Don’t Expect A Unanimous HOF Vote For The Great Mariano Rivera

Since Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays didn’t get 100 percent of the vote, it’s hard to believe that Mariano Rivera or any player ever will.

Today is the day.

The official Baseball Hall of Fame announcement will be broadcast live at 6pm ET on MLB Network.

The Class of 2019 will be revealed. And yes, there is a lot of intrigue this time around.

All voting Baseball Writers’ Association of America members had to have their ballots in by December 31, 2018.

There are less than 500 voters, less than 20 are held by African American baseball writers around the country. I am proud to be one of them. I’ve had my BBWAA card since 1990.

There are a few storylines to watch this year. Will Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens finally get enough votes to get in?

 

Are there enough votes for Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina?

And last, but not least, will Mariano Rivera be the first unanimous inductee?

Despite his great – you may even say flawless career – don’t bank on it.

Since Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays didn’t get 100 percent of the vote, it’s hard to believe any player ever will.

And there’s always a writer or two who will send in a blank ballot. It’s usually a protest of some kind. Hence, no one gets in with everyone’s approval.

If somehow Rivera did, it would be awesome, an honor. But if not, it doesn’t take away one bit the prestige of getting into the hardest Hall of Fame of them all.

Writers can cast up to 10 votes. Hardly are there ever that many players on a ballot worthy to be a HOF’er.

 

Some writers have at it and fill their ballot up with borderline cases and also-rans. I only vote for the best of the best. And my approach is pretty simple. If I have to debate your worthiness, you’re not a Hall of Famer.

When you talk Ruth, Aaron or Mays, there just isn’t a debate. The standard is high as a kite and should be that way.

And if you want to bring up the Steroid Era as a reason to debate, I just don’t see it that way.

If a player’s stats, awards and records count and he was never busted by MLB for use, it’s not the reporters place to play judge, jury and executioner.

Truth be told, you really don’t know how widespread juicing was going on. Many believe it was rampant. That means that most players were probably on an even playing field. Hitters were facing pitchers on the same stuff.

 

To this point, more pitchers have been caught on PED’s than hitters. But most only want to punish home run hitters.

With all that said, here’s my ballot. I voted for five players.

1- Mariano Rivera is a layup for the Hall. He was simply the best closer MLB ever saw.

He served as the New Yankees closer for 17 years. He was a 13-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. He is MLB’s career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952).

In the postseason, Mo has the record for lowest ERA (0.70) and most saves (42).

Lastly, Rivera’s 2.21 career ERA and 1.00 WHIP are the lowest in the live-ball era among qualified pitchers.

2- Barry Bonds is one of the greatest players the game has scene. The seven-time MVP is also MLB’s all-time HR king. And contrary to popular belief, Bonds never tested positive for PEDs.

3- Roger Clemens, without question, was one of the greatest pitchers we ever saw. Yes, he picked up a whopping seven Cy Young’s along the way. His career record was 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA. Yes, he never tested positive.

4- Sammy Sosa hit 609 career HRs. Also, like Bonds and Clemens, Sosa never tested positive as well.

 

To me, if you hit one of three magic numbers – 500 homers, 300 wins or 3,000 hits – you get my vote automatically. You have to be great to reach those plateaus.

5- Gary Sheffield has that magic number -509 career homers. And he walked more than he struck out in his 22-year career. Sheff’s numbers match HOF’ers, including Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson and Ken Griffey Jr.

Sheffield was linked to PEDs, too. Again, he never tested positive.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.