The Relief Pitcher has always struggled to enter the halls of Cooperstown, but they are some there. With Mariano Rivera there should be no doubt that the not only should he enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he should enter immediately. There should be no wait for the greatest closer of all time.
This isn’t just because he has the most Saves in history. There have been other players who have been able to say that (see Smith, Lee) who were far from the dominant player that he was. With a fastball you knew was coming, batters still struggled to make contact and Rivera, a career Yankee would retire with the following sick numbers:
We imagine that there are younger baseball fans that are oblivious that there really was a Tommy John and that it was not just the name of a surgery. This would be unfortunate, as Tommy John has to go down as one of the most durable pitchers in baseball history.
The man called “Superchief” was one of the great right handed pitchers of the New York Yankees. Allie Reynolds was the first man to toss two no-hitters in a season in the American League though that was just a small sample of what he accomplished.
One of the most popular Yankees of all time was Don Mattingly. This was a very impressive reality considering that the year before he turned pro the Bronx Bombers lost to Dodgers in the World Series and the year after he retired they won the championship. During Mattingly’s entire tenure, the Yankees never went to the Fall Classic; the largest stretch of post season futility in franchise history.
With a magical season, a pair of exceptional ones and a few very good ones, Ron Guidry had an excellent career in Baseball all with the Yankees. Theoretically, “Louisiana Lightning” did everything you want to accomplish in a career as he won the Cy Young Award (and was in the hunt for a few others) and won the World Series, which he did twice. However the knock on Guidry, is that he was only a full time player for nine seasons, and though he does have won of the most impressive winning percentages in Baseball, his longevity is questioned in regards to the immortals. In regards to the Hall of Fame, this generally does matter!
It is strange to say that Willie Randolph played in a bit of a shadow as he was a long time Yankee but that is somewhat true. He was in the shadow of other more flamboyant New York stars, and his strong defensive play never got him a Gold Glove as he played at the same time as Lou Whitaker or Frank White. Hell, even his current Coaching career seems to overshadow his accomplishments on the diamond. It shouldn’t though as Willie Randolph was a very good ballplayer.