If Cy Young is the eponymous epitome of pitching primacy, then surely Mariano Rivera is the equivalent role model of relief royalty.  Mo ultimately triumphed in a thrilling three-way battle among memorable hurlers, and becomes the 40th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats.  More on Mariano and the voting after the jump.  

Most Career Pitching Wins Above Replacement (baseball-reference version) in Yankees franchise history:
1. Mariano Rivera 56.5
2. Whitey Ford 53.9
3. Andy Pettitte 51.6
4. Ron Guidry 47.9
5. Red Ruffing 46.8


Most Career Pitching Wins Above Replacement (baseball-reference version) by a player who spent his entire career with one franchise:
1. Walter Johnson 152.6
2. Bob Gibson 81.9
3. Red Faber 68.3
4. Jim Palmer 67.9
5. Carl Hubbell 67.8
6. Ted Lyons 67.2
7. Bob Feller 65.2
8. Don Drysdale 61.3
9. Mariano Rivera 56.5
10. Whitey Ford 53.9
11. Sandy Koufax 53.2


Most Career Regular Season Plus Post-Season Win Probability Added (WPA), by a Relief Pitcher*, 1945-Current:
1. Mariano Rivera 68.3
2. Trevor Hoffman 33.4
3. Rich Gossage 33.3
4. Hoyt Wilhelm 31.2
5. Joe Nathan 30.6

*”Relief Pitcher” is defined here as a pitcher at least 80% of whose career appearances were in relief.

Based on the list above, Rivera produced more WPA than the number 2 and number 3 relief pitchers on this list combined.


– During the first few days of voting in this round, Mariano was generally running second or third in the vote count.  But as balloting went on, Mo gained on both Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal and then held on to a slim lead, despite concerns about the overall value of relief pitchers in comparison to other players, especially starting pitchers.

– Mariano Rivera is our first player born in a Latin American country’s territory to be inducted into the Circle of Greats. Rod Carew was born of Panamanian parents and his family did not emigrate to the U.S. mainland until he was a teenager, but Carew was actually born in the Canal Zone, which was then legally a U.S. territory.

– After appearing on the ballot for every one of our 40 induction rounds to date, Roberto Alomar fell just one vote short of the 10% level needed to remain on the ballot going forward. Our next round will be our first without Robbie on the ballot. You’ll have a chance to bring him back in the next redemption round, scheduled for when we complete the 1930s birth years.

– Dave Winfield also fell short of the needed 10% vote level, so both of the guys who gained a return to the ballot in the most recent redemption round (Winfield and Reuschel) have fallen off again.

– Willie McCovey was our third holdover falling below the 10% threshold this round, but Stretch had one spare round of eligibility, so he lands on the bubble rather than off the ballot.

– All told, our holdover list is reduced from 15 players this round to 13 next round (the newcomer Marichal replaces the inducted Rivera, and Alomar and Winfield drop off).  The number of guys on the bubble drops from seven to six, with McCovey added but Alomar and Winfield gone.


Here’s the Circle of Greats membership thus far, currently in order of date of birth, from earlier to later:
Phil Niekro
Carl Yastrzemski
Pete Rose
Ferguson Jenkins
Joe Morgan
Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Rod Carew
Jim Palmer
Reggie Jackson
Nolan Ryan
Johnny Bench
Carlton Fisk
Mike Schmidt
Bert Blyleven
George Brett
Gary Carter
Ozzie Smith
Robin Yount
Paul Molitor
Alan Trammell
Wade Boggs
Rickey Henderson
Tim Raines
Tony Gwynn
Cal Ripken
Roger Clemens
Randy Johnson
Barry Larkin
Barry Bonds
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Curt Schilling
Larry Walker
Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas
Mike Piazza
Mike Mussina
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Mariano Rivera

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