On January 22, 2019, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted four players into the MLB Hall of Fame: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina. Of the four inducted in mid-January, two, Halladay and Mussina, were first-round draft picks. The January 2019 inductees will join Lee Smith and Harold Baines, who were selected by the Today’s Game Era Committee to join the Hall in December. To be elected to the Hall of Fame, players must receive 75 percent of votes or 319 out of 425 votes.
It is only right to lead this list with the first ever inductee in MLB history to receive a unanimous first-ballot election, and for a good reason. This Yankees closer was a 13-time All-Star, five-time champion and the 1999 World Series MVP. One of the many impressive marks of his career, Rivera finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting on five separate occasions… as a reliever. Mariano has the most saves in MLB history at 652, he’s third in career WHIP (1.00), and he registered 40 or more saves nine times and 50 or more saves in a season twice.
As the postseason started, Rivera proved his merit by making history with 42 playoff saves, surpassing second-place closer Brad Lidge by 24 saves. Mariano also etched his name into MLB history with a postseason ERA of .70. The most remarkable feat of them all, however, is the fact that he did all of it using (almost exclusively) just one pitch: Rivera’s famed and feared cutter.
The late, great Roy Halladay was a legend in his time. Hailed as one of baseball’s most dominant starting pitchers of his era, this eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner finished his career 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 2,117 strikeouts. Roy led the league in shutouts fours times, in complete games seven times and in innings pitched four times, he led his league in wins twice and threw two perfect games in the 2010 season.
Tragically lost in Nov. 2017, Halladay’s wife offered words on his behalf stating, “His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career. Tonight’s announcement is the end result of that effort. If only Roy were here to personally express his gratitude for this honor, what an even more amazing day this would be.”
Finishing his career as a .312 hitter with 309 homers, 1,291 RBI and a .933 OPS, Martinez landed the necessary 75% of votes in his 10th and final year of eligibility. As a longtime Seattle Mariners third baseman and designated hitter, Edgar was a seven-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger and two-time winner of the batting title. Martinez led the American League in on-base percentage three times, in batting average and doubles twice and in runs and RBI once.
While Mussina may have been a surprise inductee, that is not to say that he isn’t deserving of the title. This starting picture for the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees finished his career 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 2,813 strikeouts. Mike was a five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner throwing 57 career complete games and 23 shutouts, and made 21 postseason starts, going 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. In 2008, at the age of 39, Mussina became the oldest pitcher to record a 20-victory season (20-9). Winning 15 or more games 11 times and winning seven Gold Glove Awards for fielding, “Moose” was elected to the Hall of Fame in his sixth year on the ballot.