Suzuki, who racked up 3,089 hits over 19 MLB seasons, spent parts of three years with the Yankees from 2012-14 in what were his age 38-40 campaigns.
The lefty-swinging Suzuki did most of his damage with the Seattle Mariners, with whom he won AL MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001; set the MLB single-single hits record with 262 in 2004; and received Gold Glove and All-Star honors in each of his first 10 seasons.
Between his native Japan, where the speedy outfielder spent his first nine professional seasons, and the U.S., Suzuki racked up 4,367 hits in his career.
Sabathia, meanwhile, spent much of his prime with the Yankees, with whom he signed a seven-year, $161 million contract before the 2009 season in what was then the biggest contract ever given to a pitcher.
The left-handed Sabathia immediately delivered, playing a central role in the Yankees’ World Series championship run in 2009, including winning MVP of the ALCS.
Sabathia pitched to a 251-161 record, a 3.74 ERA and 3,093 strikeouts over 3577.1 innings in his 19 seasons, which included 11 in New York. The six-time All-Star also pitched for Cleveland, with whom he won the AL Cy Young in 2007, and Milwaukee. He finished within the top five of Cy Young voting five times.
“I think he’s a Hall of Famer,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said in 2019, before Sabathia’s final season. “I think the years of dominance, the years of being completely relevant, again 18 years in and still a really good pitcher in this league. To have racked up the numbers he has, yeah, I think he’s a Hall of Famer and I think he’s going to get in.”
Sabathia is one of 19 MLB pitchers to record at least 3,000 strikeouts. Fourteen are in the Hall of Fame, while two, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, are active players and therefore not yet eligible. The only two to not make the Hall are Roger Clemens, who was linked to performance-enhancing drugs, and Curt Schilling, whose off-field controversies complicated his case.
Also set to appear on the ballot for the first time is longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who won the AL Cy Young in 2010; finished second in 2009 and 2014; and notched three other top-10 finishes.
Hernandez burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old and quickly established himself as one of his generation’s best pitchers, going 154-109 with a 3.16 ERA and 2,264 strikeouts in 2,415.2 innings over his first 11 seasons. Hernandez won two AL ERA titles, led the league with 19 wins in 2009 and pitched a perfect game in 2015, all for a Mariners team that never made the playoffs despite their ace’s heroics.
King Felix fizzled in his early 30s and made his final appearance at age 33. He finished his career with a 169-136 record, a 3.42 ERA and 2,524 strikeouts over 2729.2 innings in 15 seasons, all with Seattle.
Other 2025 ballot newcomers with longer odds of being elected are former Yankees and Mets slugger Curtis Granderson, who hit 344 home runs and stole 153 bases; former Dodgers and Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who earned four All-Star selections and a Gold Glove; and former Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who won AL MVP in 2008.
Next year also marks the final year of eligibility for former Mets closer Billy Wagner, who on Tuesday finished five votes short of hitting the necessary 75% threshold. Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton make up the Hall of Fame’s newly unveiled class of 2024.