Highest voting percentages in HOF history

January 25th, 2024

There is perhaps no greater honor for a big leaguer than being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame -- especially in the first year on the ballot.

Even more remarkable than being a first-ballot Hall of Famer is a player receiving every single possible vote in his first year on the ballot, something that had never been done until 2019, when Mariano Rivera earned a unanimous induction. Many thought Rivera's former teammate Derek Jeter would follow the same path the following year, but Rivera remains the only unanimous selection in the Hall after one voter left Jeter off the ballot.

With that in mind, here are the 10 highest voting percentages of all-time, starting with Rivera's unanimous selection:

1. Mariano Rivera, 2019
Vote total: 100% (425/425)

Rivera was the model of consistency throughout his dominant career in the Yankees' bullpen. The right-hander had a sub-3.00 ERA in 17 of his 19 big league seasons -- and a sub-2.00 ERA in 11 of those campaigns -- on his way to racking up an MLB-record 652 career saves. Rivera was a 13-time All-Star and even earned a share of MVP votes nine times, but he took his game to another level in the postseason. The shutdown closer had a 0.70 ERA over 141 postseason innings, helping lead the Yanks to five World Series titles.

2. Derek Jeter, 2020
Vote total: 99.7% (396/397)

Jeter came one vote shy of joining his fellow Yankees icon as a unanimous selection. The legendary shortstop racked up plenty of hardware throughout his 20-year career, spent entirely in the Bronx. A 14-time All-Star, Jeter earned 1996 American League Rookie of the Year honors and went on to win five Gold Glove Awards and five Silver Sluggers. More important, Jeter helped the Yankees win five World Series titles, and he was named MVP of the 2000 World Series in which the Yankees defeated the crosstown rival Mets. Jeter finished his career with 3,465 career hits (sixth all-time) and another 200 postseason hits (most in MLB history).

3. Ken Griffey Jr., 2016
Vote total: 99.3% (437/440)

Griffey came within three votes of being the first unanimous Hall of Famer following his incredible career. The smooth-swinging all-around talent was a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and seven-time Silver Slugger over his illustrious 22-year career. Griffey had seven 40-homer seasons and a pair of 50-homer campaigns, including 56 in his lone MVP season in 1997.

4. Tom Seaver, 1992
Vote total: 98.8% (425/430)

Seaver had no shortage of accolades during his 20-year career before coming within five votes of being a unanimous Hall of Famer in his first year on the ballot. The right-hander won the 1967 NL Rookie of the Year Award and took home the first of his three Cy Young Awards just two years later while helping lead the Mets to the '69 World Series title. Seaver took home three ERA titles and was a five-time strikeout champ. He remains the Mets' franchise leader in nearly every pitching category, including ERA (2.57), wins (198), strikeouts (2,541), complete games (171) and shutouts (44).

5. Nolan Ryan, 1999
Vote total: 98.8% (491/497)

Six voters left Ryan off their Hall of Fame ballot -- one fewer than the number of no-hitters he tossed over his 27-year career. Ryan's seven no-hitters are the most by any player in MLB history, as are his 5,714 strikeouts. He won a pair of ERA titles and led his league in strikeouts 11 times. Ryan had six 300-strikeout seasons, tied with Randy Johnson for the most all-time.

6. Cal Ripken Jr., 2007
Vote total: 98.5% (537/545)

Ripken set the MLB record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games, but that wasn't the only impressive streak for the "Iron Man." He also made 19 consecutive All-Star appearances from 1983-2001, including his final season at age 40. Among his other accolades, Ripken was named the 1982 AL Rookie of the Year and went on to win a pair of MVP Awards, eight Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.

7. Ty Cobb, 1936
Vote total: 98.2% (222/226)

Not only did Cobb win 12 batting titles, but he did so over just a 13-year span from 1907-19. He hit .377 with a .967 OPS, 744 stolen bases and just 472 strikeouts -- an average of 36 per season -- during that stretch. The only season he did not win the batting title during that run came in 1916 when he hit .370, second in the AL only to Tris Speaker (.386). His .366 career average remains the best in MLB history, but Cobb didn't just hit for average as evidenced by the fact that he also led the league in slugging percentage eight times during that incredible 13-year span.

8. George Brett, 1999
Vote total: 98.2% (488/497)

Brett spent his entire 21-year career with the Royals, during which he was a 13-time All-Star and helped lead the club to its first World Series title in 1985. He was also a three-time batting champion, including his 1980 MVP season in which he put up one of the most impressive hitting lines over the past century. Brett hit .390/.454/.664, posting the highest batting average by any player since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Brett and Williams remain the only players since 1940 to hit at least .390 with an 1.100 OPS.

9. Hank Aaron, 1982
Vote total: 97.8% (406/415)

Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth's all-time home run record in 1974, a mark that Ruth had held since 1921. Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs and sat atop the leaderboard until 2007 when Barry Bonds took over the top spot. Though he no longer holds the home run title, Aaron remains the all-time leader with 6,856 total bases. The 25-time All-Star won a pair of batting titles and led the league in homers four times, while his 15 30-homer seasons are tied with Alex Rodriguez for the most all-time.

10. Tony Gwynn, 2007
Vote total: 97.6% (532/545)

Few players have controlled the bat as well as Gwynn, who racked up eight batting titles in his 20-year career, spent entirely in San Diego. He hit .394 in 1994, which remains the highest average by any player since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He finished with a .338 lifetime average and never struck out more than 40 times in a single season. Gwynn also had just one three-strikeout game in his 2,440 career contests.

While those are the 10 highest voting percentages all-time, 28 other players have been elected while receiving at least 90% of the potential votes: Randy Johnson (97.3%), Greg Maddux (97.2%), Chipper Jones (97.2%), Mike Schmidt (96.5%), Johnny Bench (96.4%), Steve Carlton (95.6%), Adrián Beltré (95.1%), Babe Ruth (95.1%), Honus Wagner (95.1%), Rickey Henderson (94.8%), Willie Mays (94.7%), Carl Yastrzemski (94.6%), Luke Appling (94.0%), Bob Feller (93.8%), Reggie Jackson (93.6%), Ted Williams (93.4%), Stan Musial (93.2%), Vladimir Guerrero (92.9%), Roberto Clemente (92.7%), Jim Palmer (92.6%), Brooks Robinson (92.0%), Tom Glavine (91.9%), Wade Boggs (91.9%), Ozzie Smith (91.7%), Pedro Martínez (91.1%), Christy Mathewson (90.7%), Rod Carew (90.5%) and Roberto Alomar (90.0%).