They saved the best for last.
On this day in béisbol, July 21, 2019, six players were immortalized in a lengthy induction ceremony at baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. — including Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the first player to be elected unanimously.
The greatest closer in history, the product of a poverty-stricken childhood in Panama, gave his heartfelt induction speech last after fellow inductees Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Harold Baines and the late Roy Halladay were honored.
Also on this day: With one mighty swing, Alex Rodriguez checked off two career milestones in 2006 — his 2,000th hit was also his 450th home run. A-Rod, 30, is the youngest player to reach the 450 mark.
And in 2013, former Blue Jay outfielder Carlos Delgado was awarded the Level of Excellence by the team for his accomplishments. The Puerto Rico native spent 12 of his 17 seasons in Toronto, where he hit 336 of his 473 career homers.
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Y2kcrazyjoker4 / CC BY-SA