Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

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Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).

Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.

Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.

Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.

Red Sox hire Jerry Narron as bench coach

Jerry Narron
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The Red Sox announced that Jerry Narron will be the team’s bench coach this year.

Narron will join interim manager Ron Roenicke in the dugout to lead Boston’s coaching staff. The two previously worked together in the same roles from 2011 to 2015, during Roenicke’s tenure as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Narron most recently spent the last three years as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks. He also has managerial experience with both the Rangers (2001-2002) and Reds (2005-2007).

The Mets reportedly considered hiring Narron this winter as a possible bench coach for then-manager Carlos Beltran, before ultimately going with Hensley Meulens.

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