Each year the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, inducts new players into its hallowed halls. It’s baseball’s biggest honor, so the voting can be contentious. There is a new class of candidates for 2019. Let’s take a look at who is likely to make the cut.
Mariano Rivera is widely considered to be the best relief pitcher of the era and perhaps of all time. The special thing about Rivera was his ability to perform under pressure when it counted most. His postseason ERA was an amazing 0.70 and pitching for the Yankees, Rivera was in the postseason quite a bit. He pitched a total of 141 innings in the playoffs.
There’s no question that Rivera deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The only question is whether he can beat Ken Griffey Jr.’s record of most votes. Out of 440 votes, Griffey received 437. It is hard to imagine someone not voting for Rivera. But there could be a couple of reasons why someone might give Rivera a ‘No’ vote. Because Rivera is a sure thing, some voters may want to save their ‘Yes’s’ for other players. It is also possible that some voters might show their anti-reliever colors and vote against him. There is a school of thought that the relief pitching position is overrated or even unnecessary. Even so, Rivera is a Hall of Famer all the way.
Another Yankee, Andy Pettitte, is also on the ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019. While he too had an incredible pitching career, he is not as much of a sure thing as Mariano Rivera. As a starter, Pettitte had a career ERA of 3.85, impressive but not reaching the level of the all-time greats. His win total, 256, is similarly impressive yet not legendary.
But Pettitte does have a few things going for him. For instance, he has the most postseason wins ever with 19. Unfortunately, his postseason ERA of 3.81 is higher than it should be.
Pettitte could go either way this year. It is possible that he might lose out in 2019 but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t hang around and be chosen in the future.
Todd Helton is another player who could be selected this year. From 1999 to 2004, he had a very impressive hitting stretch. He averaged 37 homeruns a year while batting in an average of 121 runs per season. He has a total of 369 homeruns and 1,406 RBIs. Those are numbers that are impossible to ignore. That being said, they don’t quite stack up against other first basemen that have already been accepted into the Hall of Fame; namely Mark McGuire and Rafael Palmeiro.
So 2019 could be an important year for Helton. While Pettitte may have the staying power to weather not being selected this coming year, Helton might not be on the ballot again if he isn’t selected in this go-round.
Only 224 players are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So being selected is an incredible honor and highly unlikely. While there are shoe-ins like Rivera, those such as Pettitte and Helton wait impatiently to see if they might be selected. With hundreds of votes to be cast it is hard to say how things might shake out.