Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina are named as the newest members of the Hall of Fame
See who is in, how close some are to election and who is eliminated as the final vote counts for the Hall of Fame are announced for 2019
Mariano Rivera gets a call from the Baseball Writers' Association of America telling him he's been unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame
Edgar Martinez gets a phone call from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, telling him he's been elected to the Hall of Fame
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera becomes the first player ever to be unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame
Watch highlights from Roy Halladay's illustrious career after he is elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019
Cole Hamels calls in to discuss his reaction to former teammate Roy Halladay getting elected to the Hall of Fame
Metallica, performers of Mariano Rivera's entrance music during his career, congratulate him on being elected to the Hall of Fame
Edgar Martinez joins MLB Network to discuss his reaction to being elected to the Hall of Fame and talks with former teammate Ken Griffey Jr.
Now that the 2019 class is settled, take a look at the notable first time candidates on the 2020 ballot, headlined by Derek Jeter
Check out the highlights from Mariners legend Edgar Martinez's incredible career after he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019
Mariano Rivera reacts to being congratulated by longtime teammate Derek Jeter after being unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame
MLB Network analysts break down the 2019 Hall of Fame voting results of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other suspected PED users
Jayson Stark of MLB Network is announced as the 2019 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner
Harold Baines and Lee Smith each discuss how they felt when they learned that they will enter the Hall of Fame in 2019
MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre joins MLB Now to talk about the pace of the game, eliminating dead time and Hall of Fame voting
Don Mattingly shares his reaction to the latest Hall of Fame election and reiterates his contentment with his outstanding playing career
Peter Gammons reacts to the news of Lee Smith and Harold Baines being elected into the Hall of Fame
2019 Hall of Fame inductee Harold Baines discusses his election via the Today's Game Era ballot
Lee Smith joins MLB Tonight to discuss his election to the 2019 Hall of Fame via the Today's Game Era ballot
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf talks about his excitement regarding Harold Baines' election into the Hall of Fame
Harold Baines joins MLB Tonight on the phone to discuss being named a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee via the Today's Game Era ballot
The MLB Tonight panel discusses Harold Baines being elected to Cooperstown on the Today's Game Era ballot
Below are the results of the Baseball Writers' Association of America vote to elect the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2019, with vote totals and percentages. A total of 425 ballots were cast, with 319 required for election.
Mariano Rivera: 425 votes (100%) -- 1st year on ballot
Roy Halladay: 363 (85.4%) -- 1st
Edgar Martinez: 363 (85.4%) -- 10th
Mike Mussina: 326 (76.7%) -- 6th
Curt Schilling: 259 (60.9%) -- 6th
Roger Clemens: 253 (59.5%) -- 7th
Barry Bonds: 251 (59.1%) -- 7th
Larry Walker: 232 (54.6%) -- 9th
Omar Vizquel: 182 (42.8%) -- 2nd
Fred McGriff: 169 (39.8%) -- 10th
Manny Ramirez: 97 (22.8%) -- 3rd
Jeff Kent: 77 (18.1%) -- 6th
Billy Wagner: 71 (16.7%) -- 4th
Todd Helton: 70 (16.5%) -- 1st
Scott Rolen: 73 (17.2%) -- 2nd
Gary Sheffield: 58 (13.6%) -- 5th
Andy Pettitte: 42 (9.9%) -- 1st
Sammy Sosa: 36 (8.5%) -- 7th
Andruw Jones: 32 (7.5%) -- 2nd
(Players receiving less than 5% will drop off future ballots)
Michael Young: 9 (2.1%) -- 1stMore »
Lance Berkman: 5 (1.2%) -- 1st
Miguel Tejada: 5 (1.2%) -- 1st
Roy Oswalt: 4 (0.9) -- 1st
Placido Polanco: 2 (0.5) -- 1st
Rick Ankiel: 0 --1st
Jason Bay: 0 --1st
Freddy Garcia: 0 --1st
Jon Garland: 0 --1st
Travis Hafner: 0 --1st
Ted Lilly: 0 --1st
Derek Lowe: 0 --1st
Darren Oliver: 0 --1st
Juan Pierre: 0 --1st
Vernon Wells: 0 --1st
Kevin Youkilis: 0 --1st
Mariano Rivera stands alone in National Baseball Hall of Fame history as the only player ever voted in unanimously by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But he'll be far from alone on the induction day dais, as the BBWAA has selected four players for entry into the hallowed Hall.
Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina were revealed Tuesday night as the third four-man BBWAA-voted Hall of Fame class in the past five years but only the fifth in history. Combined with the selections of Harold Baines and Lee Smith by the Today's Game Era Committee in December, it'll be a six-man class for the July 21 induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. -- the second six-man group in as many years and the third this decade.
The late Halladay (363 votes, 85.4 percent) joins Rivera as a first-ballot entrant, just one year after his tragic death in an airplane crash. They are the 55th and 56th players voted in on their first ballot. Martinez (363 votes, 85.4 percent), on the other hand, has been elected in his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, and Mussina (326 votes, 76.7 percent) made it on his sixth try.
But the man named "Mo," universally regarded as the greatest closer the game has ever seen, achieved something unprecedented by getting the check mark on all 425 ballots cast. Prior to Rivera, the player who had come closest in a voting process that dates back to 1936 was Ken Griffey Jr., who appeared on 437 of 440 ballots cast in 2016.
Though traditionally stingy when it comes to Hall passes, the BBWAA has now voted in 20 players over the last last six years -- the largest total of any six-year span. As always, to be elected, players had to be included on 75 percent of the ballots submitted by voting members of the BBWAA, who had a maximum of 10 slots to fill.
Beyond the entrants, some notable numbers from the 2019 results include a surge in support for Larry Walker (from 34.1 percent last year to 54.6) in his penultimate year on the ballot, and for Curt Schilling (from 51.2 percent to 60.9) in his sixth appearance. Controversial candidates Roger Clemens (from 57.3 to 59.5) and Barry Bonds (from 56.4 to 59.1) saw a slight uptick from their 2018 totals but will have to finish with a flourish in their final three years on the ballot.
Schilling, Walker, Bonds and Clemens were the only non-inductees to appear on more than half of the ballots cast. Fred McGriff finished with a 39.8 percentage in his last year on the ballot.
The Hall of Fame now has 329 elected members, including 232 players, of which 132 have come through the BBWAA ballot.
Here's more on this year's BBWAA class:
Team: Yankees, 1995-2013
Defining stats: 652 saves, the most all-time; 0.70 ERA in 141 postseason innings, the lowest ERA of any pitcher with at least 30 postseason innings; recorded the final out of the World Series four times
You wouldn't have known it when he was signed as an amateur out of a modest Panamanian fishing village in 1990. You wouldn't have known it when he went 3-3 with a 5.94 ERA in 10 starts in '95. You certainly wouldn't have known it when he blew three of his first six save chances in '97.
But thanks to the discovery of a devastating cutter, Rivera became not only the greatest closer in baseball history, but, statistically, the game's greatest run preventer, period. Per Baseball Reference, nobody with at least 1,000 career innings has a better park- and league-adjusted ERA+ than Rivera's 205 mark (105 percent better than average) -- and it's not even close (Clayton Kershaw is second, with a 159).
It is a testament to Rivera's success that we remember his greatest failures. We remember the home run he gave up to Sandy Alomar Jr. in the 1997 American League Division Series, the game-winning hit he allowed to Luis Gonzalez in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series and the blown save that breathed new life into Boston in Game 4 of the 2004 AL Championship Series because they were such extraordinary blips on an otherwise resplendent radar. The graceful way the classy and professional Rivera, the last player to wear Jackie Robinson's universally retired No. 42 as his regular uniform number, endured those failures is a part of his legacy, too.
In an especially tumultuous role prone toward personnel changes, Rivera, a 13-time All-Star, was as reliable in his farewell season at age 43 as he had been 16 years earlier. Entering to the sounds of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," he routinely put games to bed, and his first-ballot selection was a foregone conclusion.
Teams: Blue Jays, 1998-2009; Phillies, 2010-13
Defining stats: Two-time Cy Young Award winner (2003, '10); one of only two pitchers to throw a postseason no-hitter; one of only six modern-era pitchers with at least 200 wins (203) and at least a .650 winning percentage (.659)
One year after his tragic death in an airplane crash in the Gulf of Mexico at age 40, Halladay is rightly remembered for the undeniable and indefatigable excellence he brought to the Major League mound.
After overcoming some early-season stumbles in 2001 that necessitated a drastic demotion from the big leagues to Class A Dunedin to rebuild his delivery, Halladay emerged as a workhorse who earned a reputation as one of the game's fiercest competitors. From 2002-11, there wasn't a more dominant starting pitcher in baseball. In that 10-season span, he ranked first in the Majors in wins (170), winning percentage (.694), shutouts (18) and complete games (63, 30 more than the next-closest competitor). His nickname "Doc" was not just a callback to the Old West figure Doc Holliday but a fitting descriptor for his surgeon-like precision on the mound.
Halladay, a first-round Draft pick in 1995, led his league in innings pitched four times and in complete games seven times. He was an eight-time All-Star.
His zenith was the 2010 season, after he was dealt to Philadelphia in a winter trade. In addition to a unanimous selection for the National League Cy Young Award, Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29 and then, on Oct. 6 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Reds, joined Don Larsen as the only pitchers to hold an opponent hitless for an entire game on the postseason stage. Halladay became the first pitcher to throw a perfect game and another no-hitter in the same year.
Teams: Mariners, 1987-2004
Defining stats: One of only 10 players in MLB history with 300 or more homers, 500 or more doubles and 1,000-plus walks with an average over .300 and an on-base percentage over .400
Were it up to Rivera, who once referred to Martinez as "the only guy that I didn't want to face in a tough situation," this selection would have come a long time ago. But Edgar had to endure an agonizing wait, appearing on just 36.2 percent of ballots in his first year of eligibility in 2010, bottoming out at 25.2 in '14 and then slowly but surely, with the help of many advocates, rising up to the point of finally crossing the 75-percent threshold after finishing just 20 votes shy a year ago.
Then again, Martinez already knew the value of patience. He didn't become a big-league regular until 1990, at the age of 27. He won the AL batting title two years later. But after injuries limited him to 131 games total in 1993-94, he made the full-time move to designated hitter in his age-32 season in '95, and his career blossomed. Over the next 10 seasons, he compiled an adjusted OPS+ that was 53 percent better than the league average.
Though he didn't overwhelm with his home run total (309), Martinez was one of the purest hitters of his day. He is one of only 11 players (minimum 3,000 plate appearances) to post at least a .312 batting average and a .418 slugging percentage -- and the only one who debuted after World War II. He walked (1,283) more times than he struck out (1,202). His defining moment came in the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees -- a series in which he reached base 18 times in five games -- when he doubled home the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 11th to send Seattle to the ALCS for the first time in franchise history.
Martinez so ably demonstrated the possibility of the bat-only position that the league named its annual outstanding designated hitter award after him. Now, he joins Frank Thomas and the newly elected Baines as the only players in the Hall who logged at least half of their career plate appearances as a DH.
Teams: Orioles, 1991-2000; Yankees, 2001-2008
Defining stats: 270 wins are tied for 33rd-most all-time and are most by any pitcher who debuted in 1990 or later; 123 ERA+ ranks 21st all-time among those with at least 3,000 innings pitched
Context has always been the key to truly understanding the Cooperstown credentials of the man they call Moose, and it took six tries on the ballot for that context to get Hall-worthy support.
Mussina didn't have the peak performance of some of his peers, but he was a model of consistency and durability. He never won a Cy Young Award, but he finished in the top six in voting nine times. He came of age in the so-called steroid era, when offense was abundant, and he spent his entire career in the daunting AL East, calling the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium his homes.
That's why Mussina's ERA+, which adjusts for ballparks and league context, and his career Wins Above Replacement mark (82.9, per Baseball Reference, ahead of the likes of Nolan Ryan and Tom Glavine) cast Mussina's career in a better light than does his 3.68 career ERA.
A five-time All-Star, Mussina joins his former Yankees teammate Rivera in the Class of 2019. Both men finished their careers strong. Mussina was the first pitcher since Sandy Koufax to win 20 games in his final season (2008). He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting that year, then hung 'em up and waited on a Hall call that has finally come.More »
Among the tens of thousands of players, managers, owners, executives and other personnel that have made their marks on baseball, only a select 329 are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 232 of them players. And among that elite group, 56 players have been granted an even more selective honor: being named to the Hall of Fame during their first year of eligibility. Here's a look at every first-ballot Hall of Famer in baseball history.
Note: This list does not include Lou Gehrig (1939) and Roberto Clemente (1973), who both became Hall of Famers via special election.
Class of 2019
The man named "Mo," universally regarded as the greatest closer the game has ever seen, achieved something unprecedented by getting the check mark on all 425 ballots cast. Prior to Rivera, the player who had come closest to a unanimous election in a voting process that dates back to 1936 was Ken Griffey Jr., who appeared on 437 of 440 ballots cast in 2016. Thanks to the discovery of a devastating cutter, Rivera became not only the greatest closer in baseball history, but, statistically, the game's greatest run preventer, period. Per Baseball Reference, nobody with at least 1,000 career innings has a better park- and league-adjusted ERA+ than Rivera's 205 mark (105 percent better than average).
Class of 2019
One of only two pitchers to throw a postseason no-hitter, the late Halladay is also one of only six modern-era pitchers with at least 200 wins (203) and at least a .650 winning percentage (.659). From 2002-11, there wasn't a more dominant starting pitcher in baseball than Halladay, who earned a reputation as one of the game's fiercest competitors. In that 10-season span, he ranked first in the Majors in wins (170), winning percentage (.694), shutouts (18) and complete games (63, 30 more than the next-closest competitor). A first-round Draft pick in 1995, Halladay led his league in innings pitched four times and in complete games seven times. He was an eight-time All-Star.
Class of 2018
Arguably the most decorated player in Braves history, and one who rivals Mickey Mantle as arguably the best switch-hitter ever, Jones became just the second No. 1 Draft choice in history to reach the Hall of Fame. Jones, who spent his entire 19-year career in Atlanta, was the cornerstone player in its run to a record 14 straight division titles. He was an eight-time All-Star, a 1995 World Series champion, the '08 National League batting champion and the '99 NL MVP Award winner.
Class of 2018
The blue-collar slugger from Peoria, Ill., was drafted in the 13th round by the Indians in 1989 and went on to headline an era defined by power with 612 home runs, the eighth-most all-time. Thome, who was enshrined as an Indian, is one of just three hitters -- along with Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth -- to have amassed at least 600 home runs and 1,500 walks in his career.
Class of 2017
"Pudge," as he became iconically known, was a 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove Award winner, both benchmarks for catchers in MLB history. He went into the Hall as a Ranger after spending his first 12 seasons as the Texas backstop, and he would go on to play in two World Series, in '03 for the Marlins and '06 with the Tigers. Despite it being a position that takes such a pounding, Rodriguez played almost exclusively at catcher throughout his 21-year career.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Class of 2016
As the son of a successful 19-year big leaguer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 Draft and perhaps one of the most touted prospects ever, "The Kid" lived up to the hype and more. A 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove Award winner and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Griffey is considered among the greatest two-way players of all-time. His 99.3 percent vote on the '16 ballot is the highest in Hall of Fame history.
Class of 2015
Over his 22-year career, Johnson utilized his lanky, 6-foot-10 frame and wipeout stuff to become arguably the most dominating pitcher of his era. Johnson registered 300 strikeouts in six separate seasons, tied with Nolan Ryan for the most ever. No other player had more than three. Johnson enjoyed Hall of Fame-worthy success over stints with both the Mariners (with whom he played 10 seasons) and D-backs (with whom he won four straight NL Cy Young Awards). He pitched his last game on Oct. 4, 2009, less than a month shy of his 46th birthday.
Class of 2015
If it wasn't Johnson, then Martinez was the most dominating pitcher of their era. With high-90s velocity and a baffling changeup, Martinez won the Cy Young Award in both leagues -- one of just six pitchers to do so -- over a career headlined mostly by his time in Montreal and Boston. Martinez's .687 winning percentage trails Whitey Ford for the highest in the Modern Era (since 1900). But perhaps his most prominent milestone was helping the Red Sox snap the 86-year Curse of the Bambino with their 2004 World Series title.
Class of 2015
Smoltz became arguably his era's most versatile pitcher. After injuries forced him to the bullpen midway through his career, the 1996 NL Cy Young Award winner -- who twice led the NL in innings pitched -- went on to wow as Atlanta's closer for three and a half seasons, setting an NL record with 55 saves in 2002. Smoltz is the only player in MLB history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
Class of 2014
A jokester in the clubhouse but an assassin on the mound, Maddux is widely considered the game's most cerebral pitcher ever. A winner of four straight Cy Young Awards and finalist three other times, Maddux was the No. 1 ace for a Braves rotation that housed two other Cy Young Award winners in the 1990s and is considered the greatest starting staff of all time. His 555 Hall of Fame votes in '14 remain the most ever.
Class of 2014
Like Maddux, Glavine made his mark through command. Glavine helped kickstart the 1990s Braves dynasty as the anchor to its rotation in 1991, when the club became the first team in NL history to go from worst to first in consecutive seasons. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner's 305 wins are the fourth-most ever by a left-hander.
Class of 2014
For all of his power, "The Big Hurt" honed it with precision. He is the only player in MLB history to compile seven straight seasons with at least 20 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 walks and a .300 batting average. Thomas was a back-to-back AL MVP Award winner from 1993-94 for the White Sox, with whom he played for 16 of his 19 big league seasons.
Class of 2009
"Transcendent" would be one of the few words aptly used to describe Henderson, whose 1,406 career stolen bases are a Major League record likely to never be broken. Henderson also owns MLB's all-time record for runs scored (2,295) and is second in walks (2,190) over his 25-year career and in 1990 was the AL MVP Award winner after swiping 65 bases and posting a 1.016 OPS -- the type of season that will almost assuredly never be matched again.
Class of 2007
In terms of pure hitting acumen and ability, Gwynn is recognized as perhaps the greatest ever. "Mr. Padre" was a lifetime .338 hitter over 10,232 plate appearances in a 20-year career, all with San Diego. An eight-time NL batting champion, Gwynn is one of few to sniff the .400 batting average mark since Ted Williams in 1941, clipping .394 in 1994. This is all from a player who picked up baseball as a summertime hobby, and who nearly opted for a career in basketball.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Class of 2007
Ripken was revered as the bridge between the schools of old and new. He played super defense, hit for power and average and played every day. His streak of 2,632 consecutive games played is likely one that won't ever be matched. Ripken was enshrined to the Hall with a 98.5 percent vote, the fourth-highest of all time.
Class of 2005
Boggs wasn't the most athletic, didn't have the strongest arm and was never a threat on the basepaths, but during his peak, a 12-year stretch from 1985-96 during which he was an All-Star 12 times, Boggs was arguably the game's best hitter. Over his 18 seasons, he posted a .328/.415/.443 slash line. His 240 hits in 1985 were the most by a Red Sox player in 55 years, and have been matched by only Ichiro Suzuki (2001, '04) since.
Class of 2004
Eckersley is one of just three relievers in MLB history to win the MVP Award -- and he did so in his 18th season after transitioning from a starting role over his first 12 seasons. He was widely regarded for revolutionizing the closer's role.
Class of 2004
Molitor had multiple monikers -- "Molly" and "The Ignitor" to name a few -- over a remarkable 21-year career. Defensively versatile and offensively adept, Molitor hit .306 over 12,167 plate appearances and logged 50 or more games at designated hitter, third base, second, first, shortstop and in the outfield. In 2017 as the Twins' skipper, Molitor joined Frank Robinson as the only Hall of Famers to be elected as players and go on to win the Manager of the Year Award.
Class of 2003
Murray embarked on his 21-year career by winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award with the Orioles in 1977. He went on to play more games at first base (2,413) than any player in history, winning three Gold Glove Awards there. After 12 successful seasons in Baltimore, Murray helped the Indians to their first World Series in 41 years in '95, then returned to the Orioles for a postseason run in '96. He was enshrined with an 85.2 percent vote.
Class of 2002
Smith's acrobatics at shortstop made him arguably the greatest at the position that requires such skill. He won 13 straight Gold Glove Awards from 1980-92 and was an All-Star in all but one season in that stretch. He helped the Cardinals win the '82 World Series title.
Class of 2001
A favorite among his teammates for his personality and play, Puckett truly made the most of his injury-shortened Major League career. Over his 12 seasons, all with the Twins, Puckett was a 10-time All-Star and a six-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field. He also was particularly critical during the Twins' World Series championship runs in 1987 and '91, hitting .309/.361/.536 over 24 playoff games.
Class of 2001
Regardless of baseball, Winfield might be one of the greatest athletes ever -- he was drafted in four major sports leagues, according to Hall of Fame archives. And he never played a day in the Minors, going straight to the big leagues in 1973 after he was drafted by the Padres. A 12-time All-Star, Winfield hit 465 home runs and is a member of the 3,000-hit club.
Class of 1999
Brett, a Kansas City legend, enjoyed a run of sustained success that included batting titles in three different decades (1976, '80, '90). He won the AL MVP Award in 1980 and was part of the Royals' first championship team in '85.
Class of 1999
Ryan played a record 27 years in the Majors, pitching for the Mets, Angels, Astros and Rangers, and is baseball's all-time leader in no-hitters (seven) and strikeouts (5,714). He won a World Series with the Mets in 1969. Ryan received 98.8 percent of the votes during his first year on the ballot, the third-most all-time.
Class of 1999
Yount spent only a few months in the Minors before reaching the big leagues as a teenager. The two-time NL MVP would remain there for two decades, playing shortstop and center field for the Brewers.
Class of 1995
Schmidt excelled with both his bat -- he led the NL in home runs eight times -- and his glove -- he won 10 Gold Glove Awards -- during his Hall of Fame career. The longtime Phillie won a World Series with the club in 1980.
Class of 1994
Carlton, one of baseball's most decorated southpaws, won four Cy Young Awards, a pitching Triple Crown and two World Series titles. During his remarkable 1972 campaign, he compiled a 1.97 ERA and struck out 310 batters over 346 1/3 innings and remains the last pitcher to exceed 300 innings in a single season (1980).
Class of 1993
Dubbed "Mr. October" for his postseason heroics, Jackson not only enjoyed immense personal success -- he's a 14-time All-Star, the 1973 AL MVP and a four-time home run leader -- but contributed to some stellar A's, Yankees and Angels teams, including five World Series champions and 10 first-place finishers.
Class of 1992
Seaver played 20 seasons in the big leagues, with his most notable turn coming with the Mets from 1967-77, during which he won NL Rookie of the Year, three Cy Young Awards and a World Series title (1969). Seaver's 98.8 percent Hall vote is the highest ever for a pitcher.
Class of 1991
Carew split his 19-year career between the Angels and Twins -- both of which have retired his No. 29 -- and made the AL All-Star team in all but his final season. The 1977 AL MVP was a seven-time batting champion.
Class of 1990
Palmer became destined for greatness early on. He became the youngest pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete-game shutout in the World Series, doing so days before his 21st birthday. Palmer became the premier pitcher of the 1970s, compiling the most wins (186) and lowest ERA (2.58) of anyone in that decade. He spent his entire 19-year career with the Orioles and won the AL Cy Young Award three times.
Class of 1990
Morgan won his first MVP Award in '75 after hitting .327 with 17 homers, 67 steals and 132 walks -- and only got better the following season, when he won MVP again. The "Big Red Machine" won the World Series in both of those seasons, keyed by the 10-time All-Star second baseman and all-time hit king Pete Rose atop the lineup.
Class of 1989
Bench anchored Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" of the '70s behind the plate en route to back-to-back World Series titles, winning NL Rookie of the Year in '68 and a pair of NL MVP Awards in '70 and '72 after leading the Senior Circuit in homers both years. That's not to mention his stellar defense as a backstop, for which he won 10 Gold Glove Awards.
Class of 1989
A young Yastrzemski had huge shoes to fill, stepping into left field as a 21-year-old rookie the season after Ted Williams' retirement. Three batting titles, a Triple Crown, an AL MVP Award and 18 All-Star appearances helped Yaz earn a place beside Williams in Red Sox lore.
Class of 1988
Stargell spent his entire 21-year career in Pittsburgh, topping 20 homers in 13 straight seasons and winning a pair of home run crowns after the Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium in 1971. The seven-time All-Star and 1979 NL MVP Award winner won a pair of World Series titles in '71 and '79.
Class of 1986
McCovey terrorized the NL for the majority of 22 seasons, leading the Senior Circuit in homers three times and winning the 1969 MVP Award. His 521 homers are tied for 20th on the all-time list, and his 18 grand slams were second only to Lou Gehrig's 23 at the time.
Class of 1985
A gifted hitter and one of the game's premier threats on the basepaths, Brock stole at least 50 bases in 12 straight seasons from 1965-76, leading the NL in steals in all but four of those years and breaking Ty Cobb's all-time stolen bases mark in 1977. The six-time All-Star has since been topped in steals by only Rickey Henderson.
Class of 1983
Robinson won an AL MVP Award in 1964 and was an 18-time All-Star, but was best known for setting the defensive standard at third base, where he became known as "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" and won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
Class of 1982
Hammerin' Hank hit 30 homers in a season 15 times and topped the .300 mark 14 times in a consistent career that the 25-time All-Star selection capped by breaking Babe Ruth's homerun record in 1974 to seize the title of baseball's home run king until 2007.
Class of 1982
Robinson tied a rookie record with 38 homers as he won the 1956 NL Rookie of the Year Award and became the first player to win an MVP Award in both leagues -- for the Reds and Orioles -- before he later became the first African-American manager in MLB history.
Class of 1981
Gibson's legendary 1968, during which he recorded a 1.12 ERA and struck out 268 batters, is often cited as one of the reasons why MLB lowered the mound and reduced the size of the strike zone before the following season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner and '68 NL MVP quite literally changed the game.
Class of 1980
After not spending a day in the Minor Leagues, Kaline established himself as one of the league's best as the AL batting champion in 1955 at age 20, the youngest to ever win the crown, and retired after 22 years in Detroit spanning a World Series, 10 Gold Glove Awards and 18 All-Star Games.
Class of 1979
Perhaps the greatest five-tool player in the history of baseball, the Say Hey Kid dazzled with his personality and excelled in every facet of the game, hitting 660 homers (fifth all-time), stealing 338 bases, hitting .302 for his career and playing in a record-tying 24 All-Star Games. Oh, and don't forget about "the catch."
Class of 1977
As the nickname suggests, "Mr. Cub" holds a special place in Cubs history, finishing as the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1954 before playing in 11 straight All-Star Games, winning back-to-back NL MVP Awards and the Cubs' first Gold Glove Award.
Class of 1974
The longtime center fielder set a high bar for switch-hitters, winning three AL MVP Awards, a Triple Crown and seven World Series during the Yankees' dynasty in the 1950s and '60s. His .977 career OPS is second to Mike Trout among center fielders, and his 536 homers are third among center fielders behind Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr.
Class of 1973
The majority of Spahn's career came after his service in World War II, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. Had it not been for the three seasons he spent overseas, Spahn, the winningest left-handed pitcher of all time (363), 17-time All-Star and 13-time 20-game winner, might have joined Cy Young and Walter Johnson in the 400-win club.
Class of 1972
Before the left-hander's career was cut short after his age-30 season due to his arthritic elbow, Koufax posted one of the most dominant four-year stretches ever from 1963-66 for the Dodgers, winning three Cy Young Awards, an NL MVP Award, three Triple Crowns and two World Series MVP Awards.
Class of 1969
Not only did Stan "The Man" win three NL MVP Awards, three World Series championships and seven batting titles, but he did it all in St. Louis, where he spent his entire 22-year career and became the face of the franchise. His 24 All-Star Game appearances are tied for the MLB record.
Class of 1966
The Red Sox legend remains the last player to hit over .400 in a full season, and his .344 career average remains tied for seventh in MLB history. The two-time AL MVP Award winner, two-time Triple Crown winner and six-time batting champion also served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps for three years of his prime and later served in the Korean War.
Class of 1962
Feller blew Major League hitters away starting at the young age of 17, threw a no-hitter and tallied three 20-win seasons and a Triple Crown before giving up nearly four years of his prime to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon his return, he had three more 20-win seasons and finished with a 3.25 career ERA.
Class of 1962
Robinson's place in baseball history was already secure after he broke MLB's color barrier in 1947, but he also excelled on the diamond, winning Rookie of the Year and an MVP Award and earning six All-Star nods through a 10-year Major League career.
Class of 1936
Often described as the greatest hitter of all time, the ferociously competitive Cobb received the most Hall of Fame votes of the five enshrined in the inaugural ballot after winning 12 batting titles and hitting .366 in his career -- both still Major League records. He and Pete Rose are the only members of the 4,000-hit club, and Cobb's 897 steals are fourth in MLB history. Cobb's 98.2 percent vote was the Hall's highest until Tom Seaver eclipsed him in 1992.
Class of 1936
Baseball's all-time leader in shutouts (110) and runner-up in wins (417), Johnson was the only member of the 3,000-strikeout club for nearly 51 years after amassing a then-record 3,508 during his 21-year career, winning three Triple Crowns and two MVP Awards.
Class of 1936
The two-time Triple Crown winner and his famous "fadeaway" screwball baffled hitters throughout a 17-year career that set the standard for pitching excellence, during which he won at least 30 games four times and collected 373 career wins -- still the NL record in the modern era.
Class of 1936
The Bambino's powerful left-handed swing and 714 homers ushered baseball out of the dead-ball era, and the former ace pitcher and home run king's larger-than-life persona transcended the limits of the baseball field and cemented his place not only in baseball lore, but also in American legend.
Honus WagnerMore »
Class of 1936
Considered by many to be the greatest shortstop in baseball history, Wagner won eight batting titles in his 21-year career, primarily for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, and was not only one of the best hitters and baserunners of the era, but also an able defender at virtually every position.
When Induction Day rolls around in Cooperstown, the biggest thrill for a fanbase (outside of celebrating the actual player, of course) might be seeing its team's logo ensconced on the bronze plaque. The designation typically means that the player defined his career in that city -- or perhaps even led that club to World Series titles -- and signifies that a legend will be remembered hand-in-hand with that team in perpetuity.
We'll find out which team's cap will accompany each member of this year's Hall of Fame class in the coming days. That decision used to be solely in the player's hands, but the Hall now works in conjunction with inductees to determine the club in which he made his greatest impact on the game. Players whose careers spread equally across several clubs can still choose to go without a cap logo, as Greg Maddux did as recently as 2014.
Below are the Hall of Fame's official cap logo designations for the hundreds of players and managers in the Plaque Gallery -- including our best guesses for the Class of 2019 -- along with a guess at who could be the next representative for each club. This list excludes Hall of Famers who wouldn't don a Major League team logo, including executives, umpires and Negro League legends like Cool Papa Bell or Josh Gibson. At the bottom of the list are dozens of Hall of Famers who do not have a team designation for a variety of reasons, including a cap in profile that doesn't feature a logo, a blank cap or a lack of a cap altogether (as could often be the case with old-time players).
With that in mind, here's who dons your favorite team's cap on his Hall of Fame plaque:
Vladimir Guerrero (2018)
Guerrero had a tough choice to make between the Halos and the Expos, but chose the team with whom he won his lone MVP Award.
Video: OAK@LAA: Vlad given Hall of Fame plaque, ovation
Next up? Another No. 27, Mike Trout, is the obvious choice. He'll have a legitimate Hall case as soon as he completes his 10th season, but that could also be his last year in an Angels uniform.
Jeff Bagwell (2017)
Craig Biggio (2015)
Nolan Ryan could have very well been the first Astro, but he opted for the Rangers instead. Cooperstown had a decidedly orange feel when Astros lifers Biggio and then Bagwell ushered Houston into the Plaque Gallery for the first time.
Next up? Houston's young core has several candidates including Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, but Jose Altuve already has three batting titles, 1,400-plus hits and an American League MVP Award under his belt.
Dennis Eckersley (2004)
Rollie Fingers (1992)
Rickey Henderson (2009)
Al Simmons (1953)
Dick Williams (2008)
This is a franchise that feels like it should have more representatives, considering it boasts two early dynasties in Philadelphia and one of just two modern-era three-peat clubs in the 1972-74 A's. Catfish Hunter was the ace of those teams, but his later success with the Yankees kept him from choosing a club. The same logic applied to Tony La Russa, who won more titles later with the Cardinals. Many of the early Philly stars either have blank caps or no caps at all on their plaques.
Next up? Stars of the "Moneyball" A's like Eric Chavez, Tim Hudson, Miguel Tejada and Barry Zito will likely all fall short in the eyes of the BBWAA. That means the baton could be passed to current stars like slugger Khris Davis or all-around stud Matt Chapman.
Roberto Alomar (2011)
Roy Halladay (2019)
Alomar came to Toronto alongside Joe Carter in a famous trade involving Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff, and helped make the Blue Jays into a two-time World Series champion powerhouse. Halladay was a homegrown star who won a Cy Young Award in Toronto and represented the organization in six All-Star Games before getting traded and spending his final four seasons in Philadelphia.
Next up? He hasn't even made his Major League debut yet, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a fun name to throw out there. The Hall of Famer's son has been that good in the Minor Leagues.
Video: MIL@ATL: Chipper given HOF plaque, discusses honor
Bobby Cox (2014)
Tom Glavine (2014)
Billy Hamilton (1961)
Chipper Jones (2018)
Rabbit Maranville (1954)
Eddie Mathews (1978)
Tommy McCarthy (1946)
Kid Nichols (1949)
Phil Niekro (1997)
John Smoltz (2015)
Warren Spahn (1973)
Atlanta fans have enjoyed one heck of a run this decade as the stars of the dynastic 1990s Braves teams have made their way to Cooperstown. Maddux is the notable exception, as he chose to go sans logo after pitching half of his career with the Cubs.
Next up? Fred McGriff has built up a big enough final-year push to be a strong candidate for the Veterans Committee in 2022, and enjoyed virtually all of his postseason success with Atlanta. If McGriff is given a different cap (or perhaps goes without a logo), it's interesting to ponder whether Craig Kimbrel would represent his original club if he makes it to Cooperstown.
Paul Molitor (2004)
Robin Yount (1999)
Yount was a no-brainer as a lifelong Brewer beginning with his debut at age 18. His longtime teammate, Molitor, could have very well worn a Blue Jays cap after finally winning a World Series with Toronto in 1993, but he wound up representing the club with which he recorded roughly two-thirds of 3,319 hits.
Next up? If Gary Sheffield somehow finds his way into Cooperstown (it would likely need to be through the Veterans Committee), there's a chance he could make a sentimental choice with his original club in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun will face some of the same roadblocks as Sheffield when he goes in front of the BBWAA, but figures to have somewhere close to 400 homers, a high average and his 2011 NL MVP in tow.
Lou Brock (1985)
Dizzy Dean (1953)
Bob Gibson (1981)
Whitey Herzog (2010)
Stan Musial (1969)
Red Schoendienst (1989)
Enos Slaughter (1985)
Ozzie Smith (2002)
Billy Southworth (2008)
Bruce Sutter (2006)
La Russa's three NL pennants and two World Series titles in a Cardinals uniform made him a likely candidate, but he went in without a logo due to his early success in Chicago and Oakland. The Cardinals still boast plenty of iconic inductees, of course, from Stan "The Man" to Gibson to "The Wizard of Oz."
Next up? Scott Rolen will need some serious help over the coming years to reach the 75-percent threshold, but he'd likely go in as a Cardinal if he gets there. Would Albert Pujols go in with a St. Louis cap? At this point, there's no question the better half of his career was in St. Louis.
Ernie Banks (1977)
Frank Chance (1946)
Kiki Cuyler (1968)
Gabby Hartnett (1955)
Billy Herman (1975)
Ferguson Jenkins (1991)
Ryne Sandberg (2005)
Ron Santo (2012)
Billy Williams (1987)
Hack Wilson (1979)
Plenty of Cubs caps are in the Plaque Gallery despite the franchise's 108-year title drought, but a few old-timer exceptions like Three-Fingered Brown, Johnny Evers, and Joe Tinker are not on the list simply on account of their logo-less heydays.
Next up? Perhaps the Veterans Committee will be more forgiving to Sammy Sosa as opinions continue to evolve on baseball's "Steroid Era." If Sosa is kept out, the baton would probably be passed to Jon Lester (who would have a tough decision to make) or Anthony Rizzo.
Video: Randy Johnson fans 250 for 6 straight seasons
Randy Johnson (2015)
The D-backs franchise enjoyed pretty quick success when it won a World Series title in its fourth year of existence, and Johnson's induction gave them a Hall of Famer in short order, too. While the Big Unit had his share of success in Seattle, his four consecutive Cy Young Awards in the desert made his cap logo a pretty easy choice.
Next up? One can't tell the D-backs' history to this point without Curt Schilling, who became an October legend with the Red Sox, too. His Cooperstown case has been contentious, but his Hall outlook is slightly better after the gains he made in BBWAA voting this winter.
Walter Alston (1983)
Roy Campanella (1969)
Don Drysdale (1984)
Leo Durocher (1994)
Burleigh Grimes (1964)
Wee Willie Keeler (1939)
Sandy Koufax (1972)
Tommy Lasorda (1997)
Pee Wee Reese (1984)
Jackie Robinson (1962)
Duke Snider (1980)
Don Sutton (1998)
Dazzy Vance (1955)
Zack Wheat (1959)
It's strange to note how many years have passed since Lasorda most recently went in with a Dodgers cap. Mike Piazza could have easily gone in as a Dodger, but his star burned brighter in Queens.
Next up? There's some very remote possibilities with fringe candidates like Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez and Sheffield, but Dodger fans might as well start planning five years from whenever Clayton Kershaw hangs up his spikes. The southpaw would probably be a first-ballot Hall of Famer if he retired tomorrow.
Video: Rob Manfred reads Tim Raines' Hall of Fame plaque
Gary Carter (2003)
Andre Dawson (2010)
Tim Raines (2017)
Guerrero was probably the last viable Expos candidate for the Hall, as Larry Walker would likely choose the Rockies if he makes it over the hump. But never say never: If a Major League team winds up back in Montreal, perhaps another Expos Hall of Famer is in the offing decades from now.
Orlando Cepeda (1999)
Carl Hubbell (1947)
Monte Irvin (1973)
Travis Jackson (1982)
George "High Pockets" Kelly (1973)
Freddie Lindstrom (1976)
Juan Marichal (1983)
Willie Mays (1979)
Willie McCovey (1986)
Christy Mathewson (1936)
John McGraw (1937)
Gaylord Perry (1991)
Bill Terry (1954)
Hoyt Wilhelm (1985)
Ross Youngs (1972)
The Giants have played about as much modern-era baseball in San Francisco as they did in upper Manhattan, and both eras of the franchise are amply represented. The biggest omission here is probably Mel Ott, who is capless on his Hall plaque.
Next up? There's a slugger named Barry Bonds who dominates a fair amount of the conversation each voting season. Bonds' Hall case looks like it's going to go down the wire, with the clock ticking toward his final year of BBWAA eligibility in 2022 -- the same year that two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum will likely bring his fascinating case to the ballot. Jeff Kent is another possibility, though his voting totals have stagnated below 20 percent in recent years.
Earl Averill (1975)
Lou Boudreau (1970)
Stan Coveleski (1969)
Larry Doby (1998)
Bob Feller (1962)
Addie Joss (1978)
Nap Lajoie (1937)
Bob Lemon (1976)
Al Lopez (1977)
Joe Sewell (1977)
Tris Speaker (1937)
Jim Thome (2018)
Early Wynn (1972)
Thome hit 275 of his homers in a uniform that didn't read Indians, but his cap choice still seemed fairly straightforward. Lajoie's popularity caused the Cleveland franchise to be known as the 'Naps' for a brief period in time.
Next up? Ramirez could go with his original club, but his Hall case looks like a longshot. Cliff Lee will likely suffer Johan Santana's one-and-done fate in 2020, and even if he does make it, the southpaw could go in as a Phillie. The Tribe's best hope could lie with Omar Vizquel, who has polled well with traditional voters and figures to hang on the ballot for a while.
Video: Griffey Jr. gets his number 24 retired in Seattle
Ken Griffey Jr. (2016)
Edgar Martinez (2019)
The only way Griffey wasn't going to don a Mariners logo was if his plaque had him wearing a backwards cap. Johnson won his first Cy Young with Seattle, but unquestionably reached his peak with the D-backs. Martinez's candidacy made Seattle fans hold their breath for a full decade, but the sweet-swinging DH finally got in on his last year of BBWAA eligibility.
Next up? Ichiro Suzuki will be a slam-dunk first-ballot choice when he finally hangs them up for good.
Miami fans' best hopes for now rest with Sheffield, who hit 122 homers in teal and helped the Marlins capture their first World Series title in 1997. Giancarlo Stanton nearly hit 60 homers in a Miami uniform, but if he wins a ring, it will be with the Yankees (or another club down the line).
Mike Piazza (2016)
Tom Seaver (1992)
Seaver is the most obvious Met in the Hall, while there was some consideration of Piazza wearing a Dodgers cap on his plaque. Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan and Gary Carter are among the notable Mets who are in the Hall with a different cap.
Next up? David Wright was on a Hall track until injuries derailed his candidacy. Maybe Carlos Beltran dons a Mets cap; his BBWAA candidacy begins in 2023. Jacob deGrom would seemingly have the best chance from New York's current roster.
Injuries have kept Ryan Zimmerman from putting up Hall of Fame numbers, and it appears unlikely that Bryce Harper will be back in a Nationals uniform. That leaves Max Scherzer, who's already won a pair of Cy Young Awards in D.C. and could be in line for more.
Eddie Murray (2003)
Jim Palmer (1990)
Cal Ripken Jr. (2007)
Brooks Robinson (1983)
Frank Robinson (1982)
Earl Weaver (1996)
Ripken's popularity, combined with Gwynn's, made his Induction the biggest in Cooperstown history in 2007. Frank Robinson's early success with the Reds made him the only moderately tough decision on this list, but he undoubtedly blossomed as a star in Baltimore. Mike Mussina had his ticket to Cooperstown punched on Tuesday, but his cap remains in question. There's a definite case for him to go in as an Oriole, considering he pitched two more seasons and won 24 more games there than he did in the Bronx.
Next up? Adam Jones might be the next candidate if Mussina goes in as a Yankee, but Jones' candidacy could be described as longshot at best. Manny Machado is another possibility, depending on where he spends the rest of his career.
Video: 8/17/18: Trevor Hoffman honored with HOF plaque
Tony Gwynn (2007)
Trevor Hoffman (2018)
Dave Winfield (2001)
Gwynn and Hoffman are San Diego icons, while Winfield surprised many when he chose his original club, the Padres, over the Yankees squad with whom he enjoyed a more successful -- but also contentious -- tenure.
Next up? McGriff and Sheffield both thrived as Padres, but didn't stay in San Diego long enough. Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavy likely won't stay on the ballot for long, meaning the Padres' best hope probably lies in their future (hello Fernando Tatis Jr.?)
Richie Ashburn (1995)
Jim Bunning (1996)
Steve Carlton (1994)
Chuck Klein (1980)
Robin Roberts (1976)
Mike Schmidt (1995)
Iconic Phillies are listed above, with a notable exception in Grover Cleveland Alexander, whose plaque features a blank cap. Bunning threw a no-hitter in both leagues and won far more games with the Tigers, but the righty went in as a Phillie.
Next up? Halladay could very well don a Phillies cap on his plaque, and Schilling won far more games in Philly than with any other club. Looking past those two, Ryan Howard's peak will likely be too short to convince voters in 2022. Chase Utley could be a bigger hit with the sabermetric crowd when he lands on voters' ballots in 2024.
Max Carey (1961)
Roberto Clemente (1973)
Ralph Kiner (1975)
Bill Mazeroski (2001)
Willie Stargell (1988)
Pie Traynor (1948)
Arky Vaughan (1985)
Lloyd Waner (1967)
Paul Waner (1952)
You might notice that one of baseball's best all-time shortstops, Honus Wagner, is not listed above. Wagner played 18 of his 21 seasons in Pittsburgh, but his cap (depicted in profile on his plaque) is blank nonetheless.
Next up? There's zero chance Bonds goes in as a Pirate, so Pittsburgh fans might have to wait until Andrew McCutchen becomes Hall-eligible -- though McCutchen still has a ways to go to improve his Cooperstown case.
Video: Manfred reads Ivan Rodriguez's Hall of Fame Plaque
Ivan Rodriguez (2017)
Nolan Ryan (1999)
Ryan's choice was an unexpected one, seeing as he threw four no-hitters with the Angels and pitched many of his best seasons in Houston. But the righty did rack up his 300th win and 5,000th strikeout in a Rangers uniform.
Next up? Michael Young probably represented the franchise's best candidate for the immediate future, but the countdown is already on for Adrian Belte, who will almost undoubtedly go in as a Ranger if he's voted in on the first ballot in 2024.
As much fun as it would be to see McGriff don an original Devil Rays hat, Tampa fans will have to wait a lot longer than that. Evan Longoria is a potential candidate, though he'll need a significant turnaround from his most recent seasons to pad his case. David Price might wind up being the Rays' best shot, but he just captured his first World Series title in a different uniform.
Wade Boggs (2005)
Joe Cronin (1956)
Bobby Doerr (1986)
Rick Ferrell (1984)
Carlton Fisk (2000)
Jimmie Foxx (1951)
Lefty Grove (1947)
Pedro Martinez (2015)
Jim Rice (2009)
Ted Williams (1966)
Carl Yastrzemski (1989)
There's a mix of slam-dunk choices like Williams and Yastrzemski, along with a few legends like Cronin, Foxx and Grove who could have just easily worn a different club's cap.
Next up? Roger Clemens' case, like that of Bonds, is going to come down to the wire with BBWAA voters, and it's not a stretch to envision Schilling in a Red Sox cap if he makes it over the hump. David Ortiz should inspire plenty of debate in 2022, but the guess here is that his personality and postseason heroics -- not to mention Harold Baines and Edgar Martinez's admission as a designated hitters -- eventually win over voters.
Sparky Anderson (2000)
Johnny Bench (1989)
Barry Larkin (2012)
Ernie Lombardi (1986)
Bill McKechnie (1962)
Joe Morgan (1990)
Tony Perez (2000)
Eppa Rixey (1963)
Edd Roush (1962)
Seaver finally got his no-hitter in a Reds uniform, but he simply meant too much to the Mets not to go in with a New York cap. Morgan actually played nearly as many games in Houston as Cincinnati, but his peak years with the Reds rank alongside the best by any middle infielder in history.
Next up? Pete Rose isn't going into the Hall anytime soon, and so Cincinnati's next hope is probably Joey Votto. His merits have already sparked debate while he's still on the field, but the electorate should be much more sabermetrically inclined once Votto reaches the ballot.
Colorado has been shut out to this point, but the franchise's best chances are on the ballot right now. Larry Walker's huge surge in 2019 puts him on the doorstep of an election that would have seemed highly unlikely a few years ago. Todd Helton faces the same Coors Field bias, but his road stats could help him make the slow climb Walker has made over the past decade.
George Brett (1999)
Brett's name is pretty much synonymous with the Royals franchise, and there was never a doubt about either his election or his cap choice.
Next up? Would Beltran go in with his original club, even if he found more acclaim and October success with other teams down the line? If he doesn't, it's hard to see who else is next for Kansas City. Salvador Perez might have the best shot, particularly if he stays a Royal for the rest of his career.
Goose Goslin (1968)
Bucky Harris (1975)
Walter Johnson (1936)
Sam Rice (1963)
The Senators may have been "first in war and last in the American League," but these four legends represent a pretty decent crop for a franchise that lost as much as Washington did. All four were major contributors to the Senators' only World Series title in 1924, with Harris leading the club as a 27-year-old player-manager.
Cleveland Spiders (defunct)
Cy Young (1937)
How much did Young mean to the Spiders franchise? After he left following the 1898 season, Cleveland went 20-134 (the worst record in NL history) and folded at year's end.
Video: Jack Morris and Alan Trammell sit down with Verducci
Ty Cobb (1936)
Mickey Cochrane (1947)
Sam Crawford (1957)
Hank Greenberg (1956)
Harry Heilmann (1952)
Hughie Jennings (1945)
Al Kaline (1980)
George Kell (1983)
Heinie Manush (1964)
Jack Morris (2018)
Hal Newhouser (1992)
Alan Trammell (2018)
All the Tigers one would expect are listed above, except perhaps second baseman Charlie Gehringer, whose cap is depicted in profile on his plaque.
Next up? Morris and Trammell's elections likely put a bow on Detroit's dominant 1984 World Series champions. Lou Whitaker remains a sentimental favorite in the Motor City, but hasn't found luck with the Veterans Committee to this point. It could come down to whether Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander retires first; both legends should go in as Tigers.
Bert Blyleven (2011)
Rod Carew (1991)
Harmon Killebrew (1984)
Kirby Puckett (2001)
Killebrew and Puckett were no-brainers, and Carew logged five more seasons (and 1,117 more hits) with the Twins than he did with the Angels. Blyleven pitched for five MLB clubs, but began his career with the Twins and came back to help the franchise win its first World Series title in Minneapolis.
Next up? Justin Morneau will bring an MVP and a batting title to the BBWAA's consideration in 2022, but his quick decline makes his election unlikely. Joe Mauer, meanwhile, could be a first-ballot selection when he reaches the ballot in '24.
Luis Aparicio (1984)
Luke Appling (1964)
Red Faber (1964)
Nellie Fox (1997)
Ted Lyons (1955)
Frank Thomas (2014)
Eddie Collins and all-time ERA leader Ed Walsh were both White Sox legends, but each player dons a blank cap from a time before logos were prevalent. Hall of Fame manager Al Lopez helped transform the "Go Go Sox" into an AL powerhouse, but went into the Plaque Gallery with an Indians cap.
Next up? Paul Konerko's popularity might help him garner more BBWAA votes than expected when he lands on the ballot in 2020, but there might be a better chance that Cuban legend Minnie Minoso -- who already has plenty of support from the public -- gets in next via the Veterans Committee.
Video: Mariano Rivera looks back on potential HOF career
Earle Combs (1970)
Bill Dickey (1954)
Joe DiMaggio (1955)
Whitey Ford (1974)
Lou Gehrig (1939)
Lefty Gomez (1972)
Joe Gordon (2009)
Goose Gossage (2008)
Waite Hoyt (1969)
Miller Huggins (1964)
Reggie Jackson (1993)
Tony Lazzeri (1991)
Mickey Mantle (1974)
Joe McCarthy (1957)
Phil Rizzuto (1994)
Red Ruffing (1967)
Babe Ruth (1936)
Casey Stengel (1966)
Joe Torre (2014)
Mariano Rivera (2019)
Rivera is the latest Yankee legend to go into the Hall -- and Mussina could join him if he doesn't wind up representing the O's -- but look closely at the list above and you'll recognize one glaring omission. Yogi Berra played 18 of his 19 seasons in the Bronx and was one of the famous ballplayers on the planet while he wore pinstripes, but the profile view on his plaque leaves no room for the famous "NY" logo.
Next up? There's a shortstop hitting the ballot in 2020 that you might recognize. Cooperstown has been gearing up for years in anticipation of Derek Jeter's induction -- which should shatter the attendance record of 82,000 set by Gwynn and Ripken in 2007.
Hall of Fame players/managers with no cap logoMore »
Grover Cleveland Alexander (1938)
Cap Anson (1939)
Frank "Home Run" Baker (1955)
Dave Bancroft (1971)
Jake Beckley (1971)
Chief Bender (1953)
Yogi Berra (1972)
Jim Bottomley (1974)
Roger Bresnahan (1945)
Dan Brouthers (1945)
Mordecai Brown (1949)
Jesse Burkett (1946)
Jack Chesbro (1946)
Fred Clarke (1945)
John Clarkson (1963)
Eddie Collins (1939)
Jimmy Collins (1945)
Roger Connor (1976)
Ed Delahanty (1945)
Hugh Duffy (1945)
Johnny Evers (1946)
Buck Ewing (1939)
Elmer Flick (1963)
Frankie Frisch (1947)
Pud Galvin (1965)
Charlie Gehringer (1949)
Chick Hafey (1971)
Jesse Haines (1970)
Harry Hooper (1971)
Rogers Hornsby (1942)
Catfish Hunter (1987)
Tim Keefe (1964)
Joe Kelley (1971)
King Kelly (1945)
Tony La Russa (2014)
Greg Maddux (2014)
Rube Marquard (1971)
Joe McGinnity (1946)
Bid McPhee (2000)
Joe Medwick (1968)
Johnny Mize (1981)
Jim O'Rourke (1945)
Mel Ott (1951)
Herb Pennock (1948)
Eddie Plank (1946)
"Old Hoss" Radbourn (1939)
Wilbert Robinson (1945)
Amos Rusie (1977)
Ray Schalk (1955)
Frank Selee (1999)
George Sisler (1939)
Sam Thompson (1974)
Joe Tinker (1946)
Rube Waddell (1946)
Honus Wagner (1936)
Bobby Wallace (1953)
Ed Walsh (1946)
John Montgomery Ward (1964)
Mickey Welch (1973)
Deacon White (2013)
Vic Willis (1995)
"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."
-- Brandy Halladay
"Roy Halladay made an indelible, unforgettable mark on Phillies history during his time with us. From his perfect game to his postseason no-hitter to his Cy Young Award, his accomplishments in red pinstripes are nothing short of legendary, and his placement in the Hall of Fame is well deserved. Even more impressive was the way Roy carried himself off the field, always giving back not just to his teammates, but more so to his community, whether it was here in Philadelphia or in the Pinellas County area. For all he accomplished as a player and everything he stood for as a person, Doc will forever remain in the hearts of Phillies fans everywhere. My heartfelt congratulations go out Brandy, Braden and Ryan."
-- John Middleton, Phillies Managing Partner
"Roy's accomplishments speak for themselves, but what I will always remember is talking to him following his perfect game and how anxious he was to give Chooch all the credit for his performance and that was so typical of how he carried himself during his four years with us. And, of course, we all treasure the watches he gave us. Everyone associated with the team was given a very special memento that said 'We did it together,' which was symbolic of not just Roy the pitcher but also Roy the man."
-- David Montgomery, Phillies Chairman
"People like to throw the word 'ace' around a lot, but Roy Halladay was a true 'ace.' In his time with the Phillies, he completed more games than anyone else in baseball, because his mindset was to pitch at least 9.0 innings. He was one of the most prepared guys I've ever been around and put more work into preparing for his next start than anyone I'd ever seen. Roy had great control with a tremendous arsenal of pitches and even if he didn't have his best stuff on a particular day, he'd still find a way for his team to win. He was an unquestioned leader on our team because with Roy it was never about him, but always about the people around him. We all miss Roy every day and I'm so thankful to have called him a friend. Congratulations to his whole family, especially Brandy, Braden and Ryan, on an honor that is very well deserved."
-- Charlie Manuel
"Roy, much like another Phillies icon, Chase Utley, held himself to the highest standard an athlete could ever hold himself to. His dedication and commitment to the excellence of his craft was second to none. He was a quiet leader who chose to lead by example. Shortly after he retired, we had an opportunity to include Roy as a consultant and his impact, while short-lived, was significant. He was a special man who achieved so much in a relatively short period of time."
-- Ruben Amaro Jr.
"Not only was Doc a great pitcher and teammate, he was an even greater person and a tremendous ambassador for the game of baseball. He loved being in the clubhouse with his sons and having them experience the feeling of being a member of the team. Brandy played such a big role in helping Doc find his way to fame and it will be such a great day for her and the boys, filled with so many different emotions."
-- Rich Dubee
"Roy was such a great family man and teammate, beloved by Phillies fans. His teammates watched him train and I believe that pushed them to be better. He studied the game, its mechanics and mental side and was always willing to share his wealth of knowledge with anyone interested. Roy was indeed a 'man for all seasons.' After retiring, he established an office at the minor league complex to mentor young Phillies, which was his secret love. I could go on and on, but I'll end by thanking the baseball writers who recognized Roy Halladay as a first-ballot member. His family, friends and teammates only wish he could be here."
-- Mike Schmidt, Phillies Hall of Famer
"I enjoyed my short time playing alongside Roy. He was a great competitor who had an impressive work ethic. I'm sure it means so much to his family to have him honored in this way. Welcome to the Hall, Roy."
-- Jim Thome, Hall of Famer
"One of the great pleasures of my career was being able to play behind a man like Roy Halladay. He was fierce. He was competitive. He was focused. But, most of all, he was great. Not just a great player but also a great teammate and a great friend. On the field, Roy wanted nothing more than to bring another championship to Philadelphia. Off the field, he wanted nothing more than to be the best husband and father he could be. He was someone I admired then and still do today. Jen and I send not just our congratulations to Brandy, Braden and Ryan, but also our thanks for sharing Roy with us and the city of Philadelphia."
-- Chase Utley
"Congratulations to Roy and the Halladay family on Roy's induction into baseball's Hall of Fame, a place you knew he was destined for if you ever had the opportunity to witness his dominance! The days Doc would take the ball you knew you had to be your very best because there was zero doubt in anyone's mind that you would receive anything less from him! When Roy decided to come to Philadelphia, it was for one reason, to win a championship, and we wanted nothing more than to share in that moment of glory with him. Although we never accomplished that with him, it doesn't take away from all that he was able to accomplish during his career. Anyone that has ever heard the name Roy Halladay wishes he were here for us all to celebrate this moment of greatness and give thanks for the many memories he gave us on the playing field but even more importantly the ones we all got to create when he took off his Superman cape, gave that big ol' cheesy smile and made you feel like you had known him all your life! Congrats Doc, you are forever enshrined in baseball greatness!!"
-- Jimmy Rollins
"I consider myself very fortunate to have played alongside Roy. He defined work ethic and how to prepare yourself to win. He wasn't about the spotlight and never wanted to take credit away from his teammates. He now finally gets the credit he deserves. He completely reinvented himself in order to succeed at the major league level and in a game of failure he didn't lose much. If you did beat him, he would make sure you never did again. There's a part of him that I take with me every time I prepare for my games and step out onto that mound. I congratulate Brandy, Braden and Ryan on Roy Halladay's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had such an amazing impact on so many baseball players and future stars."
-- Cole Hamels
"There is not another name on the ballot that deserves his place in the Hall of Fame more than Doc! He set the bar for every other starter in the league."
-- Roy Oswalt
"Roy was one of the greatest teammates I have had the pleasure of taking the field with. He was always the professional and he was always the most prepared player on the field, which came from a work ethic off the field that was the best I have ever seen. Roy was one of the fiercest competitors there has ever been."
-- Joe Blanton
"Roy Halladay is a definite first-ballot Hall of Famer. His impact on the game, his teammates, and his craft was undeniable. His peers would tell you that his preparation, execution, desire and commitment to excellence were the best they had ever seen. As a teammate, it was a privilege to participate in and bear witness to his tenacity, competitiveness, execution and all-around greatness. As an opponent, it was an honor to have competed against him regardless of the outcome. Off the field, Doc was a devoted husband, father, friend, teammate and philanthropist, who lent a helping hand to any community he was part of. He embodied everything that is beautiful about baseball and life and everything about him was so authentic. Congratulations to Brandy, Braden, Ryan and the entire Halladay family."
--- Raul Ibanez
"A well-deserved honor for the fiercest competitor I ever had the honor to take the field with. Roy is deeply missed but remembered forever."
-- Jayson Werth
"Roy's numbers speak for themselves, but for me it was his work ethic in between starts and the way he treated and respected the game. I know Roy is smiling down on Brandy and the boys today."
-- Kyle Kendrick
"Roy was the ultimate competitor and workhorse. He (along with Chase) defined what it meant to be the first to show up and the last to leave. His work ethic was only topped by how brilliant his command was and how nasty his pitches were. He went through the best hitters like a hot knife through butter and did it with ideal efficiency. He rose up on the biggest occasions of his career and he always gave you every ounce of energy he had."
-- Brad Lidge
"Congratulations to the Halladay family on an honor bestowed only to those careers that are worthy of Hall of Fame acknowledgment! Roy's work ethic was uncanny and he competed with his teammates over everything, whether it was training physically or mentally. What some may not realize about Roy was how big his heart was. It was an honor to have played with and against a man who I can call a friend."
-- Jamie Moyer
"What a day when a guy who is the epitome of a Hall of Famer actually becomes a Hall of Famer! I couldn't be happier for him and his family. I was fortunate enough to play with someone who was considered larger than life (which he was), but found out he was an even bigger competitor than I thought. On a personal level, Doc treated me like I was someone. I may have just been a utility guy, but Doc saw me as more because he saw me prepare. He was a superstar who had his finger on the pulse of the clubhouse and he knew who prepared to win and who prepared just to prepare. He respected the game more than anything and he respected everything about being a great pitcher who was part of a legacy in Philadelphia!"More »
-- Kevin Frandsen
SEATTLE -- For Edgar Martinez, patience once again has paid off. And this time, the reward is a plaque in Cooperstown.
It took 10 long years of waiting, a decade of wondering, but one of the greatest designated hitters to play the game is headed at last to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Martinez, who spent his entire 18-year Major League career with the Mariners, got the call on Tuesday, his phone ringing as he sat in a New York hotel where he's spending the week on a family vacation.
On the line was Jack O'Connell, the Baseball Writers' Association of America's secretary-treasurer, informing Martinez he had been named on 85.4 percent of the BBWAA ballots and thus exceeded the 75 percent threshold needed for baseball's ultimate honor.
"I didn't know exactly how I'd feel," Martinez said. "But it's an amazing feeling when you get that call. It's just a special moment and something I can share with my family, the people from Puerto Rico and fans from Seattle. It's very special."
For the 56-year-old Martinez, who already has a street and a restaurant in his name in Seattle as well as his retired No. 11 jersey hanging on the center-field facade at the newly renamed T-Mobile Park, Tuesday's news capped a career that spanned the only four playoff runs in Mariners history.
Martinez doesn't show his emotions easily. This is a man who waited to break into the Majors until he was 24 years old, didn't get a full-time starting gig until he was 27 and then proceeded to build a reputation as one of the most-respected right-handed hitters of his generation.
He wound up spending his entire 18-year career in Seattle and he credits Mariners fans with helping get him into the Hall.
"The support from the Mariners and their fans has been incredible, not only through my career, but it's been amazing the last 10 years and even intensified the last few years," he said. "The Mariners put so much work into my candidacy, it's been incredible and it made an impact. The fans, the way they supported me all these years, all that makes a difference. I truly believe I'm here and being inducted because of the Mariners and the fans."
As teammates Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez garnered much of the attention during his early years in Seattle, Martinez quietly went about his business, racking up seven All-Star appearances, two American League batting titles and five Silver Slugger Awards.
While others drew the attention, Martinez drew walks. When he wasn't hitting laser line drives, he was working counts and driving pitchers nuts. Martinez's career line of .312/.418/.515 includes the fourth-highest on-base percentage in MLB history by a right-handed hitter.
Only five players with more than 6,000 career plate appearances -- Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams -- have matched each leg of that career slash line. His career OPS+ of 147 is tied for 42nd all-time with Jim Thome, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey, all Hall of Famers.
Martinez's impeccable patience paid off again in his own Hall of Fame pursuits, as he worked the count full once again -- taking the full 10 years of eligibility before getting over the hump in his last chance. He wouldn't change any of that journey now.
"I'm more mature now," he said. "I think I enjoy it more at this point with my family and the way my kids are older now. It just has a lot of meaning, even more meaning now. The wait worked out well for me."
Martinez will be joined at the July 21 induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., by legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and representatives of the late Roy Halladay, who died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico more than 14 months ago, as well as fellow right-hander Mike Mussina.
Rivera was named on 100 percent of the ballots, breaking the record of 99.32 percent set by Griffey three years ago, while Halladay also had 85.4 percent. Both were on the ballot for the first time this year. Mussina came in at 76.7 percent to round out the four-person class.
Martinez had incredible success against all three new Hall of Famers. He was 11-for-19 with three doubles and two home runs against Rivera, 8-for-18 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs against Halladay and 23-for-75 with five doubles, two triples and five homers against Mussina.
The success against Rivera, the greatest closer in the history of the game, is particularly stunning.
"I knew Mariano sticks with his strengths," Martinez said. "One key for me, I didn't try to do too much against him. If I did, even ahead in the count, I would fail. So I had to simplify and just try to make contact and whatever happens, happens. It never felt like a comfortable at-bat. Mariano was one of the most fearless competitors."
Rivera tipped his cap again to Martinez on Tuesday.
"Edgar was such a great hitter. And a great person," Rivera said. "Especially in my young career, early in my career, I got two strikes on Edgar and the third one would never come up. It would never show up. ... But I'm so grateful that a man like Edgar was able to accomplish the pinnacle every player wants, and that is the Hall of Fame."
Martinez had a chance to take notes on the Hall of Fame process when Griffey -- his teammate for 10 seasons in Seattle -- was inducted two years ago. Now the two will team again in Cooperstown as the only inductees wearing Mariners caps on their plaques.
"I finally got some company," Griffey told Martinez on MLB Network shortly after the voting was announced. "I'm excited. I was just as nervous for him. This is one of those days that the Mariners family will never forget."
Martinez's path was much longer than Griffey's. With voters dealing with a crowded ballot and questions of whether DHs deserved Hall of Fame consideration, Martinez drew voting percentages of 36.2, 32.9, 36.5, 35.9, 25.2 and 27.0 in his first six years on the ballot.
But as voters began trending younger and became more aware of the importance of numbers like OPS+ and the uniqueness of Martinez's combination of power and on-base percentage, his momentum began building. He jumped to 43.4 percent in 2016, then 58.6 and 70.4 the past two years.
Now Martinez has cleared the final hurdle, and all that's left is the induction ceremony, parade and platitudes this July in Cooperstown.More »
NEW YORK -- The pitch that Mariano Rivera refers to as "a gift from God" inexplicably appeared one afternoon in June 1997, as the reliever played catch with a teammate in front of the Yankees' dugout. Each toss darted with wicked movement, and what would be recognized as the most lethal cut fastball in history had been born.
With that magical offering, the regal Rivera destroyed countless bats across big league infields, celebrating championships and eventually standing alone as the all-time saves leader. Time was the only remaining obstacle to his selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a call that came Tuesday as Rivera was unanimously selected to the Class of 2019.
Set to be joined by Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina at next summer's ceremonies on July 21 in Cooperstown, N.Y., Rivera appeared on all 425 ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, making him the first player to be unanimously elected. Class of 2016 member Ken Griffey Jr. previously held the high mark, getting 99.32 percent of the vote.
"All I have to say is thank God for that," Rivera said on MLB Network. "It was a beautiful, long career with the best organization there is in baseball, the New York Yankees. One thing I always remember is wearing No. 42, representing Mr. Jackie Robinson. Me being the last player wearing 42 and being elected to the Hall of Fame unanimously, it's amazing."
Widely considered the greatest relief pitcher ever, Rivera spent his entire career with the Yankees, from 1995-2013, compiling 652 saves while finishing 952 games, both Major League records. His 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are the lowest in the live-ball era among qualified pitchers.
A 13-time All-Star, Rivera was at his finest when the stakes were the highest. He secured 42 saves and owned a 0.70 ERA in the postseason, celebrating five World Series championships. More men have walked on the moon (12) than have scored an earned run off Rivera in the postseason (11).
"Mariano was a fierce competitor and a humble champion, which has made him such a beloved baseball legend," said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. "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 son of a commercial fisherman, Rivera was born in Panama and raised in the modest village of Puerto Caimito, signing with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1990 for a $3,000 bonus. Rivera made his professional debut that summer as a starting pitcher, arriving in the Majors in 1995 before finding his destiny in the bullpen.
"It's humbling to think of the incredible journey that Mariano has had over the course of his life -- his unassuming beginnings in a Panamanian fishing village to pitching for the Yankees under the brightest lights with the world watching," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. "I speak for every Yankees fan when I say how fortunate we were to have had him on our side for so long."
As the setup man for closer John Wetteland, Rivera enjoyed a dominant '96 season that helped give birth to a dynasty, as the Yankees won four of the next five World Series titles. Rivera took over as the full-time closer in 1997, the same year that the cutter first zipped out of his right hand while tossing with reliever Ramiro Mendoza across the turf of Tiger Stadium.
Summoned to the bullpen, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre observed Rivera's discovery, at first tinkering with his grip and arm angle in an effort to restore the ball's straight motion. After a couple of weeks, the Yankees realized how special Rivera's new pitch was, boring in on left-handed hitters and away from righties. It was a gift from the heavens, one that Rivera kept until the end.
"I always said, if it's not broken, why do you want to change something?" Rivera said. "I felt comfortable with the pitch. I knew exactly where I wanted to throw it. I knew exactly what the pitch would do, so I stuck with it."
The unflappable Rivera displayed his smooth, repeatable motion for the final outs of the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 World Series, the only pitcher to throw the last pitches of more than two titles.
"He is absolutely the best," former teammate Paul O'Neill said. "I have said it many times -- we would never have had the run in the '90s without Mo. I don't know many people I respect more than Mariano, because of who he is and how he stayed who he was, even while being the best ever."
Said former teammate Andy Pettitte: "This is a pretty obvious statement, but I wouldn't want anyone else closing out a game that I started."
Even in rare defeats, Rivera stood apart: after permitting a Series-deciding hit to the D-backs' Luis Gonzalez in the 2001 Fall Classic, Rivera calmly sat at his locker until the final questions were answered.
"Mariano is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime pitcher, and the greatest closer to ever play the game of baseball," former teammate Jorge Posada said. "There was such a humility and grace to the way he did his job -- day after day and year after year. I'm so proud of everything he has accomplished, and I'm ecstatic that he and his family can celebrate this ultimate honor."
For a generation of fans, Rivera's entry signified dominance and -- more often than not -- a Yankees victory. Early in 1999, Rivera's emergence from the right-field bullpen at Yankee Stadium began to be accompanied by the strains of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," a heavy-metal song that clashed with Rivera's Christian music preferences.
Yet the image of Rivera jogging to the mound, No. 42 stitched upon his back, made for tremendous theater. Exit light, enter night. Rivera never complained about the song, embracing the effusive reaction it produced from packed houses in The Bronx. Beloved for his consistency, Rivera saved at least 25 games in 15 consecutive seasons and posted a sub-2.00 ERA 11 times.
"I had the best seat in the house from center field, watching him pitch," Bernie Williams said. "It was mind-boggling to see him literally just mow down hitters. Mariano would cause more broken bats in one inning than most starters had in an entire game. If we had a lead in the ninth inning, the game was over."
At age 42, Rivera had privately decided that 2012 would be his final season, a plan that was altered that May when he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while tracking a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City. Rivera vowed that he was "not going out like this," and his subsequent return in 2013 sparked a league-wide celebration.
Each Yankees road trip prompted outpourings of love and respect for the hurler, who reciprocated by personally thanking fans and employees at each stop. Rivera spent time with groundskeepers, soldiers and students while receiving numerous gifts and donations for his foundation.
"No matter how big a star he became, he never failed to carry himself with unerring professionalism and class," Cashman said. "Mo was always someone who I could point to and say, 'That's what a Yankee should be like.'"
The Yankees held a fine celebration in late September, escorting Rivera to his rightful place in Monument Park while retiring his No. 42 for all time. Raising his palms with gratitude toward the Stadium's most distant seats on a sun-splashed afternoon, Rivera acknowledged the rhythmic chanting of his first name, and that his place among the legends was secure.
Now, as the first unanimous Hall of Famer, it is even more so.
"The Lord blessed me and opened a door for me to become the New York Yankees' closer," Rivera said. "We had 25 tremendous players, nine on the field and the others waiting on the bench to take action. I can never say that I accomplished [this on my own], because it would be impossible. We accomplished through all 25 players, and that is the beauty about it."More »
Roy Halladay's death still has an unreal quality to it, even now, almost 15 months later. His remarkable life was one of joy and accomplishment, of confronting failure and ultimately achieving greatness with dignity, resilience and tenacity. He so often seemed indestructible.
Those are the things Halladay's family and friends will celebrate this summer when he's inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Halladay received baseball's highest honor on Tuesday in his first year of eligibility in a moment awash with sadness, pain and sweet memories. He was named on 363 of 425 ballots, garnering 85.4 percent of the vote to smash the required 75-percent threshold.
Halladay died Nov. 7, 2017, when the single-engine light-sport plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, Fla. He was 40 years old. Back and shoulder injuries had ended Halladay's 16-season Major League career -- 12 for the Blue Jays, four for the Phillies -- in '13.
Halladay's journey to greatness was even more remarkable because he had to confront failure early in his career. He defeated it and rode its lessons to greatness. Halladay ended up an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young Award winner who finished in the top five of voting on five other occasions.
Halladay was also a three-time 20-game winner who amassed 203 victories with a 3.38 ERA. During an 11-season stretch between 2001-11, he was one of baseball's most dominant pitchers.
That era was highlighted by one of the great postseason performances of all-time: Halladay's no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of a National League Division Series in 2010. In five postseason starts in '10 and '11, he had a 2.37 ERA and went at least seven innings in four of them.
In those 11 seasons of greatness, Halladay's 65.5 Wins Above Replacement (per Baseball-Reference) led all pitchers by a wide margin. He ranked fourth in innings (2,300), third in ERA (2.96, minimum 1,000 innings) and third in WHIP (1.11, minimum 100 innings) over the stretch. Halladay's 64 complete games during the span were 30 more than any other pitcher and more than 18 teams posted.
But before the success, Halladay faced struggles. When he was 24 years old, having endured a miserable 2000 season (10.64 ERA in 19 appearances), the Blue Jays sent him to Class A Advanced Dunedin in the hope he would reinvent himself.
There, with the assistance of Blue Jays pitching guru Mel Queen and others, Halladay reworked his pitching mechanics, adding movement to his fastball and deception to his delivery. He also began working with the late Harvey Dorfman -- a legendary sports psychologist and author of "The Mental ABC's of Pitching" -- who helped, among others, Hall of Famer John Smoltz.
That was that. Halladay went 41-14 with a 3.10 ERA and 505 1/3 innings over his next two full seasons for the Blue Jays. He was 148-76 during his Toronto years and 40-16 in his first two seasons in Philly.
Halladay was traded to the Phillies after the 2009 season and helped them win the NL East in '10 and '11. On May 29, 2010, he pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League history, needing just 115 pitches while striking out 11 Marlins in South Florida.
"There were guys who threw harder and had better breaking balls," said Buck Martinez, who managed Halladay with the Blue Jays. "But Halladay's strength was that he put his foot on your throat the whole game. Body language is everything, and his says, 'I'm better than you.'"
During a celebration of Halladay's life in Clearwater, Fla., shortly after his death, he was remembered as a great husband, father, teammate and friend.
"He was not a one-dimensional man," Phillies teammate Raul Ibanez said. "Who he was, everything about him was just great and grace. He carried himself with class and confidence and humility."
Former Blue Jays and Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, one of Halladay's closest friends, said when the two were planning an offseason fishing trip to South America, Halladay reminded him to bring his glove so they could get their throwing in.
That was the trip during which they swam in the Amazon.
"Remember now, we're in the jungle," Carpenter said. "The water is clear as a cup of coffee and we've been catching piranha all day. I told him, 'You're nuts.'"
"Now come on, Carp," Halladay said. "We can say we swam in the Amazon River. Who do we know who can ever say that?"
Carpenter and Halladay faced off in a decisive NLDS Game 5 in 2011. Carpenter and the Cardinals won, 1-0.
"Doc texted me after Game 5," Carpenter said. "I was on the bus. He was in front of his locker. There he was, he'd just pitched his heart out, and he wanted to congratulate me and wish me luck the rest of the way."
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley showed up at 5:45 a.m. on the first day of Spring Training in Halladay's first spring with the club in 2010. Utley wanted to be there first to send a message to his teammates about the tone they should set for the season.
At that early hour, Utley found Halladay had already worked out and was having breakfast hours before the Phillies were scheduled to report.
"I knew then and there this guy was the real deal," Utley said.More »
For one of the most accomplished pitchers of his generation, the climb to Cooperstown was methodical. On Tuesday, Mike Mussina completed that march toward immortality. The Baseball Writers' Association of America voted Mussina into the Hall of Fame, where he will be inducted as part of a six-man class this July.
A model of consistency during his 18-year career, Mussina appeared on 326 of 425 ballots. That earned him 76.7 percent of vote, just past the 75 percent threshold for induction, in his sixth year of eligibility. His election puts a bow on a career Mussina essentially split between Baltimore and New York, winning 270 games, posting a 3.68 ERA and earning five All-Star selections.
Mussina will be enshrined alongside his former teammate in New York, Mariano Rivera, who was selected unanimously in his first year of eligibility, as well as Mariners DH Edgar Martinez (85.4 percent), late Phillies and Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay (85.4 percent), and Today's Game Era Committee selections Lee Smith and Harold Baines.
"When you start doing this for a living you don't ever think you'll be talking about the Hall of Fame," Mussina said. "I'm honored and thankful and blessed that a kid from the country got a chance to go out, play a game and accomplish something like this."
A first-round Draft pick by the Orioles out of Stanford in 1990, Mussina spent much of the next two decades thriving as a pillar of dependability in the ultra-competitive American League East. From 1992-2008, Mussina ranked second among full-time starters in wins (266), third in starts (524) and innings (3,475), fifth in WAR (80.7), seventh in winning percentage (.643) and eighth in strikeout-to-walk rate (3.61). He is one of seven pitchers since 1969 to put together nine seasons of at least 200 innings and a 125 ERA+, and he did so during one of the most hitter-dominant eras in baseball history.
Six of those campaigns came in Baltimore, where Mussina built a reputation as one of the game's smartest pitchers and fiercest competitors. He spent a decade with the Orioles, going 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA and finishing at least fifth in Cy Young Award voting five times. He also won the first four of his eventual seven Gold Gloves with the O's, and remains among qualified franchise leaders in a slew of major categories, including wins (third), starts (288, fifth) and WHIP (1.18, sixth).
His production hardly wavered with the Yankees, who signed Mussina to a six-year, $88.5 million contract after the 2000 season. He'd go 123-72 with a 3.68 ERA across eight years in pinstripes.
"Unlike the big arms that dominate today's pitching landscape, Mike was a quintessential craftsman, who played up to his strengths and hunted for the weaknesses in his opposition -- before that level of preparation was a commonplace thing to do," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "More importantly though, he was a gamer, plain and simple. He wanted the ball, and did everything within his power to get himself ready to contribute."
Because of the symmetry of his production, which cap Mussina's plaque will be adorned with remains an open question.
"We got a little time to figure out what the best plan is," Mussina said. "I know a few guys have gone in without anything on their hat. Both organizations were tremendously valuable and important in my career. I wouldn't be sitting here if it weren't for Baltimore and New York."
The right-hander was his reliable self in a significant postseason sample size, going 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA across 23 playoffs games (21 starts). Mussina served as the ace for playoff-bound teams in Baltimore in 1996 and 1997, and his playoff ERA shrunk to 2.53 in six starts for the O's. But his shining postseason moment may have been for the Yankees, when Mussina tossed three innings of scoreless relief to keep the New York in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
"Moose was the most intelligent pitcher I ever caught," former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. "He made catching fun, because he was so well prepared. When we took the field together, he was always two steps ahead of everyone else wearing a uniform."
In all, Mussina ranked among the AL's top 10 pitchers in bWAR 11 times, WHIP 12 times, strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings 10 times, and walks per nine and strikeout-to-walk ratio 15 times. He punctuated his career by becoming a 20-game winner for the first time, in 2008, at age 39. Mussina then promptly retired, 30 wins shy of 2000 and 187 strikeouts away from 3,000.
But his inability to reach those milestones has mattered less and less to voters over the years, as the BBWAA's ever-progressive electorate grew to value more advanced statistics. Many point to markers like ERA+, WHIP, Fielding Independent Pitching and Wins Above Replacement as truer indicators of the value Mussina provided during the hitter-happy era in which he played.
In many ways, the consistency with which Mussina's Hall case trended upward mirrored the steadiness of his on-field production. Support for Mussina grew regularly since he debuted with 20.3 percent in 2014, his first year on the ballot. That improved to 24.6 percent the following year before mushrooming to 43 percent in 2016. Mussina enjoyed bumps to 51.8 percent in 2017 and 63.5 percent in 2018. He earned 58 more votes this year, despite an increase of only three ballots cast.
"I'm honestly honored, surprised a little bit," Mussina said. "It's been a steady climb and I appreciate people staying with me, doing the research and feeling that I'm worthy of this honor."More »
When the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) announced the results of its Hall of Fame voting on Tuesday night, there was much to celebrate. Four players joined the Class of 2019: Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera, who became the first player voted in unanimously. (Harold Baines and Lee Smith also were selected last month by the Today's Game Era Committee.)
Halladay and Rivera brought the total of first-ballot inductees since 2014 to 12, but only two other debut players received the requisite 5 percent of the vote from the BBWAA in order to remain eligible in '20. Former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton started with 16.5 percent support, while Rivera's longtime Yankees teammate, Andy Pettitte, was at 9.9 percent.
However, for most players who appear on the ballot for the first time, it's also the last -- a chance to tip their caps for a fine career, but nothing more. Here is a look at the 16 talented and accomplished players who fit that description this year, listed in order of career wins above replacement (WAR) , according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Lance Berkman (52.1 WAR)
The story with Berkman was simple -- he could flat-out hit. The six-time All-Star, who spent 12 of his 15 seasons with Houston, slashed .293/.406/.537 with 366 home runs over his career. His 144 OPS+ -- adjusted for ballpark and era -- ranks 33rd among all modern players (minimum 7,000 plate appearances), higher than Hall of Famers such as Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews and Vladimir Guerrero. Berkman almost exactly matched his batting line over 52 career postseason games, playing an integral role in the Cardinals' 2011 World Series victory over the Rangers.
Roy Oswalt (50.1 WAR)
Berkman's longtime Astros teammate was on a path toward the Hall of Fame, but started only 15 games after his age-33 season in 2011. Before that, the three-time All-Star was consistently one of the top pitchers in the game. In five of his first six seasons, he was a top-five National League Cy Young Award finisher. Not bad for a smaller right-hander who was a 23rd-round Draft pick out of a Mississippi community college.
Miguel Tejada (47.3 WAR)
He could get overshadowed at times by his era's other shortstops -- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra among them -- but Tejada was one of the most productive position players in MLB for a sizeable stretch. From 2001-06, he played 162 games every single season while batting .300/.351/.501 and averaging 29 homers and 116 RBIs. The '02 AL MVP moved from Oakland to Baltimore in '04 and led the league with 150 RBIs that year.
Placido Polanco (41.5 WAR)
Mostly a second baseman and third baseman, Polanco played for four teams over 16 seasons and quietly put together a stellar resume that included a .297 batting average and more than 2,100 hits. His best season came for the Tigers in 2007, when Polanco batted .341 and took home Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.
Freddy Garcia (34.4 WAR)
The right-hander was a two-time All-Star with Seattle early in his career after coming over from Houston in the Randy Johnson trade. White Sox fans will never forget his role in the team's 2005 championship, which included a complete-game victory in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series and seven scoreless innings in Game 4 of the World Series.
Derek Lowe (34.4 WAR)
Speaking of postseason heroics, Lowe started and won Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, as the Red Sox completed their sweep of the Cardinals to end their infamous championship drought. Lowe is one of seven pitchers to start and relieve more than 300 times apiece, racking up 42 saves in 2000 and 21 wins in '02.
Kevin Youkilis (32.6 WAR)
It wasn't a long career, but Youkilis made himself into a Boston favorite during his time with the Red Sox. From 2006-11, the patient corner infielder batted .292/.392/.500 for a 130 OPS+.
Vernon Wells (28.5 WAR)
The three-time All-Star won three Gold Glove Awards as a center fielder during his heyday with the Blue Jays. At the plate, Wells topped 30 homers and 100 RBIs three times each.
Ted Lilly (27.1 WAR)
The well traveled southpaw was traded four times and pitched for six teams over 15 seasons, nabbing a pair of All-Star selections and reaching double digits in wins each year from 2003-11.
Travis Hafner (24.8 WAR)
The big left-handed batter's peak was short but impressive. With Cleveland from 2004-06, Hafner batted .308/.419/.611, led the AL in OPS+ twice and walloped 103 home runs.
Michael Young (24.6 WAR)
A Rangers franchise cornerstone, Young made seven All-Star teams in Texas. He finished with 2,375 career hits and a .300 average -- topping that mark seven times while winning a batting title in 2005.
Jason Bay (24.6 WAR)
The 2004 NL Rookie of the Year with the Pirates posted a 131 OPS+ and averaged 30 homers and 99 RBIs over his first six full seasons in Pittsburgh and Boston.
Jon Garland (22.5 WAR)
The workhorse right-hander had at least 32 starts, 190 innings and 10 wins in each season from 2002-10, teaming with Garcia in the rotation for the championship-winning '05 White Sox.
Darren Oliver (22.2 WAR)
Pitching for the Rangers and eight other clubs between 1993-2013, Oliver transitioned from rotation to bullpen, finishing with 229 starts and more than 500 relief appearances.
Juan Pierre (17.1 WAR)
A speedy outfielder with six teams over 14 seasons, Pierre collected more than 2,200 hits and is one of 10 players with 600-plus career steals since 1920. His exploits from the leadoff spot helped spark the Marlins on their 2003 championship run.
Rick Ankiel (8.9 WAR)
Nobody else has authored a career quite like Ankiel's. He was a sensation as a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher with the Cardinals in 2000, but after his control infamously vanished and injuries struck, he enjoyed a solid second career as an outfielder. Ankiel returned to the Cardinals in '07 and smacked 25 homers with a .506 slugging percentage the next year.
Now 39, Ankiel is attempting yet another comeback -- this time as a pitcher. However, elbow surgery has delayed that quest.More »
The Baseball Writers' Association of America just rattled off one of its most prolific five-year Hall of Fame voting periods ever, and it's all but certain to vote at least one more player in next year, when a certain Yankees hero lands on the ballot for the first time.
Now that we know who will comprise the Class of 2019 at this July's Induction ceremony in Cooperstown, here's a look ahead to the major storylines that should surround the BBWAA's Class of 2020 ballot.
The Captain's coronation
Hall of Fame employees and Cooperstown residents alike have been preparing for 2020 for years now, all because of one slam-dunk electee: Derek Jeter. One of the most popular players in baseball history, Jeter has a chance to achieve something his longtime teammate, Mariano Rivera, just became the first player to do: get selected unanimously by BBWAA voters. Even if Jeter doesn't reach 100 percent, his Induction ceremony could break the current attendance record of roughly 82,000 who watched Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. receive their plaques in 2007. It could even be the first six-digit Cooperstown crowd in history -- if this year's event doesn't reach that mark first.
Will this be their year?
Larry Walker's recent surge toward 75 percent -- he just jumped from 34.1 to 54.6 percent in his ninth year of eligibility -- mirrors Martinez in many ways, and the Rockies star is hoping for similar final-year magic. Few believed Walker would have a chance at a BBWAA election last year at this time, but voters appear to be overcoming a Coors Field bias and recognizing Walker's strong numbers away from Denver. If elected, Walker would be the first player to don a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
This year's voting cycle saw three divisive candidates in Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling make moderate gains in their push for election, but the clock is ticking. Each player's contributions to baseball history itself is unquestioned, but a large swath of BBWAA members will never cast a vote for this trio based on either allegations of performance-enhancing drugs in the case of Bonds and Clemens, or the post-career controversy that has accompanied Schilling. All three players have just three years of BBWAA eligibility remaining, and their recent ballot stagnation could bring their cases to a dramatic conclusion in 2022.
The clock is also ticking for a host of down-ballot candidates who need to start gaining momentum, including Sammy Sosa (entering his eighth year of eligibility), Jeff Kent (seventh), Gary Sheffield (sixth), Billy Wagner (fifth), Manny Ramirez (fourth), Scott Rolen (third), Omar Vizquel (third) and Todd Helton (second). Fred McGriff fell off the ballot after failing to reach 75 percent on his 10th and final year of eligibility, but a strong final-year bump should help him get strong consideration from the Veterans Committee down the line.
The other first-timers
Besides Jeter, no other player joining next year's ballot is a lock for induction, and all might struggle to even get the 5 percent support needed to move forward. With that said, at least a few first-timers have a case and figure to garner some degree of support.
Bobby Abreu wasn't widely regarded as a Hall of Famer during his 18-year career, which included just two All-Star selections and no top-10 finishes in voting for the Most Valuable Player Award. Yet the longtime Phillie posted the kind of stellar overall numbers that could catch the attention of more analytically inclined modern voters. Abreu finished his career with a .291/.395/.475 line (128 OPS+), nearly 2,500 hits and exactly 400 stolen bases and 60 WAR.
Jason Giambi has some flashy accomplishments on his resume, including 440 home runs and the 2000 American League MVP Award for Oakland. But the slugger's ties to performance-enhancing drugs will cloud the picture as they have for many others in recent years.
Johan Santana fell off the ballot on his first try a year ago, and another talented lefty with an excellent peak but short career will try to avoid the same fate. Cliff Lee's case basically boils down to a six-year span from 2008-13 in which he posted a 2.89 ERA (140 ERA+) and 6.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and won a Cy Young Award.
Paul Konerko spent almost his whole career with the White Sox -- helping them win the 2005 World Series --- and posted some solid counting stats, including 439 homers. But there's a high bar for first basemen, and Konerko's lack of positional, defensive and baserunning value held him under 30 career WAR.
While the 2020 ballot won't officially be set for some time, several other big names are expected to be included, even if it's difficult to imagine them attracting enough support to avoid going one and done. That list includes Josh Beckett, Eric Chavez, Adam Dunn, Rafael Furcal, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Pena, Brian Roberts, and Alfonso Soriano.More »
Mariano Rivera's journey to Cooperstown included 652 regular-season saves and another 42 in the postseason, so there was no shortage of options in choosing the closer's greatest career highlights.
To honor the first player to be unanimously selected to the Hall of Fame, MLB.com looks at 13 moments that made Rivera a legendary presence on the mound -- one for each of his All-Star appearances.
1. Seventh heaven
Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series had already seen a full postseason's worth of drama by the time Rivera took the mound in the top of the ninth with the Yankees and Red Sox tied 5-5. Rivera allowed two hits over three scoreless innings, throwing 48 pitches to set the stage for Aaron Boone's pennant-clinching home run to lead off the 11th inning. Overcome with emotion, the closer ran to the mound and collapsed to his knees. With one run allowed over eight innings in four appearances, Rivera earned ALCS MVP honors.
2. The best team ever
Rivera and the Yankees won 114 games during the 1998 regular season, but anything short of a World Series title would have rendered their year unsatisfying. Rivera -- who had experienced a rare failure during the previous postseason, his first as a closer -- responded with an October to remember, throwing 13 1/3 scoreless innings over 10 appearances. He went 6-for-6 in save opportunities, including three against the Padres in the Fall Classic, recording the final out of the World Series for the first time in his career on Oct. 21, 1998, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It would not be the last.
Rivera closed out his second straight World Series as the Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the Braves on Oct. 27, 1999, in the Bronx. For the second year in a row, the closer was flawless in October, as Rivera threw 12 1/3 scoreless innings over eight appearances. His World Series line: 4 2/3 scoreless innings, one win and two saves, earning him series MVP honors for the first time.
4. A milestone day
Rivera entered the Yankees' game at Citi Field against the Mets in the eighth inning on June 28, 2009, looking to lock down the 500th save of his career. He accomplished that feat with a four-out save, but it was his bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth that served as the day's biggest highlight as Rivera picked up the only RBI of his career.
5. King of Queens
Playing in his 13th and final All-Star Game in 2013, Rivera jogged in from the Citi Field bullpen only to find an empty field. AL manager Jim Leyland opted to bring in Rivera for the eighth to make sure he got into the game, then held his team back while the greatest closer of all-time soaked in the lengthy standing ovation from the New York crowd. Rivera pitched a scoreless inning in the AL's 3-0 win, earning MVP honors.
6. No. 602
Rivera had already joined Trevor Hoffman as the only closers in history to reach the 500- and 600-save marks, but No. 602 officially moved the Yankee into rarified air. On Sept. 19, 2011, Rivera recorded the final three outs against the Twins at Yankee Stadium, striking out Chris Parmelee to become the Majors' all-time saves leader.
7. Welcome to October
All legends start somewhere, and for Rivera, it was at the old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 4, 1995. The right-hander entered Game 2 of the ALDS with the Yankees trailing the Mariners, 5-4, in the top of the 12th inning. Rivera struck out Jay Buhner to end the inning, then watched the Yanks tie the game in the bottom of the frame. He retired 10 of the 12 batters he faced, keeping Seattle off the board through the 15th before Jim Leyritz won it for New York in the bottom of the 15th. The most brilliant postseason performer of all-time had been officially introduced to the baseball world.
8. There's only one first
Rivera had not yet assumed the Yankees' closer role in 1996, but he made his presence felt with a stellar season as a setup man, finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting. With the Yankees on the verge of their first World Series title since 1978, Rivera sat down six of the seven Braves he faced in Game 6 of the World Series, pitching two scoreless innings before handing off to closer John Wetteland. That season would mark the first of Rivera's five World Series championships.
9. New York, New York
For all of the Yankees' success, no series meant more to the team's fan base than the 2000 World Series against the crosstown-rival Mets. Although Rivera allowed a pair of runs in a non-save situation in Game 2, he rebounded with saves in Games 4 and 5 to close out the Yanks' third straight championship. The Oct. 26 clincher at Shea Stadium saw Mike Piazza step to the plate as the tying run, but Rivera got him to fly out to Bernie Williams to secure the title. That marked Rivera's seventh career World Series save, establishing a new record.
10. Back on top
It had been nine years since the Yankees had won the World Series, but the "Core Four" of Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada helped guide New York back to the Fall Classic in the first year at the new Yankee Stadium. On Nov. 4, 2009, the Yanks handed their legendary closer a four-run lead in Game 6, then watched Rivera get the final five outs against the Phillies to wrap up the fifth championship of his career.
11. Fond farewell
The Yankees were still mathematically alive for postseason contention, but their game on Sept. 21, 2008, against the Orioles was about much more. In the final game ever to be played at the old Yankee Stadium, Rivera took the mound with a four-run lead in the ninth, making quick work of Baltimore with an 11-pitch inning. Although the Yanks went on to miss the playoffs, there was no more fitting sight than that of Rivera closing out one last game to send the ballpark out on a winning note.
12. Monuments are forever
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed Sept. 22, 2013, as "Mariano Rivera Day," setting up a memorable day in the Bronx. During a 50-minute pregame ceremony, the Yankees retired his No. 42 and hung a plaque for him in Monument Park, making him the first active player to earn those honors. To cap off the ceremony, Metallica took the field to perform "Enter Sandman," which Rivera had used as his entrance music for the majority of his career.
13. 'It's time to go'More »
Rivera's final big league appearance on Sept. 26, 2013, wouldn't be a save situation -- or even a Yankees victory. With New York trailing Tampa Bay, 4-0, Rivera recorded the final two outs of the eighth and the first two outs of the ninth before manager Joe Girardi sent Jeter and Pettitte to the mound to remove their longtime teammate for the final time. 'It's time to go,' Jeter said, getting a laugh from Rivera before the closer broke out into tears, burying his face in Pettitte's shoulder before soaking in the extended ovation from a grateful home crowd.
SEATTLE -- As Edgar Martinez is finally headed to Cooperstown, here are 11 favorite moments from No. 11's career with the Mariners.
1. The Double
Without a doubt, this is the magical memory most associated with Martinez by Mariners fans. With the Mariners trailing the Yankees, 5-4, in the bottom of the 11th of the deciding fifth game of the 1995 American League Division Series in the Kingdome, Joey Cora reached on a bunt and Ken Griffey Jr. singled to put runners on first and third. Up strode Edgar, who drove an 0-1 pitch from Jack McDowell down the left-field line to score both runners, resulting in the momentous scene of Griffey grinning from the bottom of the pile at home plate and Edgar swarmed by teammates at second. The walkoff double was one of three hits by Edgar in a game that sent the Mariners to the AL Championship Series and many credit with saving baseball in Seattle, as the momentum of the franchise's first playoff season led to the building of Safeco Field.
2. Grand salami time
It's less recalled than the double, but a day earlier, Edgar's grand slam broke a 6-6 tie in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Yankees and set up the following night's drama. In this one on Oct. 7, 1995, bottom of the eighth, bases loaded in front of another raucous sellout crowd in the Kingdome, Martinez unleashed the go-ahead blast to dead center field, scoring Vince Coleman, Cora and Junior. Martinez also hit a three-run homer in the third to keep the Mariners in the game after they'd fallen behind, 5-0, and wound up with three hits, a walk and seven RBIs in the 11-8 win.
3. He loved the playoffs
Martinez's postseason heroics weren't limited to the Yankees. He went deep off Chuck Finley on the first pitch he saw in the first inning of Game 2 of the 2001 ALDS to give Seattle a 4-0 lead against Cleveland, en route to a 5-1 win as the Mariners evened a series they'd go on to win, 3-2, and advance to that year's ALCS against the Yankees. Martinez had two homers and a double along with five RBIs in the series.
4. The curtain call
Martinez's final game came at Safeco Field on Oct. 3, 2004, and Edgar ended it right. Though the final box score wasn't drawn up by Hollywood -- an 0-for-4 in a 3-0 loss to the Rangers -- there were enough goosebumps and moist eyes to last a lifetime as Martinez circled the stadium to exchange high fives with every fan along the rail at game's end.
5. Third time -- or time at third -- was the charm
Martinez hadn't played third base since July 2, 1997, until manager Bob Melvin sent him out to the hot corner in the ninth inning of his second-to-last game at Safeco, on Oct. 2, 2004, against the Rangers. Melvin only left his aging star there for one pitch -- an outside fastball taken by Aaron Taylor -- before replacing him with Willie Bloomquist. But the crowd went crazy and the game had to be stopped after Martinez left the field, before he returned to tip his cap to the Seattle faithful.
6. Where it all began
Martinez was never known for his speed. But the first hit of his career? A triple, of course. It came in front of a sparse Kingdome crowd of 7,839 on Sept. 14, 1987. As a late-season callup getting his first career start, he laced a shot to center leading off the second inning against the Indians' Reggie Ritter. Martinez turned out to be an extra-base machine in his 18-year career, ripping 514 doubles and 309 home runs. But that was one of just 15 triples in his 8,674 plate appearances.
7. A trophy in his name
Martinez was such a dominant force at designated hitter that then-Commissioner Bud Selig decided to name the annual outstanding DH award after him upon his retirement. Selig made the announcement during Martinez's retirement ceremony at Safeco Field during his last weekend as a player. Martinez had won five of the DH honors before his name was placed permanently on the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year trophy.
8. Milestone moments
Martinez always bedeviled the Yankees, and he did it once again in his final season when he drove in four runs in a 6-2 victory on May 7, 2004, with his 500th career double and 299th home run. The double was a two-run shot off Jon Lieber to give Seattle a 2-0 lead and led to a standing ovation from the Safeco crowd of 46,491, but Martinez missed his curtain call because he'd broken his bat earlier in the count and was in the clubhouse finding a replacement.
Five days later, he ripped his 300th career homer off Brad Radke in Minnesota, becoming the sixth player in MLB history to reach 300 homers, 500 doubles and 1,000 walks with a .300-plus average and .400-plus on-base percentage. The first five to accomplish that feat: Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Rogers Hornsby.
9. Following Clemente's footsteps
Martinez had plenty of moments away from the diamond as well, devoting considerable time and effort to community projects and charities in his adopted home of Seattle. While the humble Martinez never pushed for publicity for his charitable efforts, he was bestowed the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004 in honor of his community service. Martinez became the first Puerto Rican to win the prestigious award and credited Clemente with being the player who inspired him to play baseball as a child.
10. Slammin' good times
On Aug. 29, 2000, Edgar launched his third grand slam of the season, a two-out shot in the bottom of the eighth off Jeff Nelson to give Seattle a 5-3 win over the Yankees. Martinez's slam scored Carlos Guillen, Rickey Henderson and Stan Javier after Andy Pettitte had loaded the bases and Nelson struck out A-Rod for the second out. Martinez led the AL with 145 RBIs that season and hit a career-high 37 homers.
11. It's a light bat!More »
Edgar was a commercial success in Seattle as well, with his understated dry humor in Mariners TV spots only further cementing his popularity with fans. They got endless chuckles from Martinez using power tools to carve out a "light bat," to inventing the "clapper" to turn the lights on and off at Safeco Field or teaching English words like "gooey duck" and local city "Puyallup" to Mariners rookies. And he capped things off perfectly with his "mic drop" bat flip demonstration to Mariners home run hitters while serving as hitting coach in 2017.
After a career full of iconic moments for two franchises -- from the complete games and first Cy Young Award with the Blue Jays to his perfect game and postseason no-hitter with the Phillies -- Roy Halladay is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The late, great right-hander, who died at age 40 in a plane crash in 2017, was announced as one of the four members of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2019 on Tuesday. He was named on 85.4 percent of the 425 ballots cast, easily surpassing the required 75 percent.
One of the greatest players in Toronto franchise history, a leader of some of the most dominant rotations ever to take the mound in Philadelphia and one of the true workhorse aces of the modern game, Halladay will be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., this July.
Here's how he got there.
May 14, 1977: Halladay is born in Denver.
June 3, 1995: The Blue Jays select Halladay with the 17th overall pick in the MLB Draft out of Arvada (Colo.) West HS. That first round also featured Darin Erstad (No. 1 overall), Kerry Wood (No. 4) and Todd Helton (No. 8) -- and Halladay's career WAR of 64.3 is best of the group (Helton next at 61.2).
Sept. 20, 1998: Halladay makes his MLB debut for Toronto, facing the Devil Rays at Tropicana Field. He struck out the first batter he faced, Randy Winn, and went on to throw five innings of three-run ball in a no-decision. Halladay was in line for the win until Fred McGriff hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning.
Sept. 27, 1998: In his second career start, on the final day of the 1998 regular season, Halladay has a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth inning on a solo homer by Tigers pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson. He still finished off the one-hitter -- the first of his 67 career complete games -- and got his first win.
2001: The Blue Jays send Halladay to the Minors after a 2000 season in which he struggled to a 10.64 ERA. Working with pitching instructor Mel Queen, Halladay changed his delivery to a three-quarters arm angle, which let him develop his trademark sinker.
July 7, 2002: Halladay makes his first of eight All-Star teams. He pitched one inning, striking out Sammy Sosa but allowing a homer to Barry Bonds.
Sept. 6, 2003: Halladay throws a 10-inning, three-hit shutout against the Tigers at the SkyDome -- the first shutout of more than nine innings in MLB since Jack Morris' in Game 7 of 1991 World Series.
Nov. 11, 2003: Halladay wins his first Cy Young Award after going 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA for the Blue Jays while leading the Majors with 266 innings pitched, nine complete games and two shutouts. No pitcher has eclipsed 260 innings in a season since.
April 13, 2007: Halladay throws another 10-inning complete game -- also against the Tigers -- the last complete game of more than nine innings in the Majors to date.
May 31, 2007: With seven shutout innings to beat the White Sox at Rogers Centre, Halladay notches his 100th career win.
July 14, 2009: Halladay gets the All-Star Game start for the American League after going 10-3 with a 2.85 ERA, three complete games and one shutout in the first half.
Dec. 16, 2009: After 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay is traded to the Phillies. He ended his Toronto tenure with a 148-76 record, 3.43 ERA, 1,495 strikeouts, 49 complete games and 15 shutouts. He ranks second in franchise history in wins, strikeouts and shutouts, and third in complete games.
April 5, 2010: Halladay starts on Opening Day, making his Phillies debut. He throws seven innings of one-run baseball and strikes out nine to beat the Nationals.
May 29, 2010: Doc spun the 20th perfect game in MLB history, an 11-strikeout masterpiece against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. It was the second perfect game in Phillies history, after Jim Bunning's in 1964. "It's never something that you think is possible," Halladay said after the game.
Sept. 27, 2010: With the Phillies' magic number at 1, Halladay takes the mound for his final start of the regular season and throws a two-hit shutout against the Nationals to clinch the division -- the Phillies' fourth straight NL East title.
Oct. 6, 2010: After 13 years in the Majors, Halladay finally got to pitch in the postseason for the first time. And he threw a no-hitter. In Game 1 of the NL Division Series, Halladay no-hit the Reds in front of 46,411 fans at Citizens Bank Park, joining Don Larsen as the only pitchers in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason. He became the first pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters in a season since Nolan Ryan in 1973.
"It's hard to explain, but pitching a game like that, being able to win the game comes first," Halladay said afterward. "That's kind of your only focus until after it's over with. I think once it ends, it's a little bit surreal."
Nov. 16, 2010: Halladay wins the NL Cy Young Award by unanimous vote, becoming the fifth pitcher to win the award in both leagues, along with Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. In his debut season in Philadelphia, Doc went 21-10 -- the Phillies' first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982 -- with a 2.44 ERA and a Major League-leading 250 2/3 innings pitched, nine complete games and four shutouts, including his perfect game.
July 12, 2011: Halladay starts the All-Star Game again, but for the NL this time, becoming the fourth pitcher to start the Midsummer Classic for both leagues, along with Vida Blue, Johnson and Clemens.
Oct. 7, 2011: In what would be his last postseason start, Halladay went toe-to-toe with the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter in a classic pitchers' duel in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the NLDS in Philadelphia. Doc was great, throwing eight innings of one-run ball, but Carpenter was even better, throwing a three-hit shutout to send St. Louis to the NL Championship Series.
July 29, 2012: Halladay strikes out the Braves' David Ross for the 2,000th strikeout of his career, becoming the 67th pitcher to reach the mark.
April 14, 2013: Halladay gets his 200th win, allowing one run over eight innings against the Marlins in Miami.
Sept. 17, 2013: Halladay wins his final game, No. 203, in front of the hometown fans at Citizens Bank Park. He made one last start a week later, on Sept. 23.
Dec. 9, 2013: Halladay retires after signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the Blue Jays, ending his career where it began. Over 16 Major League seasons, Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA, 2,117 strikeouts, 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. He was an eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner.
"As a baseball player, you realize that's something you can't do the rest of your life," Halladay said at his retirement press conference. "I really don't have any regrets."
Nov. 7, 2017: Halladay dies in a plane crash off the coast of Florida, near his Clearwater home, when the ICON A5 light-sport aircraft he was piloting crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dec. 21, 2017: The Phillies announce that, in honor of Halladay, they will not wear No. 34 during the 2018 season, the number Halladay wore with the Phillies.
March 29, 2018: The Blue Jays retire Halladay's No. 32 on Opening Day at Rogers Centre.More »
SEATTLE -- Edgar Martinez's career timeline:
Jan. 2, 1963: Martinez was born in New York, though he moved to Dorado, Puerto Rico, two years later to live with his grandparents after his parents divorced.
Dec. 19, 1982: Signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners for $4,000 after a tryout camp while playing semi-pro ball and working nights in a factory in Puerto Rico.
Sept. 12, 1987: Made his Major League debut with Seattle as a late-season callup, his first appearance coming as a pinch runner for Jim Presley in the sixth inning of a 12-2 win over the White Sox. Later popped out in the eighth inning of that game in his first at-bat. His first hit came two days later in his first start -- a triple to center in the Kingdome off the Indians' Reggie Ritter -- and he wound up hitting .372 over the first 13 games of his career that season.
April 9, 1990: After three seasons of bouncing between Seattle and Triple-A Calgary, finally earned the starting job at third base to open the 1990 season at age 27 and went on to lead the team with a .302 average and .397 on-base percentage in 144 games.
July 14, 1992: Played in the first of his seven All-Star Games in the season before going on to win the first of two American League batting titles with a .343 average.
April 3, 1993: Tore his hamstring during an exhibition game in Vancouver, B.C., just prior to the season opener, an injury that led to an injury-plagued season and one of the reasons he eventually switched from third base to a full-time designated hitter role.
Oct. 2, 1995: Went 2-for-3 in the Mariners' one-game tiebreaker win over the Angels to clinch the AL West title, capping a season during which he won his second batting title at .356 and also led the AL in runs (121), doubles (52), OBP (.479) and OPS (1.109) to help Seattle reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Oct. 8, 1995: The moment Mariners fans will always attach to his name, "The Double," came on a walkoff two-bagger in the 11th inning as his shot to the left-field corner in the Kingdome scored Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. to beat the Yankees, 6-5, and send Seattle to the AL Championship Series with a 3-2 series win in the AL Division Series.
Oct. 2, 2004: Commissioner Bud Selig changes the name of Outstanding Designated Hitter Award to the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. Martinez was a five-time winner of the trophy before it was named in his honor.
Oct. 3, 2004: Plays his final game, going 0-for-4 in a 3-0 loss to the Rangers, but finishes his career in style by circling the entire stadium and exchanging high fives with fans all along the rail at Safeco Field.
Oct. 27, 2004: Becomes the first Puerto Rican to receive the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, which honors one player each year for his community service and sportsmanship.
June 2, 2007: Elected into the Mariners' Hall of Fame, where he joins Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr., Lou Piniella and Jamie Moyer.
Aug. 12, 2017: Became the second Mariner to have his number retired, joining Ken Griffey Jr. as his No. 11 was hung on the center field facade at Safeco Field.
Jan. 22, 2019: In his 10th and final year of eligibility, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.More »
Mike Mussina pitched 18 years in the Major Leagues, putting together a resume that landed him in the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Mussina's journey -- which included a decade with the Orioles and eight seasons with the Yankees -- was filled with memorable moments, from dominant regular-season starts to stellar postseason outings. Here's a look at some of the highlights that made Moose a member of Cooperstown's Class of 2019.
1. What a relief
Through the first 13 years of Mussina's career, all 400 of his appearances in the regular season and postseason had come as a starting pitcher. So when Joe Torre summoned the right-hander out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox -- with runners on the corners, nobody out and the Yankees trailing ,4-0, in the fourth -- it was anybody's guess how he would respond. Mussina escaped the jam without allowing another run, then threw two more scoreless frames to give the Yankees a chance to come back against Pedro Martinez. Four innings after Mussina departed the game, Aaron Boone's walk-off home run against Tim Wakefield won the pennant.
"That was my most exciting moment in New York," Mussina said after announcing his retirement.
2. Grand finale
Mussina knew that his start on Sept. 28, 2008, would be the last of his career, and with 19 victories already under his belt that season, he had one last shot at securing the first 20-win campaign of his career. Mussina fired six shutout innings against the playoff-bound Red Sox at Fenway Park, then watched five relievers combine for the final nine outs to finish out the win. Mussina became the oldest first-time 20-game winner, then joined Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers in history to retire following a 20-win season.
Mussina hadn't been impressive in his first postseason in 1996, but the right-hander was dominant in 1997, posting a 1.24 ERA in four starts against the Mariners and Indians. After outpitching Randy Johnson in a pair of AL Division Series matchups, Mussina stepped it up to another level against Cleveland in the ALCS. He fanned 15 batters over seven innings in Game 3, then came back on three days' rest to toss eight shutout innings in Game 6. Unfortunately for Mussina, the Orioles' offense tallied just one run in the two games, slapping him with a pair of no-decisions as Baltimore lost the series in six games.
4. Fishing expedition
Mussina's lone World Series victory came in Game 3 of the 2003 Fall Classic, when he limited the Marlins to one run over seven innings in a duel with Josh Beckett. Mussina was lined up to pitch Game 7 at Yankee Stadium against future teammate Carl Pavano, but Beckett came back on short rest to end the Series in six games, leaving Mussina without a championship.
5. Nearly perfect
On May 30, 1997, Mussina retired the first 25 Indians hitters before giving up a one-out single by Sandy Alomar Jr., ending his perfect game bid. Mussina finished off his gem allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts in a 3-0 Orioles victory, one of four one-hit shutouts of his career.
6. Nearly perfect ... again
Four years and three months after Mussina came within two outs of perfection, the right-hander took it one step further. Pitching in his first season with the Yankees, Mussina sat down the first 26 Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sept. 2, 2001, moving within one out of history. Mussina got ahead 1-2 against pinch-hitter Carl Everett before the outfielder broke up his bid with a two-strike single. Mussina finished off his one-hitter, striking out 13 in a 1-0 win over Boston.
7. Staying alive
The Yankees were three-time defending World Series champions when Mussina joined the team, but after the first two games of the 2001 ALDS, New York found itself one loss from elimination. Mussina kept the Yankees alive with seven shutout innings, beating Oakland's Barry Zito in a 1-0 duel. Oh yeah, Derek Jeter also made some kind of flip play in that game, too.
8. Fall Classic
Although Game 5 of the 2001 World Series will forever be remembered for Scott Brosius' game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth (and Alfonso Soriano's walk-off single in the 12th), Mussina did his part with an eight-inning, two-run, 10-strikeout performance. This was probably Mussina's best chance at a championship, but Mariano Rivera's blown save in Game 7 left the starter seeking that elusive ring.
9. Dazzling debut
Having been drafted out of Stanford with the 20th overall pick in 1990, Mussina made just 28 Minor League starts before being promoted to Baltimore for his big league debut at Comiskey Park on Aug. 4, 1991. Facing a lineup that included Hall of Famers Tim Raines and Frank Thomas, Mussina limited the White Sox to one run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings, but the 22-year-old lost a 1-0 decision as 43-year-old knuckleballer Charlie Hough threw a five-hit shutout.
10. Bronx cheer
For some players, the pressure that accompanies a big free-agent contract can be overwhelming -- especially in New York. Mussina didn't have those issues after inking a six-year, $88.5 million deal with the Yankees, making a strong first impression with the Bronx crowd. Mussina tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Royals at Yankee Stadium in his pinstriped debut, allowing five hits and no walks before handing a 1-0 lead to Rivera with two out in the eighth.
11. Going streakingMore »
Only one man mattered on Sept. 6, 1995, as Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games-played streak and captured the imagination of baseball fans everywhere. Mussina won his 16th game of the season with 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball against the Angels, becoming the answer to the trivia question: Who was the winning pitcher in Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game?
This story originally ran on Sept. 15, 2011
The opening chords of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" blare over the Yankee Stadium sound system, and by the time the drums kick in 15 seconds later, everyone in the building knows what is about to happen.
Mariano Rivera's theatrical entrance is one of the most recognizable in all of professional sports, but as the Yankees' closer approaches the all-time saves mark, he admits he doesn't even listen to the song.
"I never said that I didn't like it, but I didn't care about the song," Rivera said. "I didn't pick the song. I don't pay attention to the music. When I go in there, I'm going to business. I have a job to do, that's it."
So if Rivera didn't make himself the Sandman, who did?
According to Michael Bonner, the Yankees' senior director of scoreboard and broadcasting, Trevor Hoffman inadvertently had a hand.
Attending the Padres' run to the World Series in San Diego back in 1998, members of the Yankees' upper brass saw how enthusiastically the crowd reacted when Hoffman entered to AC/DC's "Hells Bells."
"The Yankees executives who were there saw the great entrance and said, 'Wow, we need something like that for Mo,'" Bonner said.
Bonner started with the team in 1999, so among the first orders issued to him and scoreboard director Joe Pullia were to find a suitable song that would accompany Rivera on his charge out of the bullpen.
Before "Enter Sandman," two Guns 'N' Roses songs -- "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" -- were actually used in games early in 1999, to lukewarm reception.
"It just didn't have that feel," Bonner said.
Mike Luzzi, then a freelance crew member with the scoreboard team who was also working at MTV, agreed.
"They were trying a bunch of different songs, and I remember yelling at the guys, 'Nobody's going to catch on to this. It's not working,'" Luzzi said.
So on a Saturday morning, Luzzi lugged his own CD case to Yankee Stadium from Manhattan, pointing to Metallica's self-titled 1991 album and suggesting everyone listen to the first track on the disc.
"We needed something cooler, more ominous," said Luzzi, now a vice president at Turner Sports. "Our job was to try and get the building rocking. The gist of it worked, beginning to put the other club to sleep."
The opening lyrics seemed appropriate to accompany Rivera's now-legendary cutter: "Say your prayers little one, don't forget my son, to include everyone, I tuck you in, warm within, keep you free from sin, 'til the Sandman he comes."
"So we used it that game, and it just had that feel -- the entrance, the way everything comes on," Bonner said. "That was it; that was his song. It stuck from that point on."
In the years since, Rivera and "Enter Sandman" have become intertwined. Though Metallica isn't his style -- he prefers Christian music -- Rivera met lead singer James Hetfield before a 2005 game and sometimes inks autographs using the song's name as an inscription.
When the Mets signed Billy Wagner as their closer in 2006, there was actually a stir that Wagner would dare to use Rivera's entrance song in the same city (in fairness, Wagner also began using "Enter Sandman" in 1999 with the Astros), but Rivera didn't mind.
"It's not part of my identity," Rivera said. "People identify it [with me], but that's it. I wouldn't say that's my identity. To tell you the truth, I have to do one thing. I go out there and pitch."
When Rivera says that the song is not a big deal to him, Bonner believes it.
"For years, he couldn't tell you the name of the song, he couldn't tell you that it was Metallica," Bonner said. "I used to tease him when he'd ask me for something, and I'd say, 'All right, that's it, I'm not going to use "Enter Sandman" anymore.' And he was like, 'I don't care.' I think the fans care about it more."
The fans do love it, and the band has also embraced the connection.
When Metallica played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden in October 2009, their representatives called the Yankees for footage of Rivera's entrance that could accompany the song.
But once Rivera is no longer closing games for the Yankees, Bonner said, the song will be retired at Yankee Stadium along with him.
"I've got to tell you, after Mo is gone, we won't use that for anyone else," Bonner said. "It's meant for the greatest of all time."More »
ATLANTA -- Fred McGriff may one day be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But the past 10 years have shown his impressive career may have been underappreciated.
When this year's Hall of Fame balloting results were announced Tuesday night, McGriff learned he had been included on just 39.8 of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. This was the 10th and final season of ballot eligibility for the former first baseman, who had never previously received more than 23.9 percent of the votes.
Though McGriff never came close to reaching the 75 percent threshold necessary to gain enshrinement, he'll stand as a strong candidate when he becomes eligible to be elected by the Modern Game Era committee. Alan Trammell, Harold Baines, Jack Morris and Lee Smith have been elected via this process within the past two years.
As McGriff earned six consecutive top 10 finishes in MVP Award voting from 1989-94, he hit 14 more home runs than any other Major Leaguer and produced an fWAR that was better than everybody not named Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr. or Cal Ripken Jr. Six seasons of success do not equate to a Hall of Fame career, but these six specific years provide a glimpse of the lofty perch upon which McGriff stood before the inflated numbers produced by Bonds and others that prompted baseball to institute testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
McGriff finished his 19-year career with a .284 batting average, a .377 on-base percentage, a .509 slugging percentage and 493 home runs (tied with Lou Gehrig for No. 28). The five-time All-Star first baseman might have reached the 500-homer plateau had portions of the 1994 and '95 seasons not been erased by a work stoppage.
While the homer total stands as a significant variable within this evaluation, it's still noteworthy that McGriff is just one of 16 players to hit .280 with a .375 OBP, .500 SLG and at least 490 home runs. The 15 others are Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, Mel Ott, Gary Sheffield, Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas, Jimmy Foxx, Manny Ramirez, Ted Williams, Gehrig and Bonds. McGriff broke into the Majors with the Blue Jays in 1986 and experienced his first full season two years later.
From 1988-97, he hit the third-most homers in the Majors (trailing only Bonds and Mark McGwire) and ranked eighth with a 43.2 fWAR. The seven players who ranked ahead of him within this 10-season span included six Hall of Famers -- Griffey, Ripken, Barry Larkin, Thomas, Henderson and Wade Boggs -- and Bonds.More »
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds inched forward in this year's Hall of Fame balloting announced Tuesday. But he'll need to take bigger strides in the voting to earn election before he drops off the regular ballot.
Bonds received 251 votes from 425 tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. That's 59.1 percent, representing a 2.7 percent increase from the 56.4 percent he drew last year. Yet he remained significantly short of the 75 percent plurality needed for induction to the game's shrine.
The momentum propelling Bonds' candidacy clearly has faded. He surged from 36.8 percent in 2015 to 53.8 percent in 2017. But his 5.3 percent rise in the last two elections fell short of the single-year bounces he took in 2015-16 (7.5) and 2016-17 (9.5).
Since this was Bonds' seventh appearance on the ballot, he'll have three more chances to gain election to the Hall from the writers. Working in his favor is that relatively few candidates who appear virtually certain to gain election will be added to the ballot in this span. Thus, Bonds could receive more attention from voters who reached their limit of 10 candidates without selecting him on their ballots.
Former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the only "lock" among first-time candidates on the 2020 ballot. The 2021 ballot features plenty of very good players, including Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito. None could be characterized as very great. The challenge will resume for Bonds in 2022, when David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join the ballot.
If Bonds is denied election from the BBWAA electorate, he likely will receive consideration from the Today's Game Committee consisting of former players and executives, as well as writers and historians. This group elected outfielder-designated hitter Harold Baines and closer Lee Smith to the Hall last month.
Many voters maintain a dim view of Bonds due to his link to suspected performance-enhancing drug use. Otherwise, he possesses worthy credentials.
Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader with 762, flourished almost non-stop during 15 years with the Giants (1993-2007). He posted a .312/.477/.666 slash line in 1,976 games with them. The former left fielder also won five of his seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards with San Francisco. He's the only player to exceed 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases, reflecting his multidimensional skills.
Jeff Kent, one of Bonds' San Francisco teammates, also crept forward in the voting. He received 77 votes -- 18.1 percent of the electorate, a 3.6 percent gain from last year. He will remain on the ballot for four more years. Kent hit 351 of his 377 career homers as a second baseman, the highest all-time total at that position. Kent performed for six Major League teams but excelled most during his six years as a Giant (1997-2002), when he posted a slash line of .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season. A five-time All-Star, Kent captured the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 with the Giants.
Former shortstop Omar Vizquel, another Hall candidate with significant Giants ties, garnered 182 votes to rise from 37 percent to 42.8 percent in his second year on the ballot. Vizquel won the last two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards during his 2005-08 stint with the Giants.More »
BOSTON -- Of all the players on the Hall of Fame ballot who didn't gain election on Tuesday, former Red Sox greats Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens came the closest.
Schilling, whose postseason excellence helped vault three franchises (including the Red Sox) to the World Series, appeared on 259 of the 425 ballots, good for 60.9 percent of the vote. This represents a considerable spike for Schilling, who was at 51.2 percent last year.
With three years of eligibility left on the BBWAA ballot, Schilling is gaining the type of momentum that could lead to his eventual induction. A candidate needs 75 percent of the ballots to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Clemens, who spent the first 13 years of his illustrious career with the Red Sox, made incremental progress on the ballot with 59.5 percent of the votes compared to 57.3 last year.
Four players who played in the same era as Schilling and Clemens (Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay) were all voted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Schilling took to Twitter to praise his contemporaries, saying: "4 men who absolutely deserved it. They were better men than they were players and their [SIC] HOF players. Congrats Mo, Doc, Moose and Edgar. You all are deserving! #HOF2019."
Without question, Clemens would already be in the Hall of Fame if not for the suspicion he used performance-enhancing drugs. "The Rocket" won a record-setting seven Cy Young Awards in his career, the first three with Boston. Like Schilling, Clemens has three more years on the ballot.
Manny Ramirez, another Red Sox great linked to PEDs, received 22.8 percent of the votes, which is nearly identical to his total in his first two years on the ballot.
Ramirez was suspended twice for failing PED tests, which explains why a hitter with such impressive statistics (slash line of .312/.411/.585 with 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs) hasn't seen his voting tally increase much.
With the iconic David Ortiz not eligible for the ballot until 2022, Clemens and Schilling are the players with Red Sox ties to keep an eye on in their quest to reach Cooperstown the next two years.
A first-round Draft pick out of the University of Texas, Clemens flourished in his 13-year career with the Red Sox. He set a single-game strikeout record with 20 against the Mariners on April 29, 1986, and he tied his own record 10 years later while earning what proved to be his final win in a Boston uniform against the Tigers.
With 192 wins for the Red Sox, Clemens remains tied with Cy Young for the franchise record. The righty went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts over his career.
If you want the definition of a big-game pitcher, look no further than Schilling. His postseason numbers (11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts) are some of the best ever. Schilling teamed with Randy Johnson for the D-backs in 2001 to prevent the Yankees from winning a fourth straight World Series, and he started Game 7 of that Fall Classic against Clemens in one of the most memorable games ever.
In 2004, Schilling was traded from the D-backs to the Red Sox, giving him another chance to come up big when it counted the most against the Yankees. This time, pitching with a bloodied sock due to a mangled right ankle, Schilling won Game 6 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium, which allowed the Red Sox to become the first team in history to bounce back from an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series. And in the World Series, Schilling had another victory with a bloodied sock in Game 2 of the World Series against the Cardinals. The Red Sox swept St. Louis to win the franchise's first World Series in 86 years.
It turns out Schilling had more championship greatness in him in 2007, even though his velocity was greatly diminished by that time. With the Red Sox down 3-2 in the ALCS against the Indians, Schilling won Game 6. He then stifled the Rockies in Game 2 of the World Series, with Boston again sweeping its way to a championship.
Schilling also pitched for the 1993 Phillies, who lost the World Series in six games to the Blue Jays.
Though best known for his October heroics, Schilling also thrived in the regular season, going 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts.More »
While former closer Lee Smith will be the only Cardinal represented in the 2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, a pair of players with connections to the club did receive increased support on ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America this year.
That includes Larry Walker, who, after appearing on 34.1 percent of ballots last year, saw his support swell to 54.6 percent. Walker was one of four players to receive more than 50 percent of the vote but still fall short of the necessary 75 percent threshold for induction. Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were the others.
That jump in support positions Walker for one last push in 2020, his final year of eligibility.
A total of 425 BBWAA ballots were cast, and for a second consecutive year, four players earned election. Mariano Rivera became the first player in to be elected unanimously. Roy Halladay (85.4 percent), Edgar Martinez (85.4) and Mike Mussina (76.7) will also be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., this July, along with Smith and Harold Baines, both of whom were elected by the Today's Game Era Committee in December.
Players become eligible for Hall of Fame consideration five years after retirement, and they can remain on the ballot for up to 10 years as long as they receive at least five percent of the vote. Former Cardinals Rick Ankiel, Lance Berkman, Darren Oliver and Placido Polanco will fall off the ballot after not meeting that threshold.
Scott Rolen, who played for the Cardinals from 2002-07, was named on 17.2 percent of ballots cast. That was an increase from the 10.2 percent support he received in his first year of eligibility.
Walker ended his 17-year career by appearing in 144 games with the Cardinals. A former National League MVP winner, Walker slashed .313/.400/.565 in his career. He was a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, five-time All-Star, three-time NL batting champ and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Rolen had some of his best years in St. Louis, where he made four All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove Awards. Rolen was also a member of the Cardinals' 2006 championship team and batted .421 in that World Series. His career spanned 17 years, and his home run (316) and RBI (1,287) totals rank in the top 15 all-time among third basemen.More »
Omar Vizquel continued to make steps in the right direction in Hall of Fame voting, receiving nearly six percent more of the votes in his second year on the ballot than the first.
Vizquel received 182 of 425 votes cast (42.8 percent) by tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, as announced Tuesday on MLB Network. The former Indians great jumped from the 36.9 percent of votes he earned last year (156 of 422) in his first year on the ballot. The progression is a positive sign for the shortstop, who has as many as eight more years to reach the 75 percent mark that's required for induction.
The shortstop finished his 24-year career batting .272/.336/.352 with 2,877 hits, 951 RBIs and 404 stolen bases with three All-Star selections. In 11 seasons (1994-2004) with the Tribe, Vizquel hit .283 with 1,616 hits, 906 runs scored, 60 homers and 584 RBIs. He had a standout offensive year in 1999, slashing .333/.397/.436 with 42 stolen bases and a career-high 112 runs scored to earn his second All-Star selection. But it was on the field where the shortstop really shined.
Vizquel is often remembered for his dazzling defensive plays at shortstop, and he has the hardware to back it up. He won a Gold Glove Award each season from 1993 through 2001 and picked up two more in 2005 and 2006 with the Giants, giving the shortstop a total of 11 in his career. He ranked ninth all time in defensive WAR (29.5) and is second in career fielding percentage as a shortstop with .9847. He trails only Jose Iglesias (.9853), who is going into his eighth Major League season. Vizquel has turned the most double plays at shortstop in MLB history with 1,734. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith is second with 1,590 in his 19-year career.
Vizquel began his career in Seattle, making his debut on April 3, 1989 at 21 years old. After five seasons with the Mariners, he was traded to the Indians in exchange for Felix Fermin, Reggie Jefferson and cash considerations. Vizquel called Cleveland home for the next 11 seasons -- and was later enshrined into the Indians' Hall of Fame in 2014 -- before spending four years with the Giants. Vizquel made a quick stop in Texas in 2009, played two seasons with the White Sox in 2010 and '11 and closed out more than two decades in the Majors in Toronto in 2012 at age 45.More »
HOUSTON -- Their first year on the Hall of Fame ballot will be the last for former Astros stars Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.
Berkman and Oswalt, two key players in the Astros' rise to National League power in the mid-2000s, both appeared on less than 5 percent of balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, released Tuesday, and will fall off the ballot.
The BBWAA elected four players to the Baseball Hall of Fame: pitchers Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera and designated hitter/third baseman Edgar Martinez. They'll join closer Lee Smith and outfielder/DH Harold Baines, both of whom were elected by the Today's Game Era Committee in December, in being inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 21.
Berkman appeared on only five of the 425 ballots (1.2 percent) and Oswalt on four (0.9 percent).
"I thought I would stay on there past one vote," Berkman said. "It's probably human nature to think more highly of yourself than you ought to."
Berkman performed at a Hall of Fame caliber at his peak in the mid-2000s and played in 1,879 regular-season games over 15 years, amassing a .293 batting average, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBIs and a .943 OPS that ranks 27th all-time in Major League history. Ultimately, he likely didn't play quite long enough to complete his Hall of Fame resume.
"If you took the 10 best years I had -- of course, I guess you could say that for anybody, but my 10 years of prime, it stacks up quite nicely," Berkman said. "For sure, I think longevity was the detrimental factor."
Oswalt's candidacy resembled Berkman's in many ways. He played 13 years in the Major Leagues (10 with the Astros) and went 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA, 20 complete games, 1,852 strikeouts and just 520 walks. In the 2000s, he led the NL in wins, was third in ERA (3.23), fourth in innings pitched (1,803 1/3) and fifth in complete games (18). Oswalt also proved a clutch performer in the postseason with a 3.73 ERA in 13 appearances, including being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2005 NL Championship Series against the Cardinals.
Andy Pettitte, who pitched for the Astros from 2004-06, received 9.9 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot and will remain on the ballot for 2020. His longtime Astros and Yankees teammate Roger Clemens appeared on 59.5 percent of the ballot, up slightly from last year's 57.3.
Also making a small rise in vote totals were former Astros closer Billy Wagner, who got 16.7 percent of the vote (14.5 last year), and second baseman Jeff Kent, at 18.1 percent (14.5 last year). Curt Schilling, who spent one year as a reliever with the Astros in 1991, inched closer to the Hall of Fame with 60.9 percent of the vote, while Miguel Tejada -- a two-time All-Star with the Astros -- will fall off the ballot after getting just five votes.
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, provided they get 5 percent of the vote every year.More »
NEW YORK -- This summer's induction ceremonies will have a strong Yankees flavor at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., where Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina will deliver speeches as they receive the sport's most prestigious honor.
With Derek Jeter set to appear on next year's Hall of Fame ballot, it is a near-certainty that Bombers fans can plan on seeing at least one more familiar face in the Class of 2020, but several other players with ties to the winningest franchise in professional sports had notable showings this year.
"They're my brothers," Rivera said, referring to his fellow "Core Four" members Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. "Besides my teammates, they're my brothers. We grew up together, came up with the organization to good things and bad things, and at the same time we were all together. It's amazing, the amount of respect and love that we have for each other."
In his first look from eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Pettitte appeared on 42 of a possible 425 ballots (9.9 percent), setting up what the 256-game winner could hope will be a Mussina-like climb toward induction. Mussina was elected in his sixth try, getting 76.7 percent of the vote after receiving only 20.3 percent in his first year of eligibility. Rivera appeared on every ballot, making him the first unanimous electee.
Via the Yankees, Pettitte offered statements lauding the accomplishments of his former teammates.
"Mo, congrats on being a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Pettitte said. "What an honor it was playing alongside of you for all those years. When I look back on my career, many of my best memories directly involve you. This is a pretty obvious statement, but I wouldn't want anyone else closing out a game that I started. I never took for granted what you provided for each and every starting pitcher in our rotation.
"Congrats Moose. This is such a deserving honor. What you were able to accomplish while spending your entire career in the AL East was absolutely amazing. You were one of the best pitchers I've ever played with, and I was always in awe of the way you attacked hitters -- exploiting their weaknesses with control and precision of such an array of pitches. You were a true master of your craft."
On the ballot for a seventh time, Roger Clemens appeared on 253 (59.5 percent), a slight uptick over the 57.3 percent that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner received in 2018. Clemens spent six of his 24 big league seasons with the Yankees (1999-2003 and 2007), and though he would seem to be a shoo-in based solely upon his staggering statistics, his candidacy has been clouded by suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use.
Gary Sheffield appeared on 58 ballots (13.6 percent), marking the power-hitting outfielder's fifth try for the Hall. Sheffield played three of his 22 big league seasons with the Yankees (2004-06), retiring with 509 home runs. Andruw Jones, who ended his 17-year career with the Yankees (2011-12), received 32 votes (7.5 percent) in his second year of eligibility.
Other former Yankees included on the ballot were: Lance Berkman (five votes, 1.2 percent), Freddy Garcia (no votes), Travis Hafner (no votes), Ted Lilly (no votes), Derek Lowe (no votes), Vernon Wells (no votes) and Kevin Youkilis (no votes). Players need at least 5 percent to return to the ballot the following year.More »
Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Here's a look at how the six voted, and at the bottom you can see what the totals look like among this group:
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Billy Wagner
9. Larry Walker
10. Michael Young
There are many offensive players who could/should be elected based on their career numbers. I strongly believe McGriff is unfairly overlooked because he was one of the last great hitters before the offensive explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mussina also thrived as a starting pitcher in the American League right in the thick of that era. It should not have taken him this long to be elected. I'm not big on comparables, but Wagner was every bit as good of a reliever as Rivera or Trevor Hoffman.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Gary Sheffield
10. Omar Vizquel
Three of the players I voted for a year ago -- Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome -- were inducted into the Hall, so the holdovers (Bonds, Clemens, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling and Sheffield) took up the first seven spots on my ballot.
That left me with up to three open spots to fill. Rivera was an obvious choice for one of them in his first time on the ballot, as was Halladay, who, despite a modest win total (203), was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation. Although I delved into their statistics to confirm what I already knew, these two were no-brainers.
The final spot was a little more difficult. After a first examination of the 26 players, I narrowed down my choice to Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Vizquel, Larry Walker and Vernon Wells. (OK, Wells wasn't really on my list, but he was one of my favorite players I ever covered, so I considered using my last spot for him for about 30 seconds.)
Although I probably would have voted for five or six of these players had the ballot been open-ended and without the 10-man limit, my choice ultimately came down to two: Pettitte and Vizquel.
Pettitte is viewed by many as a borderline candidate, a take I can't argue with. While his candidacy might be seen differently by voters, I think he belongs in the conversation. (Based on my voting history, I'm obviously not holding his HGH admission against him.) Having seen similar players such as Jorge Posada, Kenny Lofton and Johan Santana fall off the ballot in their first years, I considered voting for Pettitte in an effort to help him get the requisite 5 percent for him to be on the ballot again next year.
Ultimately, Vizquel's excellence in the field (he took home 11 Gold Gloves and is in the conversation as the best defensive shortstop ever) won out. He might not have been an offensive force, but Vizquel was far from an automatic out, finishing his career with 2,877 hits. Pettitte had a great career and will likely be in the mix for my vote again next year, but my belief that Vizquel should be in the Hall outweighed my hopes of seeing Pettitte remain on the ballot.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Andruw Jones
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker
It was difficult leaving off McGriff and Rolen, but we only get 10 spots, which is why I've always favored a binary system -- simply yes or no to each candidate. As for the PED issue, my stance hasn't really changed: If what they did (or didn't) do is so egregious, the Hall of Fame should take those players off the ballot. Don't make us be the morality judges.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Mariano Rivera
7. Scott Rolen
8. Curt Schilling
9. Billy Wagner
10. Larry Walker
Easy calls on nine of the 10. All belong in the Hall. As for Wagner, he's one of greatest closers ever, and if they're part of the game (same for DHs), the best of them should be in the Hall. I didn't like leaving off Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, who at least deserve to be in the conversation longer.
Jon Paul Morosi
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Scott Rolen
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker
I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year. For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB's drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.
Rivera is one of the clearest first-ballot Hall of Famers in history, and Halladay's dominant peak (in a hitter-friendly ballpark, against AL East competition) makes him worthy of the Hall. McGriff, overlooked for far too long, hit more home runs -- with a better adjusted OPS -- than first-ballot Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Carl Yastrzemski; McGriff is eminently qualified for Cooperstown.
My toughest decision came among Rolen, Vizquel and Sheffield for the last of my 10 spots. I opted for Rolen, given the overall quality of his career, at a position underrepresented in the Hall. Rolen is one of only three third basemen in history with at least seven Gold Gloves and seven All-Star appearances. The others are Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Jeff Kent
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Omar Vizquel
10. Larry Walker
Rivera's career forestalls debate. And if you feel free to vote for closers, you should feel free to vote for other specialists, such as Martinez the designated hitter. I dismounted my moral high horse regarding Bonds and Clemens two or three years ago. I needed some persuasion to vote for Walker; by contrast, I remained stubbornly loyal to Kent. Mussina embodied consistency; Schilling dominated the postseason and Halladay finished 98 games above .500 in just 390 starts. As for Vizquel, I pity those who can't or won't comprehend his excellence.
Vote totals of the 6 MLB.com writers
With 75 percent of the vote needed for entry to the Hall, Bonds, Martinez, Rivera, Mussina, Clemens, Halladay, Schilling and Walker received enough support -- the first six appearing on all six ballots, and the other two appearing on five of six ballots (83 percent) -- from MLB.com writers.
Barry Bonds -- 6 votesMore »
Roger Clemens -- 6
Roy Halladay -- 6
Edgar Martinez -- 6
Mike Mussina -- 6
Mariano Rivera -- 6
Curt Schilling -- 5
Larry Walker -- 5
Fred McGriff -- 2
Manny Ramirez -- 2
Scott Rolen -- 2
Omar Vizquel -- 2
Billy Wagner -- 2
Andruw Jones -- 1
Jeff Kent -- 1
Gary Sheffield -- 1
Michael Young -- 1
The Marlins don't have any Hall of Famers yet, nor the Rays, the Rockies or the Nationals. But someday, they will. Someday, someone is going to wear their hat into the Hall of Fame. Every team in baseball is going to have another Hall of Famer someday. That day could even be Tuesday.
So today, we're going to try to guess the next Hall of Famer to wear each team's hat on his plaque. Some of these will be obvious, some of them will be stretches, and some of them will be absolute Hail Marys. But eventually, everyone will get another one. Here's our stabs at who it will be.
(Note: For the purposes of this exercise, we are going to assume that Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Edgar Martinez get elected on Tuesday, because the public ballots that have been tracked thus far very much suggest they will. So you won't see them listed below for the Yankees, Blue Jays and Mariners.)
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
Since we are assuming Halladay is getting in, it's safe to assume that Toronto's next Hall of Famer has not even played in a Major League game yet. It might not be Guerrero. But it's almost definitely someone you haven't seen yet.
Orioles: Mike Mussina, RHP
Mussina has not said whether he'll wear a Yankees cap or an Orioles cap into the Hall; he could always pull a Tony La Russa and pick neither. But he was with Baltimore for two more seasons than he was with New York, and he was better there, too.
Rays: Evan Longoria, 3B
To be honest: We don't think Longoria is going to get in, and we're not sure he should. But he's not that far off the JAWS average at the position, and he's got a few years left to compile some stats. (It would help if Scott Rolen could get in.) But find us a more likely Ray. The answer here is probably "person whose name we don't know yet."
Red Sox: Roger Clemens, RHP
He and Barry Bonds are getting closer and closer -- both their vote totals to 75 percent, and them to their final year on the ballot in 2022. The guess here is that there's a surge in that last year and Clemens gets in. If it's not him, though, it'll obviously be David Ortiz.
Yankees: Derek Jeter, SS
He hits the ballot next year. Will he surpass Rivera's vote total?
Indians: Francisco Lindor
There was a little bit of a temptation here to say "Kenny Lofton," with the idea that he was unappreciated in his time and could get Harold Baines'd in, but the Tribe member who looks most likely to be in the Hall someday still seems like Lindor.
Royals: Salvador Perez, C
Here's a guy who will be watching Yadier Molina's eventual vote totals very closely. It would help if he wins another World Series someday.
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 1B
It's him or Justin Verlander, and it kind of depends who retires first.
Twins: Joe Mauer, C
The case for him is stronger than it might have seemed while he was active. He'll be quite the debate in five years.
White Sox: Chris Sale, LHP
He'll need some amazing years over the next half-decade -- maybe finally winning one of those Cy Youngs would help -- but he's unlikely to pitch in any one place longer than his seven years in Chicago.
Angels: Mike Trout, CF
The only danger is if he ends up playing somewhere else and puts up another 10 historic seasons. One should not put it past him.
Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
Assuming there isn't a sudden surge in voting for Lance Berkman, Altuve will sail in when he finally retires … which, considering he's 28 now, could be in another 15 years.
Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
Chapman had an 8.2 bWAR last year at the age of 25. Keep that up -- we make it sound so easy -- and he could be our next Adrian Beltre.
Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Of course, this will require him officially retiring at some point.
Rangers: Adrian Beltre, 3B
It's still strange and sad that we're going to have a baseball season without him in 2019.
Braves: Dale Murphy, CF
Murphy is perhaps the most beloved non-Hall of Famer on earth (now that Mariano is about to be in); if the Veterans' Committee is opening the doors for Harold Baines, it has to open them for Dale, too.
Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton, OF
This comes down to whether or not you think he will get to 500 homers (he's at 305) and spend seven or more seasons in the Bronx.
Mets: Carlos Beltran, CF
He played as many seasons in Kansas City as he did in New York, but his numbers were better in Queens across the board.
Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
Whether Bryce Harper stays with the Nats or not, Scherzer will retire first … and could benefit from what's going to be a changing standard for starting pitchers.
Phillies: Curt Schilling, RHP
Even with his off-the-field controversies, based on growing vote totals, it appears he'll eventually get in.
Brewers: Ryan Braun
It's a long shot -- and the PED suspension isn't going to help -- but his case is a little better than many think it is.
Cardinals: Albert Pujols, 1B
The healing process will begin this June, when Albert plays at Busch Stadium for the first time since he left town. Services contracts aside, it'll be the STL on his plaque.
Cubs: Kris Bryant, 3B
If Clemens and Bonds get in, there could be a "how do you tell the story of baseball without Sammy Sosa?" Veterans Committee pick of Sosa. If not, Bryant is the pick -- that is, unless Anthony Rizzo has a late-career surge that takes his baseball card stats to a new level.
Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, OF
Beyond the Box Score gave him a 40 percent chance before last season, which is maybe a little high. One wonders if he would receive more support someday if he had played his whole career in Pittsburgh.
Reds: Joey Votto, 1B
Is Votto already a HOF lock? It's perhaps a lot closer of a discussion than you might think.
D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
The late start to his career put him behind from the beginning, but another eight years even close to his first eight years would be quite the compelling case. And D-backs fans can take solace knowing he'd go in wearing their hat.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
The only question is whether it will say "World Series Champion" on his plaque.
Giants: Bonds, OF
In the same boat as Clemens, with 2022 as the last-chance year. Talk radio in 2022 is going to be difficult to listen to, one suspects.
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
Like the Jays and Vlad Jr., there is not a more obvious suggestion.
Rockies: Larry Walker, RFMore »
He's headed for a huge uptick in votes this year; it really looks like it's going to happen.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America can be a stingy bunch. Though we've seen a major upswing in BBWAA-elected Hall of Famers in recent years, classes with more than two or three members are rare.
In 2013, there was much public bemoaning the fact that the BBWAA had a ballot loaded with what many would consider to be quality candidates and came up with … nobody. Indeed, that has happened a few times in this voting body's long history, and it's a bummer to those of us who like our Hall of Fame to have, well, Hall of Famers.
But there are years that help make up for lost time. Let's look back and see which BBWAA-inducted Hall classes had the most star power.
There are a number of ways to evaluate this, but I opted to use the Hall of Fame Career Standards monitor available at Baseball Reference. Basically, a player who scores 50 on the test is considered your "average, run-of-the-mill" Hall of Famer, with 100 as the max (Babe Ruth, by virtue of acquiring both batting and pitching stats of note, breaks this scale with a grand total of 113).
If you add up the total Hall of Fame Career Standards for all players voted in by the BBWAA* in a given year, these were the heftiest Hall hauls.
*This list is strictly limited to the BBWAA entries, not players or managers or executives voted in by committee.
1. 1936: Babe Ruth (113), Christy Mathewson (84), Walter Johnson (82), Ty Cobb (75) and Honus Wagner (75)
Well, of course the inaugural class would have the most meat on the bone. But this election was actually kind of a mess. There was not an official ballot to work with, just a list of 40 suggested names. Voters had the option of writing in candidates, including -- bizarrely -- active players. Furthermore, there was a simultaneous Veterans Committee vote taking place as a means of recognizing players from the 19th century, but there was nothing stopping a BBWAA member from using one of his 10 slots for such a player.
In the end, these five legends got in via the BBWAA vote, but an additional 35 players who would eventually be inducted into the Hall fell short of the 75 percent mark. There were also seven players who received votes in this election but never got in, including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and Hal Chase, who had been banned from baseball for consorting with gamblers.
2. 1947: Lefty Grove (62), Frankie Frisch (60), Mickey Cochrane (54) and Carl Hubbell (51)
This was the deluge after a drought. No elections were held in 1940, '41, '43 and '44, and no players had reached the 75 percent mark in '45 and '46 and only one guy -- Rogers Hornsby -- gained entry in '42. Something had to give.
The problem wasn't a lack of candidates but a wealth of them, with no clear consensus on what, exactly, a true Hall of Fame career was. Until 1946, BBWAA members could vote for literally any player -- living or dead, active or retired -- from 1900 on, and the only change in '46 was that a player must have been retired one year to receive votes.
Not only did this chaos create a backlog of deserving candidates, but it almost cost the BBWAA the vote altogether. In 1946, the Hall of Fame Committee voted in 11 popular players from the early 1900s (including, regrettably, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance, only because they happened to be lionized in a poem), and there was some thought to stripping the BBWAA of its privilege as the Hall's gatekeeper.
That ultimately didn't happen. But in 1947, the Committee did create a rule that a player may not be on the ballot after 25 years from his retirement, and it also instituted the rule that a person must be in the BBWAA for 10 years before becoming eligible to vote. This reduced the number of ballots cast by a whopping 39 percent and created greater clarity in '47, when only 39 players received votes and these four got in.
3. 2015: Randy Johnson (65), Pedro Martinez (60), Craig Biggio (57) and John Smoltz (44)
This recent group marked just the third time -- and the first in 60 years -- that a four-man class was inducted. Combined with the three-man class in 2014, this was a welcome change of pace from that aforementioned emptiness of '13.
This 2015 vote was the first in which BBWAA members were required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct before receiving their ballots, and their names (though not their individual votes) were made public at the time of the election announcement.
Maybe that helped create greater accountability, but the bottom line is that the stars who helped rescue the sport after the 1994-95 labor stoppage -- including Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz, who all got in on their first ballot -- were rightly recognized.
4. 1937: Cy Young (82), Tris Speaker (74) and Nap Lajoie (66)
Looking to address some flaws from the 1936 process, the Veterans Committee election was scrapped in favor of a smaller Centennial Commission entrusted with choosing inductees from the 19th century. And though active players weren't ruled ineligible, voters were encouraged to lean toward retired candidates. With the procedure tweaked and five guys having graduated from the '36 ballot, the end result was that Lajoie (64.6 percent in '36), Speaker (58.8) and Young (49.1) moved up the ranks and past the 75 percent mark.
In 1936, Young, comically, ended up fourth on the Veterans Committee vote and eighth in the BBWAA vote. Nobody knew to which era he ought to be assigned. This time, that issue was straightened out, and the guy with 511 career wins got in. Viva democracy.
5. 2018: Chipper Jones (70), Vladimir Guerrero (59), Jim Thome (57) and Trevor Hoffman (19)
Obviously, a four-man class has an inherent advantage toward getting on this list, but the metric we're utilizing doesn't ascribe much value to relievers (even slam-dunk Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, who will be on the ballot this year, gets just 30 points). So Hoffman doesn't add a great deal to this tally. Edgar Martinez (50 points) missed induction by just 20 votes last year, so this could have been a truly monster class. But as it stands, it's still pretty good. In fact, with Morris and Trammell also involved, this marks just the second time since the aforementioned inaugural class of 1936 that six living players are going in at the same time (the other year was 1955, which we'll get to in a minute).
The BBWAA went from electing nobody in 2013 to electing 16 guys over the last five years.
6. 2014: Greg Maddux (70), Frank Thomas (60) and Tom Glavine (52)
Were we able to assign bonus points here, this class would get them because of the inclusion of Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre from the Expansion Era Committee vote. The 2014 class was a marked improvement from the previous year, when the only inductees were three dudes who died in the 1930s (player Deacon White, umpire Hank O'Day and executive Jacob Ruppert).
Even without the bonus points, the 2014 class stands as a strong one. All three guys deservedly got in on their first try, and Biggio fell just two votes shy of joining them.
7. 1955: Joe DiMaggio (59), Gabby Hartnett (48), Dazzy Vance (35) and Ted Lyons (30)
As you can see from the Vance and Lyons point totals, quantity is what got this class on this list. Vance had an interesting case, not becoming a regular in a rotation until he was 31, winning only 197 games and pitching mostly for bad teams. He spent 16 years on the ballot (or list of suggested players, as it were) and received just 7.3 percent of the vote a decade before his eventual induction. Lyons, who only pitched on Sundays, walked more batters than he struck out and had a 3.67 ERA. He isn't exactly the best the Hall has to offer. But he was another slow-burner, climbing from 1.6 percent in 1945 all the way to 86.5 percent in his induction year.
The main takeaway from 1955 is that there was still a serious backlog going on. DiMaggio finally got in on his third appearance on the ballot, and Hank Greenberg finished 32 votes shy on his eighth ballot. Greenberg was one of 31 eventual Hall of Famers who got votes in this election but didn't get in. The other two inductees this year, via the Veterans Committee, were "Home Run" Frank Baker and Ray Schalk.
For what it's worth, this was the second year in which the five-year waiting period was in place for retired players.
8. 1999: George Brett (61), Nolan Ryan (55) and Robin Yount (52)
This was one of the more special modern-day classes. Brett, Ryan and Yount were all newly eligible -- the first time the BBWAA inducted more than two first-ballot entries since the inaugural class in 1936. Carlton Fisk came reasonably close to making it four first-timers, as he appeared on 66.4 percent of ballots. He'd wind up getting in the following year.
One factor that worked in the first-timers' favor was the relatively small ballot, on which only 28 players appeared. The Hall had long since begun dropping players who received less than 5 percent of ballots cast and cut off players more than 20 years from retirement.
9. 1991: Gaylord Perry (57), Rod Carew (55) and Fergie Jenkins (53)
By 1991, the voting process was much more straightforward. Carew appeared on 90.5 percent of ballots as a first-timer, while Perry and Jenkins both got in on their third try. Jim Bunning missed out on his final ballot try but would later get in via the Veterans Committee.
10. 1939: Eddie Collins (71), Willie Keeler (49) and George Sisler (44)
This might have ranked higher on the list since 1939 was also the year Lou Gehrig (72 points) was inducted, but that was in a special election in December (months after the formal induction of the three players listed above) because of his illness. Gehrig never had a formal induction ceremony.
As far as the "proper" 1939 class was concerned, it combined with the nine BBWAA-elected players from 1936-38 and the various Veterans Committee selections to make for a 25-person Hall when the building opened in the summer of '39 (and leading to that iconic image of the 11 living inductees).
The 1939 class could have been even more loaded, but many voters put their focus on the '00s and '10s, evidently fearing those decades were underrepresented. Players who had been retired more than 20 years received 60 percent of the votes. This explains how an obvious Hall of Famer like Rogers Hornsby (64.2 percent in '39) was unable to get in.More »
LAS VEGAS -- Harold Baines was surrounded by two of the men who'd guided, managed and mentored him: White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa.
"Our friendship goes further than the game of baseball," Baines said.
That La Russa and Reinsdorf were members of the 16-member Today's Game Era Committee, which elected Baines to the Hall of Fame on Sunday, made the moment that much more special. Both of them sat nearby during a news conference Monday that officially introduced Baines and reliever Lee Smith as members of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction class of 2019.
Baines then spoke of how much the Hall of Fame meant to his family, and the one regret -- that his late father could not have shared in the joy -- was when the usually stoic Baines wept.
"He was my hero," he said. "That's the only thing I miss, is him not being here."
The moment was so sweet and so touching on a day that was awash in joy and laughter as both men slipped into Hall of Fame jerseys for the first time.
"You see what it means to them," said Hall of Famer John Schuerholz, a member of the committee. "This is the highest honor in our business. I know how proud they feel to receive that honor. They deserve it. They distinguished themselves."
Smith, 61, missed on 15 attempts to get the required 75 percent of the vote while on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. He went 16 for 16 on Sunday for an 18-season career in which he saved 478 games, the third-most in history.
One of the men in front of him on that list is Mariano Rivera, who is on the BBWAA ballot for the first time this year. Thanks to 652 saves and being part of five World Series championship teams, Rivera is expected to join Smith in Cooperstown next summer.
"I'm short for words right now, but I love just being able to be up here, because all the guys that I've seen and played with and seen come up here on this podium, it is unbelievable," Smith said. "I'm at a loss for words."
Among the calls he received was one from Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.
"He had me almost in tears talking about how long he's been waiting and hoping I would get in," Smith said. "But like I said earlier, it hadn't sunk in yet for me."
As for Baines, 59, his induction generated lots of debate. During 22 seasons, he collected 2,866 hits and six All-Star appearances. He dropped off the BBWAA ballot in 2011 after his fifth time on the ballot failed to get the required 5 percent vote.
He's 46th on the all-time hits list, 43rd in total bases, 65th in home runs, 34th in RBIs, 60th in extra-base hits and 24th in intentional walks. His 38.7 Wins Above Replacement is 351st among position players, just below that of Hall of Famer Hack Wilson.
"I'm very honored to be here," Baines said. "It's a very special day. A lot of my friends are here. I'm honored to be part of this great fraternity I'm joining."
To members of the committee, especially his former manager, Baines was not a tough call.
"To me, it's a little bit -- or a lot -- like Alan Trammell," said La Russa of the longtime Tigers shortstop, who was passed over by the BBWAA but inducted by a veterans committee last summer. "You ask the guys in uniform. You ask the people upstairs, the general managers. When you look at his record, like Alan's, it can't be denied. Three thousand hits was right there -- he was 130 short. Harold always had the ability to drive in a big run. If it wasn't for the [labor] strikes, he'd have had 3,000 hits."More »
The late Al Helfer, whose longtime broadcasting work earned him the nickname "Mr. Radio Baseball," was named the winner of the 2019 Ford C. Frick Award on Wednesday by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Helfer, who died in 1975, will be honored posthumously during Hall of Fame induction weekend in July. He's the 43rd winner of the Frick Award, which is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
This year's Frick Award candidates were on the "Broadcasting Beginnings" ballot, featuring those "whose main contributions were realized as broadcasting pioneers." The other finalists were Connie Desmond, Pat Flanagan, Jack Graney, Harry Heilmann, Waite Hoyt, Rosey Rowswell and Ty Tyson.
"Al Helfer helped grow interest in baseball exponentially as the voice of Mutual Game of the Day radio broadcasts during the sport's golden days of the 1950s," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. "Working in the dominant broadcasting medium with television in its infancy, Helfer was known as 'Mr. Radio Baseball,' bringing game action into living rooms across the country every week. A true fan of the game, Helfer's work with eight teams over four decades connected listeners in their markets to their team's heroes, as baseball spread its reach throughout America and around the world. His passion and delivery made him one of the iconic voices of his era."
During his career in radio, which began in the 1930s and lasted through the 1960s, Helfer called games for the Pirates, Reds, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Colt .45s and A's. He was the play-by-play announcer for five straight World Series from 1951-55 and for numerous All-Star Games, and he called 14 no-hitters, including Catfish Hunter's perfect game in 1968.
Helfer was chosen as the 2019 honoree by the Hall of Fame's 15-member Frick Award Committee, which consisted of previous Frick Award winners Marty Brennaman, Bob Costas, Jaime Jarrin, Tony Kubek, Tim McCarver, Denny Matthews, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker and Dave Van Horne; historians David J. Halberstam, Ted Patterson and Curt Smith; and columnist Barry Horn.More »
Longtime baseball writer Jayson Stark has been honored as the 2019 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced Tuesday.
The Spink Award annually recognizes a sportswriter who has made "meritorious contributions to baseball writing." Stark, who currently writes for The Athletic and works as an MLB Network studio analyst, will be recognized during Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., this coming July.
Stark is the 70th winner of the Spink Award, which is voted on by BBWAA members who have been in the organization for at least 10 consecutive years. He received 270 votes out of the 463 ballots cast this year.
Stark has covered baseball for more than four decades, both as a beat writer and a national writer. He wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than two decades from 1979-99, covering the Phillies and serving as a national baseball columnist. Stark then spent 2000-17 at ESPN as a senior national baseball writer before joining The Athletic.
This year's runner-up for the award was Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist and baseball writer Jim Reeves. Minnesota baseball writer Patrick Reusse finished third in the voting.
The Spink Award was first given in 1962 and is named for its inaugural recipient, Spink, the publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 until his death in '62, upon which the award was established. Last year's winner was Sheldon Ocker, who covered the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1981-2013.More »
LAS VEGAS -- Even before Harold Baines was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by receiving 12 of 16 votes from the Today's Game Era Committee on Sunday, Paul Konerko held strong opinions on the excellence shown by his White Sox teammate, coach and friend.
"I've told people a lot of times, there are a lot of great hitters in the Hall of Fame, but Harold Baines is better than a lot of them," said Konerko, the accomplished one-time White Sox captain during a Monday morning conference call. "So the fact he wasn't in there...
"It's nice to see him get in and it's nice to see somebody that is just a good person and a good guy that just played the game. I'm glad there are these other vehicles to get into the Hall of Fame because he's just one of those guys, does the guy's name have a Hall of Fame ring to it? I feel like his name always did."
Baines had three stints with the White Sox and crossed paths with Konerko during the 2000 American League Central championship season and the '01 campaign. The designated hitter/outfielder, who finished with 2,866 hits, 1,628 RBIs and an .820 OPS over 22 seasons, retired after '01. He was 42, only two years removed from driving in 103 runs with Baltimore and Cleveland in 1999.
That RBI total, especially in timely situations, was what set Baines apart, according to Konerko.
"He was just so clutch," Konerko said. "You're going to get a lot of great comments about Harold, but the No. 1 thing is you're going to hear over and over, he's the guy you wanted up with the game on the line, and that's what most middle-of-the-order guys want to be. He was just great at it. It was always about driving runs in because that's what we had to do."
Konerko hopes Baines' induction continues to open the Hall of Fame doors for individuals who played a large part of their game as a designated hitter, adding people don't understand how tough and how mentally challenging it is and how special you must be to be good at that position. Baines compiled an .837 OPS and 981 RBIs in 5,806 at-bats as a DH.
There also was an interesting Hall of Fame idea presented by Konerko in relation to Baines' longevity.
"I personally think anybody who plays over 20 years should be in the Hall of Fame," Konerko said. "It's just that much of a grind. If you get 20 years of service time or beyond, I feel like they should have a special wing for you anyways."More »
LAS VEGAS -- Lee Smith was perhaps the most feared reliever of his generation and helped define the closer's role in the modern game during 18 seasons in the Majors. Harold Baines was far different, stoic and shy, a craftsman who produced 2,866 hits with one of the sweetest swings of his day.
These two very different men will be forever linked after learning on Sunday that they'll be members of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction class of 2019.
Smith and Baines were selected by the Today's Game Era Committee, a 16-member panel appointed by the Hall of Fame to review players retired for at least 15 seasons who were passed over by the Baseball Writers' Association of America as well as managers, umpires and executives.
Smith was a unanimous selection, while Baines got 12 of 16 votes to clear the 75 percent threshold for induction. Meanwhile, Lou Piniella, who managed five teams to 1,835 wins, the 16th most in history, fell one vote short with 11. Seven finalists received fewer than five votes.
Neither Smith nor Baines came close to being inducted by the BBWAA during their time on the ballot. Smith was named on more than 50 percent of ballots just once in 15 years (2012, 50.6 percent). Baines topped out at 6.1 percent in his fourth year and fell off the ballot after receiving fewer than the required 5 percent in 2011.
Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who made the announcement on MLB Network, said such committees "were established as a sort of a court of appeals or an opportunity in the event over time it was felt somebody slipped through the cracks."
Smith and Baines didn't seem to mind the long wait. Smith, 61, retired after the 1997 season with more saves than any player before him. His 478 saves are third all-time behind Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.
"I never, never, never gave up hope," Smith said, "and then when they started the second-chance ballot, I thought my chances got a little better. Today was probably the most nervous I've been with this Hall of Fame voting thing."
Baines, 59, played 14 of his 22 seasons for the White Sox, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 Draft. He played for five teams in all and finished with 488 doubles and 384 home runs.
"Wasn't really expecting it, but very grateful that it happened," Baines said. "I have four wonderful kids who are very proud of their dad today."
Smith was joined by Rivera and Hoffman as the only closers with at least 10 seasons of 30-plus saves. Hoffman was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, and Rivera, in his first year on the ballot, is expected to be part of Smith's induction class.
Smith pitched in an era when closers routinely pitched more than an inning. He got at least four outs for 169 of his 478 saves and had 12 straight seasons of at least 60 appearances, a Major League record. He's also the only reliever with 13 straight seasons of 25-plus saves and 10 straight of at least 30. He finished top five in Cy Young voting three times.
Smith initially resisted efforts by the Cubs to move him to the bullpen, but it cleared his path to the Majors and eventually the Hall of Fame.
"You gotta have really thick skin," Smith said of the role. "But you know the one thing I learned really myself, was like when you're going good, don't get too high, and when you're struggling a little bit, don't beat yourself up.
"If I could go home and put my head on the pillow and say, 'I did the best I can that day.' If you go out there and you make quality pitches day in and day out, good things are going to happen."
Baines served as a designated hitter for 1,643 of his 2,830 career games, and his entrance into the Hall of Fame could help the case of Edgar Martinez, who fell just short of BBWAA induction (70.4 percent) in 2018.
"Everything I hear or read, DH is really not part of the game, I guess," Baines said. "But I disagree. It's part of the game. You should recognize the DH as a part of the game until they get rid of it. Maybe this will open up doors for some more DHs."
The Today's Game Era Committee is one of four Eras Committees -- along with Modern Baseball, Golden Days and Early Baseball -- that provide an avenue outside BBWAA voting to make the Hall. Others on this year's ballot were Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, George Steinbrenner and Piniella.More »