Hall of Fame class of 2019 announced
Yesterday, I wrote about how I don’t really care about the Hall of Fame vote anymore because the entire process has become a joke. I stand by that, but figure we still have to cover the vote itself. That came yesterday, and the voters elected four new members, including a historic one. That would be Mariano Rivera, who became the first player to ever make it in with 100 percent of the votes, something I slammed the voters for not doing just yesterday. So, good on them for remedying that one. Rivera obviously deserves this as the greatest reliever of all time with no close competition. As Red Sox fans, we know firsthand just how amazing Rivera was throughout his entire career, even if Boston was able to get the better of him on a few occasions. Clearly there were guys who deserved the unanimous vote before him, but Rivera was worthy of this and it’s fantastic to see that stupid trend finally come to an end.
Roy Halladay was not unanimous, but he was a slam dunk in his first year on the ballot. The former Blue Jay and Phillie got kind of a slow start on his career, but his peak was otherworldly and he was the best or at least in the conversation for being the best pitcher pitcher in baseball for an entire decade. He was an absolute workhorse, reaching 220 innings eight times and 250 innings twice, and that’s all while putting up numbers at the top or near the top of the leaderboard in ERA and ERA estimators. Again, Red Sox fans know Halladay’s greatness firsthand from his Blue Jays days where he won one Cy Young and finished in the top five for four others. After his trade to the Phillies he continued his dominance and even tossed a no-hitter in his first postseason appearance. Of course, Halladay won’t be there for his induction as the pitcher tragically passed away in a plane crash over a year ago.
Edgar Martinez was a somewhat controversial figure on the ballot, not for anything he specifically did but rather because he was primarily a designated hitter. Voters decided that wasn’t a real position despite it being in the lineup for 45 years. They finally moved past that, though, and he was an incredibly worthy induction. Edgar hit .312/.418/.515 over an 18-year career and was a consistent machine in the middle of Seattle’s lineup for almost two decades. Pedro Martinez, the greatest pitcher who ever lived, called him the toughest hitter he faced over his career.
Finally, Mike Mussina was probably the most surprising induction, but that’s not the same as saying he was undeserving. Mussina didn’t have the same high-level peak as some of these other guys, but he was very, very good for his entire 18-year-career. He finished fourth in the Cy Young vote in his first full season in 1992, then finished sixth in his final season in 2008, with other great seasons with Cy Young votes in between. The biggest intrigue around Mussina right now is what hat he’ll wear in Cooperstown, as he spent ten years with Baltimore but eight with New York in a more high-profile period of his career. My guess is he goes with the Orioles, but it could go either way.