2019 Hall of Fame Election
The results of the 2019 Hall of Fame Election were announced on January 22, 2019. Four former players were elected, including two first-ballot Hall of Famers: Mariano Rivera, who became the first man to be elected unanimously, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez. It was the third four-man class in the previous five years. Before that, the Veterans Committee voted on nominees from the "Today's Game" era of baseball (1998-present). The results were announced during the annual Winter Meetings on December 9, 2018, resulting in the election of Lee Smith and Harold Baines, making it a six-man class overall.
Eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America voted on a ballot comprising holdover candidates from the 2018 Hall of Fame Election and players who played their last major league game in 2013, for a total of 35 names. The composition of the ballot was announced on November 19, 2018.
Four players were elected: Mariano Rivera by unanimous vote, being named on all 425 valid ballots cast; Roy Halladay, also in his first year of eligibility; Edgar Martinez, in his 10th and final appearance on the ballot; and Mike Mussina on his 6th try. Four other candidates broke the 50% threshold, which has traditionally been an almost certain sign of future election: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Larry Walker.
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The Veterans Committee, consisting of 16 members, voted on players and officials from the "Today's Game" era (from 1988 to the present). The ballot consisted of ten candidates: Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Lou Piniella, Lee Smith and George Steinbrenner. Baines, Belle, Carter, Clark, Hershiser and Smith were nominated as players; Johnson, Manuel and Piniella as managers and Steinbrenner as an executive.
The results of the vote were announced at the winter meeting in Las Vegas, NV on December 9th. Smith was elected unanimously, being picked by all 16 voters. He was joined by Baines, who was selected on 12 of the 16 ballots. Piniella missed election by only one vote, finishing with 11. All others received fewer than 5 votes and their exact total was not revealed, as is the committee's practice. While Smith's election was widely anticipated, that of Baines came as a surprise, given he had done rather poorly in the BBWAA voting, topping out at 6.1%. There was some speculation that the presence on the committee of Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox owner who had previously said that Baines was his favorite player, may have had particular influence on the voting.
The committee was composed of the following 16 members: Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Tony LaRussa, Greg Maddux, Joe Morgan, John Schuerholz, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; major-league executives Al Avila, Paul Beeston, Andy MacPhail and Reinsdorf; and veteran media members/historians Steve Hirdt, Tim Kurkjian and Claire Smith.
The 2019 induction ceremony took place on July 21st in Cooperstown, NY. Five of the six honored players were present, with Roy Halladay, who had passed away in a plane crash in November 2017 being represented by his widow, Brandy, who made a short, but very emotional speech on behalf of her late husband. Fittingly, Mariano Rivera was given the opportunity to "close out" the induction ceremony, being the last of the six to speak. In addition to a number of former teammates from the New York Yankees, the President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, and former boxer Roberto Duran, Panama's greatest sports hero other than Mariano, were present to honor of the greatest closer in history. The quote of the day went to Edgar Martinez however. He explained that after teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Randy Johnson was traded to the Houston Astros in 1998, he gave an interview that Johnson did not like. The hard-throwing Johnson told him: "Next time I face you, I will drill you. Don't worry, it will hurt, but only for a minute."
The winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious service in baseball reporting was Jayson Stark, who made his reputation as a writer for ESPN. The winner of the Ford Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting was Al Helfer, who was honored posthumously.
- Anthony Castrovince: "Mo 1st unanimous Hall electee; 3 others voted in", mlb.com, January 22, 2019. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Hall of Fame FAQ: What to know about induction", mlb.com, July 20, 2019. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "6 iconic players joining Hall of Fame today", mlb.com, July 21, 2019. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Hall opens its doors for unforgettable '19 Class", mlb.com, July 21, 2019. 
- Mark Feinsand: "Martinez, Mo, Moose reflect on HOF honor", mlb.com, January 23, 2019. 
- Richard Justice: "Mariano, Doc among '19 Hall ballot newcomers: All-time saves leader a lock for enshrinement; late pitching ace has strong case", mlb.com, January 24, 2018. 
- Richard Justice: "Lee Smith, Baines earn election to Hall of Fame: Premier closer (478 saves), six-time All-Star (2,866 hits) get call via Today's Game ballot", mlb.com, December 9, 2018. 
- Matt Kelly: "See who's new on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot", mlb.com, November 19, 2018. 
- Daniel Kramer: "10 named to Today's Game Era ballot for Hall", mlb.com, November 5, 2018. 
- Gabe Lacques: "Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of Halladay, Martinez, Mussina and Rivera show process is healing", USA Today, January 22, 2019. 
- Will Leitch: "7 realities about the 2019 Hall of Fame vote", mlb.com, January 17, 2019. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Baseball's Hall of Fame opens its doors to DH's, closers for the future", USA Today, December 9, 2018. 
- Bob Nightengale: "2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class deserves moment in sun before inevitable arguments begin", USA Today, January 21, 2019. 
- Bob Nightengale: "MLB celebrates most diverse Hall of Fame class with Rivera, Martinez, Halladay, Mussina, Smith and Baines", USA Today, January 22, 2019. 
- Noah Trister (Associated Press): "Rivera, Halladay set to headline 2019 Hall of Fame ballot", USA Today Sports, January 25, 2018. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay among top newcomers", USA Today, November 19, 2018. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, USA Today, January 22, 2019.