Mariano Rivera, Hall of Fame 2019 Photo Credit: Fox 5 TV

Mariano Rivera: Unanimous In Our Book, But There’s Always One Writer…

Fittingly, Mariano Rivera’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) is a foregone conclusion. The only mystery is if he will become the first unanimous selection…

Pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, and Andy Pettitte; along with infielder Todd Helton appear for the first time on Hall of Fame ballots mailed to members of the Baseball Writers Association Of America (BBWAA). Of the active members, there are approximately 600 members who vote on the Hall of Fame including an estimated 40 who are from Canada and Japan.

It is a writer’s prerogative as to whether or not he (I wonder if there’s a she) makes his ballot public. Controversy swirls around elections of this kind whenever there is a stray vote cast that is not in line with all the others. Recommended is a piece written by Joel Sherman for the New York Post, in which he explains how he approaches his ballot.

In this years Cy Young voting, for instance, Jacob deGrom was minus one vote to make his selection unanimous. Following the award’s announcement, a nationwide APB was put out to find the culprit. If interested, there is a database that tracks the voting of members.

Mariano Rivera is expected to be in the middle of a similar controversy when the HOF ballots are counted following their due date to be received by December 31, 2018.

As a first-timer on the ballot, Mariano Rivera is special to many of us, Yankees fans or not. Near-perfect in everything he did on and off the field, Rivera was a marvel to watch. Even more incredible, his accomplishments came due to his pinpoint accuracy with only one pitch – his cutter. Every batter he faced knew what was coming – they just couldn’t square up against the pitch.

Should Rivera be elected unanimously, he will be the first ever to do so. Of the 127 elected to the HOF to date:

  • Ken Griffey, Jr. received the highest percentage of votes (99.32%).
  • Greg Maddux received the highest number of votes (555).
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. was left off the fewest ballots (3)

Holdover players from last year’s balloting add intrigue this year as each strives to reach the elusive plateau of receiving 75 percent of the votes cast. Falling 20 votes shy of the required total for election last year was third baseman-designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who in his ninth year of eligibility polled 297 votes (70.4 percent). Also named on more than half the ballots were pitchers Mike Mussina (63.5) and Roger Clemens (57.3), outfielder Barry Bonds (56.4) and pitcher Curt Schilling (51.2).

A player remains on the ballot for only ten years, after which he can just be elected by a small group labeled, The Veteran’s Committee. For reasons known only to the HOF, it is now called the Era Committee, and they will be meeting during the Owner’s Meetings in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks to make their selection(s) if any. Editor’s Note: Join my campaign to get George Steinbrenner elected on this year’s ballot.

Attending the Ceremonies

Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame 2006 Photo Credit: Steve Contursi
Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame 2006 Photo Credit: Steve Contursi

Mariano Rivera, and possibly others will be installed as a new member of the HOF on the last Sunday in July 2019 in Cooperstown, New York. It’s a journey worth taking. I was there in 2006 when Bruce Sutter was inducted among a throng of red-clad fans from St. Louis. Use this link to make arrangements for your weekend stay in Cooperstown. Don’t procrastinate, do it now as the village becomes a friendly zoo on these occasions.

Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame 2006 Photo Credit: Steve Contursi
Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame 2006 Photo Credit: Steve Contursi

 

It’s an outdoor ceremony, and it’s the first-come-first reserve as far as claiming territory on the grass. Bring your blankets and chairs and a massive supply of water.

And don’t miss a walk down Main Street where Hall of Famers and old-timers sit at tables outside stores, available for autographs, photos, and general chat. A few like Tom Seaver and Pete Rose will be locked inside stores where their autograph can be purchased for the going rate.

Mariano Rivera Day

It’s Mo’s day, though. Unanimous or not, Mariano Rivera will step to the podium to give his acceptance speech. Knowing his humility, his respect for God and family, and his love for the Yankees and his teammates, we could write the speech for him. For any fan of baseball, this is a day to look forward to…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor

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