For all its oversights, Hall of Fame announcement day is a day of joy. As a fan, it’s a day to remember great players, and how much fun it was to watch them play, and, if you were lucky enough to root for a team of an inductee, to remember the specific moments that player brought you the deepest, purest sports joy there is: the joy of winning. I’m a Yankees fan, and by dint of his closer role, Mariano Rivera’s was the last face I saw upon the sealing of hundreds and hundreds of wins. To me, he represented and represents joy.
And yet I recognize that for however happy Rivera’s election to the Hall of Fame makes me, it’s absolutely nothing compared to how he and his family must feel. Here’s a taste of that, as Rivera got the call with the news on Tuesday. And the moment here you’ll really want to see comes after the first excitement has died down, as BBWAA secretary Jack O’Connell informs Rivera that he is the first unanimous selection in the Hall’s history. He’s not even able to get the sentence out before the Riveras erupt.
If no non-committee Hall of Fame inductee has ever brought anything other than aggregate joy, isn’t that a strong argument for a “big Hall”?