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'Sandman' Is First-Ever Unanimous Hall of Fame Pick

He got all 425 votes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2019 12:14 AM CST
This Sept 26, 2013,photo shows New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera delivering the ball to the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning of a baseball game in New York.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
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(Newser) – This honor was saved for the one and only Mariano Rivera. Not Babe Ruth. Not Hank Aaron. Not Cy Young. Not until "the Sandman" could everyone agree. Rivera became baseball's first unanimous Hall of Fame selection, elected Tuesday along with Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and the late Roy Halladay. Rivera received all 425 votes in balloting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the AP reports. Ken Griffey Jr. held the mark for top percentage at 99.32 when he was on 437 of 440 ballots two years ago. "Beyond my imagination," said Rivera, who retired in 2013. The quartet will be enshrined in Cooperstown along with Today's Game Era Committee selections Harold Baines and Lee Smith on July 21.

Rivera is baseball's career saves leader with 652. With a steady demeanor and a fearsome cut fastball, he won five World Series over 19 seasons with the New York Yankees, four from 1996-2000 and another in 2009. The Yankees didn't even wait until Rivera's final game to retire his No. 42—he was the last player in the major leagues to wear that number, grandfathered to him when No. 42 was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997. "Wearing No. 42, representing Jackie Robinson, I assume he was the first No. 42 elected," Rivera said. "To be the last No. 42 elected to the Hall of Fame, and unanimously, is amazing." Halladay, who will be the first posthumous inductee since Deacon White in 2013, died in Nov. 2017 when an airplane he was flying crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

(Read more Mariano Rivera stories.)

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