The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum exists to honor those who have shown excellence in baseball, either through playing, managing, or serving the sport. The Major League of Baseball (MLB) announced its 2019 class of Hall of Famers on Jan. 22. Among the newest ball players elected to the Hall of Fame are pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina, joined by third baseman Edgar Martinez.
Halladay was the Toronto Blue Jays first round draft pick in 1995, and he continued to play for them until he was traded to Philadelphia in 2009. He played with the Philadelphia Phillies until his retirement in 2013 due to a back injury. When Halladay retired, he was the active leader in 67 complete games, with 20 of these being shutouts.
Halladay also threw MLB’s 20 perfect game and the second no-hitter in postseason history. This was after he had thrown a no-hitter previously in the year, which made him the fifth pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters in a single season. He was one of six pitchers in MLB history to win the Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues. Tragically, on Nov. 7, 2017, Halladay died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. The Blue Jays retired his number the season after his death, and now fans can see his number, 32, hang up in the stadium. Now, Halladay will be inducted to the Hall of Fame with 85.4 percent of votes.
Edgar Martínez played his entire career as a third baseman for the Seattle Mariners from 1987 to 2004. He won the MLB All-Star award seven times and is one of 18 MLB players to record a batting average of .300, an on-base percentage of .400, and a slugging percentage of .500 in 5,000 or more plate appearances.
Martínez gained recognition as a player during the 1995 American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. He hit .571 and was on base 18 times in five games. During Game 4, Martínez hit a three-run home run, then a grand slam home run that broke a 6 – 6 tie, leading the Mariners to an 11 – 8 win. In Game 5, the Mariners were down 5 – 4 in the 11th inning, and Martínez hit a two-run double. This resulted in the Mariners winning both the game and the series. Martínez’s number was retired by the Mariners, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 85.4 percent of votes.
Mike Mussina played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1991 to 2000, where he was traded to the New York Yankees. He played for the Yankees until his retirement in 2008. As a pitcher, Mussina pitched 17 consecutive seasons of at least 11 winning games, which is an American League record. Mussina won the All-Star award five times and the Gold Glove award seven times. Mussina also pitched five near-perfect games throughout his career. He has a Win-Loss record of 270 to 153, a 3.68 earned run average, and 2,813 career strikeouts. Mussina was inducted to the Hall of Fame with 76.7 percent of the votes, the lowest of this class.
Mariano Rivera played his entire career as a pitcher for the New York Yankees from 1995 to his retirement in 2013. Rivera won the All-Star award 14 times and leads the MLB record with 652 career saves and 952 games finished. Rivera also won the World Series Most Valuable Player in 1999.
Rivera has a Win–Loss record of 82 to 60, a 2.21 earned run average, and 1,173 career strikeouts. After the Minnesota Twins faced Rivera in 1996, Twins manager Tom Kelly said, “He needs to pitch in a higher league, if there is one. Ban him from baseball. He should be illegal.”
Rivera was an elite member of the New York Yankees in a time when they were considered a dynasty. This is in part because of their “Core Four” players, including Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada. Following his retirement in 2013, the New York Yankees retired his number.
Rivera was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 100 percent of the votes, making him the first player in MLB history to be unanimously inducted. Even more significant, this was Rivera’s first time on the ballot.