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Pettitte needs Mussina-like rise in HOF voting

Like Hall-bound Moose, lefty gets modest support in first year
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- This summer's induction ceremonies will have a strong Yankees flavor at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., where Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina have been tabbed to deliver speeches and receive the sport's most prestigious honor.

With Derek Jeter set to appear on next year's Hall of Fame ballot, it is a near-certainty that Bombers fans can plan on seeing at least one more familiar face in the Class of 2020. Several other players with ties to the winningest franchise in professional sports had notable showings this year.

NEW YORK -- This summer's induction ceremonies will have a strong Yankees flavor at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., where Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina have been tabbed to deliver speeches and receive the sport's most prestigious honor.

With Derek Jeter set to appear on next year's Hall of Fame ballot, it is a near-certainty that Bombers fans can plan on seeing at least one more familiar face in the Class of 2020. Several other players with ties to the winningest franchise in professional sports had notable showings this year.

"They're my brothers," Rivera said, referring to his fellow "Core Four" members Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. "Besides my teammates, they're my brothers. We grew up together, came up with the organization to good things and bad things, and at the same time we were all together. It's amazing, the amount of respect and love that we have for each other."

In his first look from eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Pettitte appeared on 42 of a possible 425 ballots (9.9 percent), setting up what the 256-game winner could hope will be a Mussina-like climb toward induction.

Mussina was elected in his sixth try, getting 76.7 percent of the vote after receiving only 20.3 percent in his first year of eligibility. Rivera appeared on every ballot, making him the first unanimous electee.

Mo 1st unanimous Hall electee; 3 others voted in

Via the Yankees, Pettitte offered statements lauding the accomplishments of his former teammates.

"Mo, congrats on being a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Pettitte said. "What an honor it was playing alongside of you for all those years. When I look back on my career, many of my best memories directly involve you. This is a pretty obvious statement, but I wouldn't want anyone else closing out a game that I started. I never took for granted what you provided for each and every starting pitcher in our rotation.

"Congrats Moose. This is such a deserving honor. What you were able to accomplish while spending your entire career in the AL East was absolutely amazing. You were one of the best pitchers I've ever played with, and I was always in awe of the way you attacked hitters -- exploiting their weaknesses with control and precision of such an array of pitches. You were a true master of your craft."

Complete 2019 Hall of Fame election results

On the ballot for a seventh time, Roger Clemens appeared on 253 (59.5 percent), a slight uptick over the 57.3 percent that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner received in 2018.

Clemens spent six of his 24 big league seasons with the Yankees (1999-2003 and 2007), and though he would seem to be a shoo-in based solely upon his staggering statistics, his candidacy has been clouded by suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use.

"That kind of stuff is a touchy subject, and you're going to get opinions on every side of it," Mussina said. "I'm just glad that they thought I was worthy of going, and I think time will tell whether those guys get their opportunity. Obviously I played a couple years with Roger, and as a teammate it was great playing with him. He taught me a lot of stuff. It was just a great experience."

Gary Sheffield appeared on 58 ballots (13.6 percent), marking the power-hitting outfielder's fifth try for the Hall. Sheffield played three of his 22 big league seasons with the Yankees (2004-06), retiring with 509 home runs. Andruw Jones, who ended his 17-year career with the Yankees (2011-12), received 32 votes (7.5 percent) in his second year of eligibility.

Other former Yankees included on the ballot were: Lance Berkman (five votes, 1.2 percent), Freddy Garcia (no votes), Travis Hafner (no votes), Ted Lilly (no votes), Derek Lowe (no votes), Vernon Wells (no votes) and Kevin Youkilis (no votes). Players need at least 5 percent to return to the ballot the following year.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees