It’s time for baseball’s all-time saves leader to close out one more gimme.
Yankees great Mariano Rivera made his first — and likely only — appearance on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot released Monday, highlighting a large contingent of players with local ties that includes first-timer Andy Pettitte, the former Yankees lefthander, and returnee Billy Wagner, the former Mets closer.
Candidates must be named on at least 75 percent of ballots to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Baseball Writers’ Association of America members with at least 10 consecutive years of coverage — more than 400 voters in all — choose up to 10 candidates. Results will be announced Jan. 22.
Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home runs leader, and Roger Clemens, a former ace for the Red Sox and Yankees who won seven Cy Young Awards, are on the ballot for a seventh time. Last year, the steroid-tainted stars fell well short of election. Clemens received 57.3 percent of votes, Bonds 56.4 percent.
In 19 major-league seasons — all with the Yankees — Rivera totaled 652 saves and a 2.21 ERA (plus 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA in 16 postseasons). His election is considered a virtual certainty.
Pettitte, who played 15 seasons with the Yankees and three with the Astros, had a career 3.85 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3,316 innings and a 256-153 record. Wagner — whose career numbers aside from his saves total (422, sixth all time) compare favorably to Trevor Hoffman, voted in last year — was on only 11.1 percent of ballots last year. With the Mets from 2006 to 2009, Wagner had 101 saves and a 2.37 ERA.
Among returnees, the Edgar Martinez (70.4 percent) and former Yankee Mike Mussina (63.5 percent) had the highest percentage of votes last year.
Among those joining Rivera and Pettitte as first-timers are the late Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Todd Helton, Michael Young, Miguel Tejada and Rick Ankiel, the pitcher-turned-outfielder who is pursuing another comeback as a pitcher.
Other former Yankees: Lance Berkman (first time on ballot), Freddy Garcia (first), Travis Hafner (first), Andruw Jones (second), Ted Lilly (first), Derek Lowe (first), Gary Sheffield (fifth), Vernon Wells (first) and Kevin Youkilis (first).
Other former Mets: Ankiel, Jason Bay (first), Jeff Kent (sixth), Darren Oliver (first), and Sheffield.
Rick Ankiel, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Freddy García, Jon Garland, Travis Hafner, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Edgar Martínez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Darren Oliver, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Juan Pierre, Plácido Polanco, Manny Ramírez, Mariano Rivera, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis, Michael Young.