A report by Joseph Zucker for The Bleacher Report.
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on Tuesday became the first player unanimously elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Amazing,” Rivera said of his achievement, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. “It was a beautiful, long career.”
Ken Griffey Jr. nearly became the first unanimous Hall of Famer in 2016. He was included on 437 of 440 ballots (99.3 percent), which set a record (in 1992, Tom Seaver was on 98.8 percent of ballots).
The Athletic’s Marc Carig quipped about why the Panamanian might have been such a favorite among the voting bloc in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America:
Rivera is universally regarded as the greatest closer of all time. He retired as MLB’s all-time saves leader (652) and made 13 All-Star appearances in 19 seasons. The right-hander finished with a 2.21 ERA and 2.76 FIP and owns by far the best adjusted ERA ever (205), per Baseball Reference.
Rivera also helped the Yankees win five World Series titles, and he was invaluable as New York turned to him to finish postseason games. In 141 playoff innings, he recorded 110 strikeouts and allowed a paltry 86 hits, 21 walks and 11 earned runs. His 42 postseason saves more than double the next closest player’s total (Brad Lidge, 18).
Rivera was the World Series MVP in 1999 and American League Championship Series MVP in 2003.
To honor him, MLB added his name to the American League Reliever of the Year Award when it unveiled the honor in 2014.
That Hall of Fame voters all agreed to send Rivera to Cooperstown, New York, on his first try illustrates the impact he made on the mound.