Last week, Mariano Rivera called me and asked me how I felt about him becoming the first player ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously.
Truth be told, it's been difficult discussing the Hall of Fame with Mariano over the last few months. It was not something he wished to talk about. But, here we were.
His question really got me thinking of just how substantial being unanimous is.
We're in a day of age where society moves from trending topics at a rapid pace. You're hot one day, and then everyone moves on to the next thing the next day.
I told Mo there were 2 great things I could think of about his unanimous induction:
1. Being unanimous sends a message that getting into the Hall of Fame is not only about what you do on the field, but the way you conduct yourself off of it.
The voting guidelines for the Hall of Fame clearly states that a player's worthiness is based on factors outside of strictly performance:
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
The complete package of what you bring to the game matters.
Let's face it: Mo is a surefire Hall of Famer based on statistics alone. He has the most saves ever and was an integral component of one of the greatest dynasties the game has ever seen. But lots of other players have done great things (I do always try to remind Mariano of the blown saves just to keep him in check), and nobody before him has been unanimous.
It's not like his record was perfect. He had some botched saves. 2001 didn't end as planned for the Yankees. Mo responded "I'm not perfect, nor is anybody."
So why was he the first unanimous inductee?
Because of the way he represented himself as an ambassador of the game. He respected the game and contributed both on and off the field to make it what it is today.
To me, those underlying aspects of his career mean more to the game than any of his 652 saves. I'm so happy and proud of Mariano for that reason.
Why should it be that only the #'s matter? It seems to be the trend in business and other aspects of life these days. It's all about what you did, and not the type of person you are. Shouldn't it matter how you handle yourself?
2. I can't remember the last time a vote was taken and every single person agreed with it. There's always someone against an idea.
With all that's going on in the country, when was the last time we made a unanimous decision on anything; let alone the Hall of Fame?
I'm glad the baseball writers all decided to do the right thing with this one. I feel like we could use a few more unanimous decisions in our lives. Collaborate with others on an idea you may disagree with, and put your best foot forward to make it work. Washington sure could use some unanimous votes these days.
That was the extent of my conversation with Mariano. I congratulated him once more on an incredible career, and for doing yet another thing that nobody has ever done before.
Quote of the Day: "Knowledge will give you power, but character will give you respect." - Bruce Lee
Song of the Day: "Tell Me Something Good" by Rufus & Chaka Khan
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