COOPERSTOWN, NY – The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced earlier this week and to no surprise, Mariano Rivera was inducted on his first ballot. What was surprising is that he got in with 100% of the vote. As Angry Ward mentioned Wednesday, no player in history had done so before. This isn’t to say that no player before deserved an unanimous decision, but rather that the voters have been petulant jackasses for over 80 years.
Mike Mussina had been gaining traction in his Hall of Fame bid over the last couple of years. But he made a massive jump this year from 63% to just over the 75% threshold required for induction. Moose was both brilliant and frustrating. When he was on, he was un-hittable. He was also very unlucky. Twice during his career, he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and twice he failed to close out the no-no. He memorably had a two strike count on pinch-hitter Carl Everett with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a bid for a perfect game at Fenway Park. Everett hit a soft line drive single to break up the no-hitter.
It was a microcosm of Mussina’s career. Always brilliant, but never quite getting over the hump. Mussina came to New York the year after the Yankees beat the Mets in the 2000 World Series and retired before the Yankees beat the Phillies in the 2009 Series. He had two 19-win seasons and three 18-win seasons. Finally in 2008, his last season in the majors, Mussina reached the 20-win mark. It was an exclamation point on a great career. To be honest, Moose probably should have gotten into the Hall sooner with his 270 wins and seven Gold Glove awards.
Edgar Martinez will also be inducted this year. Martinez had a long and distinguished career as a Designated Hitter. Its good to see that after 45 years, the DH is getting its due. Martinez finished his career with a .312 average and actually hit .375 against his Hall of Fame classmates, Rivera, Mussina and Halladay. He won the batting title twice in ’92 and ’95 and was and All-Star seven times.
The late Roy Halladay rounds out the class of 2019. Halladay’s 202 wins don’t jump out at you, but he won two Cy Young awards and finished in the top three for the award three other times. In his Cy Young seasons Halladay won 22 and 21 games. He was dominant as a starting pitcher while playing for a Toronto Blue Jays team that had to play almost 40 games every year against the Yankees and Red Sox. Playing in the Al East definitely hurt Halladay on paper but for anyone who watched him pitch, there’s no doubting his brilliance. Halladay died when his plane went down in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. He, along with Mo, Moose, and Martinez make for a fine Hall of Fame class this year.
Wait, no mention of the Rangers or Hockey this week? I guess you’ll have to wait until next time. That’s it for me today.