New York is a tiny community known for basically one thing: It’s the site of
the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Only about 2,000 permanent
residents live in Cooperstown, but every July about ten times that many people arrive
from all over the country for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony that
takes place at the Clark Sports Center.
six modern-day legends were admitted to the Hall of Fame: Mariano Rivera, Roy
Halladay, Edgar Martínez, Mike Mussina, Harold Baines, and Lee Smith. That
means six new plaques were added to the collection on the first floor of the
museum. If you visit Cooperstown in 2019, you’ll be able to see 329 of those
plaques, each of them representing an individual who has been inducted into the
Hall of Fame—probably the highest honor in the sport of baseball.
take this opportunity to learn more about the
How the Class
of 2019 Got In
people get confused by the voting procedure for the Hall of Fame (it doesn’t
help that they keep changing the rules), so here’s a brief rundown:
- Potential inductees are voted on by
active members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). The
BBWAA is an independent organization authorized by the Board of Directors of
the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., to elect candidates to
- BBWAA voters must have been active
as baseball writers and BBWAA members for at least ten years.
- Eligible players must have played
at least ten seasons in the Major Leagues. Their career must have occurred, at
least in part, during the period that begins 20 years before and ends 5 years
before the BBWAA vote.
- Players can be listed on the BBWAA
ballot for a maximum of ten years. If they don’t make the Hall of Fame after
ten attempts, they become ineligible for future ballots. (Players who don’t get
in the Hall of Fame during their eligibility period can be voted in at a later date
by the Eras Committees.)
- The BBWAA voting ballot consists of
an alphabetical list of candidates who received a vote on at least 5% of the
previous year's ballots, along with first-time players who were nominated by
the BBWAA Screening Committee. Individuals officially banned from Major League
Baseball cannot be listed on the ballot (sorry, Pete!).
- BBWAA voters can pick up to ten
players. No write-in voting allowed.
- Any candidate who receives votes on
at least 75% of the ballots is admitted into the Hall of Fame. There is no
maximum number of candidates who can be admitted in any given year.
2019 vote, 425 ballots were cast by BBWAA members. Candidates needed 319 votes
to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
of 2019 made history as Mariano Rivera became the first player ever to get a
every BBWAA ballot (425 out
of 425). Prior to this, the nearest anyone had ever come to getting a unanimous
vote was Ken Griffey, Jr., who sailed into the Hall of Fame in 2016 with 437
votes on 440 ballots (99.32%).
voting for the other newly minted Hall of Famers went as follows:
- Roy Halladay: 363 votes (85.41%)
- Edgar Martinez: 363 votes (85.41%)
- Mike Mussina: 326 votes (76.71%)
and Harold Baines were both voted in by the Today's Game Committee, which
considers the contributions of BBWAA-ineligible candidates active from 1988 and
the first appearance on the ballot for Halladay and Rivera. Martinez was
elected in his tenth and final year of eligibility.
were no near-miss candidates this year. Among the unsuccessful candidates, the
one who came closest to the 319-vote cutoff was Curt Schilling, who received
259 mentions in his 7
th year on the BBWAA ballot.
Inductees for 2019
of the 2019 Hall of Famers racked up impressive achievements on the diamond. Here’s
a brief overview of their individual accomplishments:
– The master of the cut fastball
(cutter), Mariano played his entire 19-year career (1995-2013) with the
, serving as the team's closer for most of
that time and winning five World Series rings. This right-hander is widely
considered the best reliever in MLB history, and it's easy to see why. He holds
the record for career saves (652), and his 2.21 ERA is the all-time best in the
live-ball (1920-present) era. He’s also a 13-time MLB All-Star, five-time American
League Rolaids Relief Man Award, and three-time Delivery Man of the Year award
for best reliever.
– An imposing figure at 6'6",
Halladay spent most of his pitching career with the Toronto Blue Jays. He led
his league in complete games no fewer than seven times, and his overall
achievements on the mound earned him two Cy Young Awards. He was also
responsible for pitching the 20th perfect game in MLB history, on May 29, 2010.
Tragically, Halladay died on November 7, 2017, when the plane he was piloting
crashed off the Florida coast. This marks the first time since 1973 that the
BBWAA has voted a player posthumously into the Hall of Fame.
– The Seattle Mariners' reliable
designated hitter and third baseman, Martinez is best remembered for his
game-winning two-run double off the Yankees’ Jack McDowell in Game 5 of the
1995 American League Division Series. His achievements hardly end there,
though. He's a seven-time All-Star and five-time winner of the Silver Slugger
Award, and he also claimed the American League's batting championship in 1992
and 1995. When he retired in 2004, he was one of only six Major League players
in history to end their career with stats that matched or surpassed all the
following: .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging
percentage, 300 home runs, and 500 doubles.
– Over an 18-year career as a pitcher,
Mussina racked up at least ten wins 17 times, and he ended up with 270 total
victories on the mound. He concluded his career in 2008 on a high point, after
achieving his only 20-win season. That made Mussina the oldest (age 39) pitcher
to reach his first 20-win season. Noted for his consistent performance, Mussina
placed among the top five in Cy Young Award voting on six occasions, and he’s
also a seven-time Gold Glove winner.
– A skilled reliever who played for eight
teams over his 18-year career, Smith retired in 1998 with 478 saves, which at
the time was the MLB record (he's currently number 3 on the list). He was the
MLB season saves leader four times: 1983, 1991, 1992, and 1994. It’s for good
reason that Smith is considered one of the very best one-inning closers in the
history of the sport. He also pitched 546 straight games without a fielding
error—still a National League record.
– In a career that spanned from 1980 to
2001, Baines played 1643 games as a designated hitter (an
MLB record until David Ortiz broke it in 2014). You can add a few more numbers
to his impressive stats: 384 home runs, 1628 RBIs, 2866 hits, and six All-Star
selections. In 2005, he won his only World Series ring as bench coach for the
Chicago White Sox.
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