Bill Ballou cites Craig Kimbrel, Adam Viniateri and Taylor Dakers as part of his reason for not voting for Mariano Rivera.
Bill Ballou of the Telegram & Gazette has decided not to submit a Hall of Fame ballot, which still allows all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera to possibly earn a unanimous election to Cooperstown. The decision to abstain from the vote does not spoil Rivera's chances of unanimity. A blank ballot submitted would ruin his chances.
This will be Mariano Rivera's first year on the ballot. He pitched 19 seasons with the Yankees and finished with 652 saves, 1,173 strikeouts and a career 2.21 ERA. He helped win the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009.
No player has ever been elected unanimously. In 2016, Ken Griffey Jr. recieved 99.32% of the vote.
Ballou announced his decision in a column that was posted on Saturday. He cited Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, former Patriots kicker Adam Viniateri and ex-AHL Worcester Sharks goalie Taylor Dakers as athletes who put together great performances at the end of games but may not have been as intrinsically important as what happened at the beginning of the game.
"My thought on the Hall of Fame is that it is more than numbers, that its members must have the kind of presence that would make somebody buy a ticket—not hometown fans, but general baseball fans—just to say they saw him play," Ballou wrote. "Rivera fits that description. He is a larger-than-life performer whose character is impeccable. He has had a long career, albeit in a role I do not value, a role I equate with a PAT kicker in football or a shootout guy in hockey."
Ballou also quotes managers Terry Francona, Mike Matheny and Buck Showalter as people who have seen the role of a closer change. However, the three managers said that if they could vote for the Hall of Fame, they would submit votes for Rivera.
The 2019 Hall of Fame class will be revealed on Jan. 22.