Tuesday’s National Baseball Hall of Fame voting could not have gone better from a Yankees perspective. Mariano Rivera was always expected to sail into the Hall, but it was a genuine thrill to see Rivera become the first unanimous selection in MLB history. Not only that, but Mike Mussina’s time on the ballot also came to an end, with the wily right-hander also receiving induction in his sixth year of eligibility.
Rivera, of course, is among the most beloved figures to every play the game. The entire baseball community embraced him, and it is more than fitting that he managed to find his way onto every ballot, no matter how stingy the voter.
While Mussina is not revered the way Rivera is, it’s still a wonderful surprise that Mussina will get his overdue recognition this year. Mussina was an excellent pitcher throughout a successful period of Yankees baseball, but one that unfortunately did not yield a championship. He had the poor luck to just miss the Yankees’ World Series windows, but at last, he now has the good fortune of being enshrined in Cooperstown.
Here’s what Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had to say about the announcements, as per Newsday:
“Mariano was a fierce competitor and a humble champion, which has made him such a beloved baseball legend. Success and stardom never changed Mariano, and his respect for the game, the Pinstripes and for his teammates and opponents alike makes this day such a celebration of his legacy. There will be many more great and talented relief pitchers, but there will never be another like him. This is another incredible achievement for Mariano, and a day like today brings me great pride knowing he wore the Pinstripes for each and every game of his remarkable career.”
“I’m very pleased that Hall of Fame voters recognized Mike’s consistently dominant career by honoring him with enshrinement into Cooperstown. While he went about his business in an understated way, Mike was a premier pitcher for almost two decades while competing in the grueling American League East. I’d like to congratulate Mike on this incredible distinction and for his many years of contributions to the Yankees and the game of baseball.”
Every corner of the Yankees community came out to support the two pitchers. Let’s take a look at some of the best bits from across the internet:
Congrats, Mo. — Derekhttps://t.co/KOD9tpbbH8— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) January 22, 2019
What a #HOF2019 class! Congrats to my brother, Mariano Riviera, on becoming the first player to be elected unanimously. So happy for all four inductees, including my mentor Edgar Martinez, my teammate Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay, one of the best I ever faced.— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) January 22, 2019
Congratulations, Mo!! You truly are the best!— Paul O'Neill (@PaulONeillYES) January 22, 2019
I learned more from Mike Mussina about pitchers—what they do and how they do it—than from anyone else In the last two decades covering baseball. The day he retired I thought he would be a Hall of Famer. The call finally came. Congratulations to Mussina, a well deserved honor.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) January 23, 2019
LOOKOUT !!! Mariano & Moose into the Hall Of Fame !!! Yankees representing big time next July in Cooperstown!! Congratulations to you both simply a pleasure watching you pitch— Ken Singleton (@29alltime) January 22, 2019
Mariano Rivera got every vote. That is stunning. And fitting.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) January 22, 2019
This guy had the best view of it all. pic.twitter.com/WbMvaORcFi— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 23, 2019
My most vivid Mike Mussina memory is his final game, inbetween games of a doubleheader at Fenway Park. He was finally a 20-game winner, and though we didn't know it, he had decided to retire. He was munching on some greasy McDonald's fries and seemed just so, so satisfied.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) January 23, 2019
Mike Mussina was often underrated for being so good yet just shy of some of the game's big feats: A game shy of a World Series ring (2001), an out shy of a perfect game (2001), second place in the Cy Young voting (1999). Finally he's recognized for a Hall of Fame career.— Tristan H. Cockcroft (@SultanofStat) January 22, 2019
It won’t be the headline, but I’m so glad Mike Mussina was elected. He’s an all-time great who more than deserves the honor.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) January 22, 2019
Congrats to Mariano Rivera on joining Bruce Springsteen as the only humans with 100% approval ratings from the Baseball Writers' Association of America— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) January 22, 2019
In retrospect, of course Mariano Rivera got every baseball writers’ vote. No player in the history of the game has ever helped make more deadlines.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) January 22, 2019
Mariano Rivera had an impact on a countless number of people, but I was probably one of the most fortunate. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without sitting next to him for so many years. Thanks for everything Mo. No one deserves it more.— David Robertson (@DRob30) January 23, 2019
This is who Mariano Rivera is. On the day he set the All Time Saves record he stopped his press conference to congratulate me for becoming a father. https://t.co/F7BoVsCMs3— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) January 22, 2019
One of the things I enjoyed about Rivera was that he would gladly show his cutter grip to just about anyone who asked — reporters, teammates, opponents, whoever. It didn’t matter, no one else else could ever replicate what he did with it.— Emma Span (@emmaspan) January 23, 2019