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Mariano Rivera first to be unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame

Yankees closer receives all 425 votes. Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay also are elected.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of ALDS Game 1 against Detroit at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 2011. Photo Credit: Newsday/John Dunn

Mariano Rivera made history again.

The iconic Yankees closer, whose lethal cutter helped him amass a record 652 saves over 19 seasons, on Tuesday became the first National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee to be unanimously voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, appearing on all 425 ballots.

“I wasn’t expecting even to be a Hall of Famer when I was playing, I was just happy to be in the big leagues and play and give the Yankees as many championships as I can,” Rivera said Tuesday night on a conference call. “After my career I was thinking that I have a good shot to be a Hall of Famer. But this was beyond my imagination. I was amazed ... To be considered a Hall of Famer is quite an honor; being unanimous is just amazing.”

Mariano Rivera of the Yankees smiles after a

Mariano Rivera's career stats

82-60 record

1,283 2/3 innings pitched

2.21 ERA

652 saves

1,173 strikeouts

1.000 WHIP

56.2 wins above replacement

Pitcher Roy Halladay, who died in a plane crash in November 2017 at age 40, earned 85.4 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. Also honored were designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who barely missed last year but received 85.4 percent in his 10th and final year on the ballot, and former Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, who got 76.7 percent in his sixth year.

Seventy-five percent is required for induction.

Andy Pettitte, in his first year of eligibility after a career in which he won a record 19 postseason games, got 9.9 percent (a candidate must receive 5 percent to stay on the ballot). Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose association with PEDs have kept them from induction, received 59.1 and 59.5 percent, respectively.

There was never any doubt about Rivera’s induction – really, never a doubt by the halfway point of his career. The only question was whether the closer, signed by the Yankees for $3,000 in 1990 out of the tiny Panamanian fishing village of Puerto Caimito, would attain 100 percent of the vote.

“Clearly, his World Series rings and longtime statistical dominance testify to his standing among the greats to ever play our sport,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “But no matter how big a star he became, he never failed to carry himself with unerring professionalism and class. Mo was always someone who I could point to and say, ‘That’s what a Yankee should be like.’ ”

Said managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner: “There will be many more great and talented relief pitchers, but there will never be another like him. This is another incredible achievement for Mariano, and a day like today brings me great pride knowing he wore the pinstripes for each and every game of his remarkable career.”

The statistics still jump off the page. Among the most impressive, in addition to the saves: a 2.21 career regular-season ERA and 1.000 WHIP, numbers that became otherworldly in the postseason: a 0.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in 141 innings.

Derek Jeter used to say “being consistent” year after year was the hardest part of being a major leaguer. In a role that lends itself to inconsistency – “bullpens are volatile” is a go-to phrase of Cashman’s – Rivera was remarkably consistent.

In 1997, his first season as closer, he saved 43 games with a 1.88 ERA. In 2013, his last, when he was 43, he had 44 saves with a 2.11 ERA. After posting a 3.15 ERA in 2007 at age 37 – by far his worst single-season ERA as a closer – he posted ERAs of 1.40, 1.76, 1.80, 1.91, 2.16 and 2.11 over his final six seasons.

Rivera’s longtime catcher, Jorge Posada, in a statement called him “a rare, once-in-a-lifetime pitcher. There was such a humility and grace to the way he did his job — day after day and year after year.’’

Lefty or righty, it made no difference. Righties hit .215 off Rivera and slugged .320; lefties hit .209 and slugged just .267.

Joe Girardi was Rivera’s manager from 2008-13. In March 2013, shortly after Rivera announced his intent to retire at season’s end, Girardi said: “At times, it seemed like it wasn’t fair.” That was largely because of a cutter that flummoxed hitters and shattered bats throughout Rivera’s career.

“I can describe not being able to hit it to you,” Raul Ibañez once said. He went 2-for-19 with five strikeouts against Rivera. “You swing at where you saw it last, and by the time you swing where you last saw it, it’s on your handle. That’s what it feels like.”

One of the few to have prolonged success against Rivera was Martinez, who went 11-for-19 with three doubles and two home runs.

“Mo is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, and he is the greatest closer of all time,” Martinez said in a statement. “It was always a challenge to face him, but I enjoyed the competition, and I like to think he did, too. It is very special for me to be able to share this day and this honor with him.”

INCOMPARABLE
Mariano Rivera’s career numbers
                            Regular Season     Postseason
Games                   1,115                 96
Games Finished   952                     78
Innings                  1,283 2/3        141
Hits                         998                   86
Saves                     652                     42
W-L                        82-60                8-1
ERA                         2.21                  0.70
WHIP                  1.000                  0.759  

Ins and Outs
425 votes cast, 319 needed
x-Mariano Rivera 425 (100.0%)

x-Roy Halladay 363 (85.4)

Edgar Martinez 363 (85.4)

Mike Mussina 326 (76.7)

Curt Schilling 259 (60.9)

Roger Clemens 253 (59.5)

Barry Bonds 251 (59.1)

Larry Walker 232 (54.6)

Omar Vizquel 182 (42.8)

Fred McGriff 169 (39.8)

Manny Ramirez 97 (22.8)

Jeff Kent 77 (18.1)

Billy Wagner 71 (16.7)

 x-Todd Helton 70 (16.5)

Scott Rolen 73 (17.2)

Gary Sheffield 58 (13.6)

x-Andy Pettitte 42 (9.9)

Sammy Sosa 36 (8.5)

Andruw Jones 32 (7.5).
Off the ballot (received fewer than 22 votes, less than 5 percent)

x-Michael Young 9 (2.1)

x-Lance Berkman 5 (1.2)

x-Miguel Tejada 5 (1.2)

 x-Roy Oswalt 4 (0.9)

x-Placido Polanco 2 (0.5)

 x-Rick Ankiel 0

 x-Jason Bay 0

 x-Freddy Garcia 0

 x-Jon Garland 0

 x-Travis Hafner 0

 x-Ted Lilly 0

 x-Derek Lowe 0

 x-Darren Oliver 0

 x-Juan Pierre 0

 x-Vernon Wells 0

 x-Kevin Youkilis 0.
x-first year on ballot

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