Every year, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) distributes ballots to qualified members, who each nominate up to ten eligible players for the honor of being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. For the first time in the association’s history, one player has been selected by every single member.
Mariano Rivera — known affectionately as “Mo,” and with more than just a little professional fear as “The Sandman” for his ability to put other teams to bed, — had the distinction this year of being selected by all 425 BBWAA ballots. This is the first time a player has ever received 100 percent of the vote, and beats out the previous record of 99.3 percent, achieved in 2016 by the selection of Ken Griffey, Jr.
Rivera was his usual humble self in accepting the honor during a conference call with press on Tuesday. “After my career, I was thinking that I had a shot to be a Hall of Famer, but this was just beyond imagination,” he said. Speaking with YES TV, he was equally genteel:
Westchester County Executive George Latimer, a self-avowed Mets fan, released a statement saying even he “can admit that this unanimous vote is well deserved and solidifies [Rivera’s] place in baseball history.” The statement goes on to praise Rivera not just for his athleticism, but his charitable and humanitarian efforts. “We are proud of him, and proud to call him a Westchester resident,” Latimer concludes.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson released his own statement on Wednesday morning, saying, “New Rochelle takes special pride in Mariano, who has been a selfless contributor to our community.”
Rivera, in addition to being widely accepted as one of, if not the greatest closing pitcher in the history of baseball, has also become widely known for his humanitarian efforts in both the local and global community. He and his wife, Pastor Clara Rivera, helped with the renovation and revitalization of Refugio de Esperanza in New Rochelle, and helped distribute backpacks to local school children and collect relief supplies for Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, among many other local events. He is also the founder of a namesake foundation dedicated to helping children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
Rivera, along with five others including Roy Holladay and Mike Mussina, will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at a special ceremony on July 21.