Mariano Rivera has become baseball’s first unanimous Hall of Fame selection, elected along with Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina.
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.
Ken Griffey Jr. 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.
Here is the vote totals: Mariano Rivera 425 (100 percent), Roy Halladay 363 (85.4), Edgar Martínez 363 (85.4), Mike Mussina 326 (76.7), Curt Schilling 259 (60.9), Roger Clemens 253 (59.5), Barry Bonds 251 (59.1), Larry Walker 232 (54.6), Omar Vizquel 182 (42.8), Fred McGriff 169 (39.8), Manny Ramírez 97 (22.8), Jeff Kent 77 (18.1), Billy Wagner 71 (16.7), Todd Helton 70 (16.5), Scott Rolen 73 (17.2), Gary Sheffield 58 (13.6), Andy Pettitte 42 (9.9), Sammy Sosa 36 (8.5), Andruw Jones 32 (7.5), Michael Young 9 (2.1), Lance Berkman 5 (1.2), Miguel Tejada 5 (1.2), Roy Oswalt 4 (0.9), Plácido Polanco 2 (0.5), Rick Ankiel 0, Jason Bay 0, Freddy García 0, Jon Garland 0, Travis Hafner 0, Ted Lilly 0, Derek Lowe 0, Darren Oliver 0, Juan Pierre 0, Vernon Wells 0, Kevin Youkilis 0.
Six players were inducted last year, included four voted in by writers — one shy of the record set in the first year of balloting in 1936.
Lee Smith and Harold Baines were elected last month by the Today’s Game Era Committee and will be inducted on July 21. Rivera and Smith will increase relievers at Cooperstown by 33 percent to eight, joining Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004), Bruce Sutter (2006), Rich Gossage (2008) and Hoffman.
Rivera set the career saves record with 652 in 19 seasons plus 42 more in the postseason. The New York Yankees didn’t even wait until his final game to retire his No. 42 — he was the last player in the major leagues to wear that number, grandfathered when No. 42 was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997.
Rivera’s efficiency was renowned on a Yankees’ dynasty that he helped win five World Series titles: He retired the side in order in 229 of his 491 three-out saves. according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He broke the previous mark of 601 saves, set by 2018 inductee Trevor Hoffman.
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.
Mussina was 39 when he retired after going 20-8 in 2008 and becoming the oldest first-time 20-game winner. He was 270-153 with 2,813 strikeouts in 18 seasons for Baltimore and the Yankees, and had he remained active he had a chance to reach 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.
“My numbers match up well with guys who are in the Hall of the Fame,” he said when he retired.
Mussina got 20.3 percent of the vote in his first appearance, rose to 43 percent in 2016, 51.8 percent the following year and 63.5 percent in 2018. This is his sixth appearance, and he was tracking at 81.6 percent.
Halladay’s election will be tinged with melancholy. The two-time Cy Young Award winner died in November 2017 at age 40 when the airplane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. He went 203-104 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 seasons with Toronto and four for Philadelphia.
In 2010, he pitched a perfect game against the Marlins in May, then threw a no-hitter against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series opener — only the second no-hitter in postseason history after Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees against Brooklyn in the 1956 World Series.
Halladay retired at age 36 because of back injuries.
“I want to continue to do things I enjoy doing, spend time with my family,” he said when making the announcement. “The biggest thing is I’m trying to avoid surgery.”
Martinez hit .312 with 309 home runs in 18 seasons with Seattle, like Rivera spending his entire career with one organization. He was tracking at 89.9 percent support this year; players’ final totals usually drop by 5-7 percent from the vote-tracker.
Martinez would join 2014 inductee Frank Thomas as the only players in the Hall who played a majority of their games as a designated hitter. David Ortiz is likely to make it three when he becomes eligible in 2022.