Mariano Rivera has done something no one else in baseball history has ever done — not Willie Mays, not Babe Ruth, not Stan Musial, not Tom Seaver, not even Ken Griffey Jr.
Rivera, the legendary ex-Yankees closer and baseball’s all-time saves leader, is the first player in history to be unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame.
Results from this year’s vote were announced Tuesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, with Rivera one of four players voted in, along with Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina.
But none of them were quite like Mo, who managed to get every single vote on 425 ballots cast by baseball writers. He topped Ken Griffey Jr., who set the record in 2016 with 99.32 percent of the vote, missing just three ballots.
Here’s the moment Rivera got the call — stay for the celebration that happens when his friends and family find out he was elected unanimously.
History! Mariano Rivera is officially the first player in MLB history to receive 100% of the votes! Truly remarkable experience for myself and his family! pic.twitter.com/WMrbFRsVAb
— Martino Puccio (@MartinoPuccio) January 22, 2019
Prior to Rivera, the top vote-getters in Hall of Fame history looked like this:
• Ken Griffey Jr. — 99.32 percent (2016)
• Tom Seaver — 98.84 (1992)
• Nolan Ryan — 98.79 (1999)
• George Brett — 98.19 (1999)
• Cal Ripken Jr. — 98.53 (2007)
• Ty Cobb — 98.23 (1936)
It’s such an improbable feat because BBWAA voters have notoriously fickle about letting someone in unanimously. There’s always been a small handful of people would say that if Willie Mays (or any other all-time great you’d prefer) didn’t get in with 100 percent, then nobody deserves to.
This year, one voter wrote a column explaining why he didn’t want to vote for Rivera because he didn’t believe in saves as a valuable stat. Rather than not voting for Rivera, he decided just not to vote, so he wasn’t the one to cost Rivera the shot at 100 percent.
However, on Tuesday, that writer — Bill Ballou from the Telegram in Worcester, Mass. — revealed that he did, in fact, cast a ballot and voted for Rivera after all.
When even the initial detractors come around, that’s a sign that 100 percent for Rivera was meant to be.
More Hall of Fame coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Hall of Fame adds four: Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina
• Rivera becomes first-ever unanimous Hall selection
• Bonds, Clemens, Schilling make progress toward Cooperstown
• Jeter headlines star-studded 2020 ballot
• The phone rang for Halladay, one of the greats