Hall of Fame voters from among the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America have spoken, electing four new members from the ballot, including Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, and rotation workhorses Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay.
The BBWAA has elected 17 players to the Hall over the past five years, the largest total over a five-year span, breaking the previous mark of 16 from 2014 to '18. There have been 20 players elected in the six ballots since 2014 after there were 16 in the prior 10 ballots.
Four players elected this year tied for the second most in a single BBWAA election. It also happened last year (as well as in 2015, 1955 and 1947), making this the first time that four or more players have been elected in consecutive years.
The only time there were more than four players elected was in 1936, to the inaugural class. That included Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner.
Let's take a look at those players honored Tuesday:
Mariano Rivera: Rivera received 100 percent of the vote, breaking Ken Griffey Jr.'s record of 99.32 percent in 2016, when Griffey was on 437 of 440 ballots.
The closer finished his career with 652 saves, the most ever in MLB history. His 1.00 career WHIP is lowest among retired pitchers in the live ball era (minimum 1,000 innings pitched). The right-hander is at the top of numerous lists, including 30-save seasons (15), seasons with an ERA under 2.00 with at least 50 innings pitched (11), postseason saves (42; the next most is 13 by Lee Smith) and consecutive 20-save seasons (15).
But in some respects, the best way to grasp Rivera's greatness isn't in those compiled stats. It's by considering what he did, in the era he did it -- facing the hitters he did.
Nineteen players already in the Hall of Fame (prior to this vote) combined for 217 plate appearances, including the postseason, against Rivera. Those individuals hit .236 with a .335 slugging percentage against him. He allowed just three home runs to those players, one each to Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez and Griffey.
He allowed only five players to hit multiple home runs off him including the postseason, and none hit more than two. Those hitters were Edgar Martinez (more on his success against Rivera later on), Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Rafael Palmeiro and Aubrey Huff.
Roy Halladay: Halladay was one of six pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, along with Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Max Scherzer.
During the peak of his career, Halladay was far and away one of the best pitchers in baseball. From 2002 through 2011, he was second in the majors in ERA (minimum 150 starts) at 2.97. He was first in complete games (63), shutouts (18) and WAR for pitchers (62.6).
Not only did he lead the majors with 63 complete games in that span, he absolutely outpaced all other pitchers. The pitcher with the next-most complete games in that span was CC Sabathia with 33.
Halladay was known for his ability to go deep into his games. He led or tied for the league lead in complete games seven times, second only to Warren Spahn in MLB history. Every other pitcher to tie or lead his league in complete games at least six times had a career that ended in 1965 or earlier: Spahn (nine times), Pete Alexander and Walter Johnson (six apiece).
Edgar Martinez: In his 10th and final year on the ballot, Martinez gets in, following the Tim Raines model by which we saw the outfielder elected in 2017. Martinez was a seven-time All-Star and five-time winner of the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, which was renamed for him when he retired in 2004.
Martinez had a .312 batting average, .418 OBP, and slugged .515 in his career. Only eight other retired players in the modern era (since 1900) had at least a .300 average, .415 OBP and .515 slugging percentage. All but one of those eight are in the Hall of Fame: Frank Thomas, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth and Shoeless Joe Jackson (Shoeless Joe is the one not in Cooperstown).
Martinez's 68.4 career WAR is second only to Hall of Famer Thomas among players who played half or more of their careers at DH.
And perhaps the best way to show just how great Martinez was is in context of one of his HOF classmates: Rivera. As noted earlier, Martinez hit two homers off Rivera, one of just five players to whom Rivera allowed multiple home runs. A total of 182 batters had at least 10 career plate appearances against Rivera (including the postseason). Martinez's .579 career batting average against him was the highest of any of those players (going 11-for-19 in 23 plate appearances), as was his 1.053 slugging percentage.
Mike Mussina: Mussina's 82.9 pitching WAR ranks 23rd all time. The only pitcher ahead of him on that list who is not in the Hall of Fame is Roger Clemens (139.0). Mussina was a five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, finishing in the top five in Cy Young balloting six different times. The pitchers he lost out to include Dennis Eckersley, David Cone, Randy Johnson, Pat Hentgen, Pedro Martinez and Clemens.
Part of what made Mussina's career so Hall-worthy was the success he had in an era and a division that boasted a ton of offense: the American League East in 1991-2008. Mussina faced a total of 25 players already in the Hall of Fame prior to this vote, allowing a .247 batting average to those individuals.
Mussina's longevity is notable, too. He didn't debut in 1991 until August, so if we start with his first full season in 1992 and look through his final season in 2008, he had 16 seasons with at least 25 starts. That's tied for second-most 25-start seasons in that span with Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. The only pitcher with more such seasons in that span is Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
The only season in which Mussina didn't have 25 starts during that span was strike-shortened 1994, when he had 24.