Mariano Rivera Voted Unanimously into Baseball’s Hall of Fame

The great Yankees closer, who had 'a beautiful, long career,' gets the nod from all 425 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America in a sports first

Image Credit: RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images

Dominant New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera became the first player ever to receive a unanimous vote into Baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Over his 19-year professional career — which was entirely spent in New York — Rivera racked up a record 652 saves and contributed to five World Series championships.

All 425 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted to send the iconic pitcher to the Hall of Fame in the unprecedented decision.

“Amazing … It was a beautiful, long career,” Rivera told the MLB Network.

Also voted into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame on January 22 was designated hitter Edgar Martinez, as well as pitchers Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay.

Only two years earlier, Ken Griffey Jr. received the Hall of Fame blessing from 437 out of 440 BBWWA voters, breaking the record for the highest percentage of yes votes, with 99.32 percent.

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Widely regarded as the greatest relief pitcher in Major League Baseball history, the humble Rivera received praise from many.

“Mariano was a fierce competitor and a humble champion, which has made him such a beloved baseball legend,” said Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “Success and stardom never changed Mariano, and his respect for the game, the pinstripes and for his teammates and opponents alike [make] 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.”

Alex Rodriquez, baseball legend and longtime teammate of Rivera, took to Twitter to also share a congratulatory message. “What a #HOF2019 class! Congrats to my brother, Mariano Riviera, on becoming the first player to be elected unanimously. So happy for all four inductees, including my mentor Edgar Martinez, my teammate Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay, one of the best I ever faced,” he tweeted.

Even New York native President Donald Trump shared his praise and admiration of the accomplished pitcher in a Twitter posting.

“Congratulations to Mariano Rivera on unanimously being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame! Not only a great player but a great person. I am thankful for Mariano’s support of the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission and @FitnessGov. #EnterSandman #HOF2019,” said the president.

Rivera was one of the top players of sport’s most winningest team when it comes to championships. And in 1997, just two years into his professional career, MLB retired the number 42 for all teams in honor of the great Jackie Robinson. As part of the tribute, MLB allowed active players who were already wearing that number — as Rivera was — to continue doing so for the rest of their careers.

So Mariano was, and will remain, the last player ever to wear that famed number.

The newest Hall of Famers will be inducted on July 21 this year.

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