Enshrinement awaits the six-member Class of 2019 when the National Baseball Hall of Fame holds its annual induction ceremony today.
Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Harold Baines and the late Roy Halladay will be saluted this afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y., with their bronze plaques unveiled before their permanent placement in the hallowed Hall.
• Complete Hall of Fame coverage
Whether you’re planning on attending the induction ceremony or simply watching from home, here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Where will the Induction Ceremony be broadcast?
MLB Network will have live coverage of the event beginning at 11 a.m. ET, with the ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m. MLB Network Radio will also broadcast the event, and MLB.com will have a live stream of the ceremony.
Where will the ceremony take place?
On the grounds of the Clark Sports Center on lower Susquehanna Avenue in Cooperstown, just one mile south of the Hall of Fame. The event will be held rain or shine, unless severe weather forces cancellation of the public event.
Lawn seating is unlimited and available free of charge (sunscreen is highly recommended, as the sprawling area has no protection from the sun). Shuttles will be available from the Hall of Fame to the ceremony site.
With two former Yankees going into the Hall and New York City less than four hours away, this year’s crowd could potentially challenge the record 82,000 (estimated) that attended the 2007 enshrinement of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn (same deal when Derek Jeter arrives in 2020). Last year’s estimated crowd of 53,000 was the second largest ever.
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How many Hall of Famers are expected to attend?
A record 59 Hall of Famers -- including Rivera, Martinez, Mussina, Smith and Baines – are expected at this year’s festivities, according to the Hall. They rode through the streets of Cooperstown during the annual Parade of Legends and will be seated at the dais on Sunday.
Who will speak on Halladay’s behalf?
Halladay, who was killed in a private plane crash in November 2017, will be represented by his widow, Brandy.
Which caps will the new Hall of Famers have on their plaques?
While Rivera (Yankees), Martinez (Mariners), Baines (White Sox) and Smith (Cubs) went with obvious choices for the logo on the caps on their plaques, Mussina and the Halladay family opted not to have a team logo presented.
This is not without precedent. In 2014, for instance, both Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa opted to go logo-less on their plaques.
Mussina made 288 regular-season starts with the Orioles and 249 appearances with the Yankees, while 17 of his 23 career postseason appearances were with New York.
"Both the Yankees and the Orioles were instrumental in my reaching Cooperstown," Mussina said in January.
Halladay pitched 12 seasons for the Blue Jays against just four for the Phillies. But his 2010 perfect game and postseason no-hitter were with Philadelphia. He won a Cy Young Award with each club.
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“As a family, and with the blessing of the Hall of Fame, we feel confident that Roy would have come to the same conclusion, had he known it to be an option,” Brandy Halladay said in a statement after the election announcement. “Both franchises, and their fans, meant so much to him."
How was this year’s Hall of Fame class selected?
Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina were elected by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in January. For entry into the Hall of Fame, a player must appear on 75 percent of ballots cast. Rivera became the first player in 83 years of BBWAA voting to be elected unanimously, appearing on all 425 submitted ballots. Halladay (85.4%) was also elected on his first ballot, while Mussina (76.7%) made it in on his sixth try and Martinez (85.4%) on his 10th and final try.
• Complete 2019 Hall of Fame election results
Baines and Smith were selected by the Today’s Game Era Committee in December. To gain entry, they had to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots cast by the 16-member group (so at least 12). Smith appeared on all 16 ballots, while Baines was on 12.
Is this an especially large class?
Large classes are the new norm.
This class matches the size of last year’s group (Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vlad Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell) and is the third six-man group this decade (also Tom Glavine, Maddux, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, La Russa and Bobby Cox in 2014).
Also, this is only the fifth time in history but the third time just in the last five years that the BBWAA has elected four players. It happened last year with Jones, Guerrero, Thome and Hoffman and in 2015 with Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.
The BBWAA has elected 20 players over the last six elections -- the largest total over a six-year span.
Who are this year’s Spink and Frick award winners?
Longtime sportswriter Jayson Stark, currently of The Athletic, was the recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
The late Al Helfer, who called the play-by-play of seven World Series, 10 All-Star Games and regular season broadcasts for the Yankees, A’s and Brooklyn Dodgers, was honored posthumously with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.
MLB Network will broadcast highlights from the Spink and Frick award ceremony as part of its Sunday coverage.
• Stark, Helfer honored by Baseball Hall of Fame
Anything else worth noting?
• Four-time World Series champ Bernie Williams, a Yankees teammate of Rivera and Mussina, will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on his guitar at the induction ceremony.
• The 2019 class features a record three former first-round Draft picks. Baines was No. 1 overall by the White Sox in 1977, Mussina No. 20 by the Orioles in 1990 and Halladay No. 17 by the Blue Jays in 1995.
• The Hall of Fame now has 329 members, including 232 players.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.