COOPERSTOWN – Mariano Rivera, Class of 2019, honored as the only Hall of Fame inductee elected unanimously on the first ballot, is getting another honor today – at the White House.
At a reception today, President Trump plans to honor Rivera, the Yankees vaunted relief pitcher, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here’s the complete citation.
“During his 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, Mariano Rivera established himself as the greatest relief pitcher of all time. Signed by the New York Yankees in 1990, Mr. Rivera went on to become a 13-time All-Star and 5-time World Series champion. He is the first player in the history of the sport to be elected unanimously into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
By JENNIFER HILL & JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Induction 2019 was notable for what didn’t happen as much as did.
One, the folks who didn’t collapse from the heat.
A violent storm late Saturday broke the humidity that created a steamy high of 88, making way for much drier Induction Day Sunday, July 21, with highs in the low 80s and a slight breeze keeping the Induction crowd feeling more comfortable than expected.
Two, the parade that didn’t happen.
Due to a pending thunderstorm that didn’t happen (until later), the Hall cancelled what’s become a weekend highlight: The Parade of Legends. Still, as most the Hall of Famer stayed enclosed in the cabs of pickup trucks as they rolled down Main Street past thousands of fans, Johnny Bench, 71, hopped out and walked the distance, and other stars followed suit as 25 Main neared.
Three, the attendance record that wasn’t broken.
While the crowd of 55,000, as reported by the Hall, was 3,000 more than last year’s class that included Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero, it still fell significantly short of the 2007 Cal Ripkin Jr./Tony Gwynn 82,000 record.
The 2019 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame – from left, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Michael Mussina, Mariano Rivera, and Brandy Halladay, accepting the plaque posthumously on behalf of her husband Roy Halladay – pose for a group photo on the stage following their Induction ceremony earlier today in the field next to the Clark Sports Center. If your eyes were good, you may have even spotted Laurentino Cortizo, right, the President of Panama, who was in the crowd with fellow Panamanians to witness and celebrate their countryman Rivera’s induction. The Hall announced this evening that 55,000 fans attended the ceremony, making it the second-largest, after the Cal Ripken Jr./Tony Gwynn weekend in 2007. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – Panama’s newly elected president, Laurentino Cortizo, will be in Cooperstown this weekend to attend the induction of his countryman, Mariano Rivera, into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, according to reports in Panama’s major newspapers.
Sworn in only on July 1, Cortizo is leaving Panama at 1 p.m. Saturday, will be in New York City by 7 p.m., and is scheduled to arrive in Cooperstown at 7:30 a.m. Sunday to participate in Rivera’s induction into the “Salón de la Fama del pelotero,” according to La Estrella, Panama’s oldest newspaper.
Standing in front of Minnesota Twins infielder Rod Carew’s plaque, Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera reflected on the legacy of the first Panamanian elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” he said. “He made it possible for me to follow him.” Rivera, the first player elected to the Hall of Fame with 100 percent of the votes on the ballot, toured the Hall this morning as part of his pre-induction initiation, signing the spot where his plaque will be hung during the July 21 induction and posing with a fan, at right. “If you told me when I got on a plane to the United States at age 20 to play baseball, that after playing 19 years I would be sitting here, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. “It’s freezing outside, but being here warms my heart.” (Patrick Wager, AllOTSEGO.com)
In this week’s “Morning Headlines” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/publisher of www.AllOTSEGO.com (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), reports how the Hall of Fame Induction on July 21, some say, may match or exceed the 83,000 fans brought here by the Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn one in 2007.
COOPERSTOWN – Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson just announced Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera have been elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the Class of 2019 and will be inducted into the Hall at the end of July.
Rivera went in with 100 percent support, the first inductee ever to get a unanimous vote.
COOPERSTOWN – The Baseball Hall of Fame’s ballot for next year’s Induction is being mailed this week to the 400 voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. It includes pitcher Mariano Rivera among 20 new candidates.
Others include pitchers Roy Halladay and Andy Pettitte; infielders Todd Helton, Michael Young, Miguel Tejada and Plácido Polanco; and outfielder Juan Pierre will join 15 holdovers from the 2018 balloting
Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by selected BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of MLB coverage to gain election.