with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, got 85.4 percent and will be the first posthumous inductee since Deacon White in 2013 and Ron Santo in 2012. Halladay died in November 2017 at 40 years old when an airplane he was flying crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Martinez was a .312 hitter over 18 seasons with Seattle. He got 85.4 percent in his 10th and final try on the writers' ballot. He and Baines will join 2014 inductee Frank Thomas as the only Hall of Famers to play the majority of their games at designated hitter. David Ortiz will be eligible in 2022.

Mussina was a steady left-hander for the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles who went 270-153 with 2,813 strikeouts over 18 seasons. He received 76.7 percent.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens made gains but again fell short in their seventh time on the ballot. Bonds got 59.1 percent and Clemens 59.5.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)