New York Yankees legendary closer and Little League® Hall of Excellence enshrinee Mariano Rivera will receive his iconic bronze plaque this summer as he has officially been named a member of the 2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame Class by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Mr. Rivera will join fellow inductees and former Little Leaguers, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina, as well as Today’s Game Era ballot winners, Harold Baines and Lee Smith, in this year’s induction.
“On behalf of everyone at Little League International, we express our sincere congratulations Mariano on this outstanding accomplishment,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Mariano’s career has been a testament to the importance of hard work, perseverance, and strong character and we are proud to have him as not only an enshrinee in our own Hall of Excellence, but now as an official member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
When Mariano Rivera started playing Little League Baseball® at Barrio Colon Little League in La Chorrea, Panama, in the 1980s, no one knew that he would go on to become the most dominant, prolific closing pitcher in Major League Baseball History.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1990, Mr. Rivera made his first Major League Baseball appearance in 1995, then as a starting pitcher. He moved to the bullpen during the Yankees’ World Series run that year, and started establishing his legacy as the most dominant closer in the game’s history. In 1997, he became the team’s closer, a position he held until his retirement in 2013. He holds the MLB record for most saves with 652 and was named as an All-Star 13 times. His postseason dominance helped the Yankees win five World Series Championships. He has the lowest postseason ERA for pitchers with more than 30 appearances (.072) and the record for most postseason saves (42). He also became the last person in all of MLB history to wear the number 42, retired league-wide in honor of Jackie Robinson. In 2014, MLB named the American League Reliever of the Year Award in honor of Mr. Rivera.
In addition to his pitching accomplishments, Mr. Rivera was known for his mental toughness and for helping mentor young pitchers. Through his foundation, he has donated thousands of dollars in support of education opportunities for children in the United States and Panama, through church-based institutions.
The official induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame will take place in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 21, 2019.