With that kind of track record against the greatest closer of all-time, it makes you wonder how in the world it took Martinez 10 years to get elected to Baseball Hall of Fame, doesn't it?
Regardless, Rivera and Martinez both were elected to Cooperstown on Tuesday, along with Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina.
Rivera became the first player in history to earn unanimous election, appearing on all 425 ballots. Previously, Ken Griffey Jr. had the record for highest vote percentage (99.3 percent) after he was named on 437 of 440 ballots in 2016.
Frankly, I'm surprised Rivera got 100 percent of the vote -- not that he isn't deserving. The former Yankees closer has 652 career saves and five World series championships -- and an 8-1 record with a 0.70 ERA and 42 saves in 96 postseason appearances.
I just didn't think a closer would be the first guy to break down the barrier and appear on every ballot. Think about it: Greg Maddux threw more than 5,000 innings in his impeccable career as a starting pitcher, but not even he got 100 percent of the vote. Rivera, however, did, despite only pitching 1,283 innings in his career.
It's an interesting argument, but ultimately it doesn't matter much, since Rivera is no-doubt Hall of Famer regardless of what percent of the vote he received -- as are Maddux, Griffey Jr. and dozens of others.
I've long been an advocate for Martinez as a Hall of Famer, and I'm glad to see him receive 85.4 percent of the vote (75 percent is required for induction). The former Seattle designated hitter is one of only six players who began their career after World War II to retire with a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage. Martinez won two batting titles and retired with a .312 batting average and 309 home runs in 18 seasons.
Halladay is going to the Hall posthumously, after his tragic death in November 2017 when a plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast. The right-hander totaled 203 wins and a 3.38 ERA in 16 seasons -- 12 with the Toronto Blue Jays and four with the Philadelphia Phillies. He won a Cy Young award in both leagues and finished second on two other occasions. He threw a perfect game and is best-known for the no-hitter he threw for the Phillies in the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. From 2003 to 2011, he threw 61 complete games -- more than twice as many as the next-closest pitcher during those years (CC Sabathia had 30).
As for Mussina, will he go into the Hall as a Baltimore Oriole, or as a Yankee? I hope he goes in as an Oriole, but it will be close. Mussina pitched 18 seasons, 10 in Baltimore, eight in New York. He won 270 games, 147 with the Orioles, 123 with the Yankees. Mussina won seven Gold Gloves and totaled 2,813 strikeouts. He never won the Cy Young award, coming close in 1999, when he finished second to Pedro Martinez.
These four players will join Harold Baines and Lee Smith in the Class of 2019. Baines and Smith were elected in December by a Hall of Fame veterans committee. This year's induction is July 22.