Rivera takes his place in Cooperstown in Baseball Hall of Fame inductions
It’s not a big stretch to say that Mariano Rivera is among baseball’s all-time greatest closers. If not THE greatest.
Indeed, the slender Panamanian righty whose deceptively smooth delivery belied a killer cut fastball was the type of reliever who shortened games, who once the ball was handed to him in the ninth inning would almost always shut opposing batters down – cold. His nickname was “the Sandman,” and when teams heard Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman” come over the Yankee Stadium PA system, they knew they were pretty much done.
A 13-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Rivera is the MLB career saves leader with 652. Also in his trophy case: five American League Rolaids Relief Man Awards, three Delivery Man of the Year Awards and he finished in the top three in AL Cy Young voting four times. He was also a key part of the Yankees’ “Core Four” (with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada), that led the team through its last dynasty in which the team won titles in 1996 and 1998-2000.
So it comes as no surprise that he’s the first player ever to be elected unanimously by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’ll join Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay as the newest members of the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine when MLB Network broadcasts its Induction Ceremony live on Sunday, July 21.