No player has ever been named on every single ballot in voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Joe Torre says that might change as soon as the Class of 2019 when Mariano Rivera shows up on the ballot for the first time.
If not then, perhaps the following year when Derek Jeter debuts.
"I'm a little biased," Torre said. "But I don't mind that."
Both players seem like Cooperstown locks, even if Rivera is reluctant to talk about it too much, Torre said, recalling seeing a close-mouthed Rivera at the World Series.
"I think, until it's verified, I can understand that," Torre said. "I think it's more of respect for the game that he doesn't want to think it's a slam dunk, even though it is.
"But I can speak to that."
Rivera is the all-time saves leader at 652 and is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest postseason performers in baseball history.
Torre, speaking Thursday before the 16th annual gala for his Safe at Home Foundation in Manhattan, praised Rivera's ability to handle the psychological battering that a closer sometimes endures.
He noted after one tough outing in 1997, the first year Rivera closed, he told the pitcher, "You're going to keep going out there, pal. We'll get it right."
After Rivera failed in the playoffs in 1997, Torre and his pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyre, talked to Rivera on the airport tarmac after landing on the flight back from Cleveland. They reminded Rivera "We wouldn't have been there without him."
"You can't create somebody's character," Torre said. "He is what he is and he was able to use that. ... Longevity is so suspect in that type of job, because not only the physical part of it, but the emotional part of being in that situation all the time and being able to turn the page if it doesn't work."
While Rivera figures to be the first of the Core Four to be enshrined, he's not the only Dynasty Yankee on the 2019 ballot. Andy Pettitte appears, too, though he's likely more of a long shot compared to Rivera.
Pettitte was 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA in his 18-year career and collected five World Series rings. He was 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA in 44 postseason starts. But he admitted he used a PED in 2002, which could hurt his candidacy with voters.
To Torre, Pettitte is worth consideration. The former manager said he was asked recently what starter he'd pick to win a single game.
"Pettitte or David Cone. For what they represent and how they willed themselves to do things," Torre said.
"I don't think Andy's going to get as much attention as he deserves, but what he did in postseason, to me, carries," Torre said. "It's probably because I didn't go to the postseason as a player and it took me a long time to get there as a manager, that I put more emphasis on what happens at that time of year.
"But I'd like to see him get attention."
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The 1998 Yankees team that won 114 games during the regular season en route to the World Series title was to be recognized at the gala, Torre said. "That postseason was very difficult, only because of the pressure that went along with winning that many ballgames," he recalled. "My club, they felt the pressure, there was no question." Oddly, though, those Yanks "played well when they were tight," Torre added. "They were really tight, because we didn't score a lot of runs. But they never made mistakes and that was a big part of our club."
When someone made a comparison between this year's Red Sox champions and those Yanks, Torre marveled at the '18 Sox, saying "I didn't think that club was ever going to lose.
"I thought they'd go past our 114. They have a great club. And they're going to have a great club next year because of their youth. For a young club, and I guess you can find similarities here (with the 1998 Yankees), they were very unselfish and worked very hard. A lot of times, young players have a tendency to take things for granted when they've done well. But this club never let up and I was very impressed with them."