Adrián Beltré, MLB
Adrián Beltré played 21 seasons in the majors with four different teams, most notably with the Texas Rangers (2011-18) Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News/Courtesy from The Dallas Morning News

ALABAMA - Each year ever since 1936, a selected group of individuals reach immortality status in the world of baseball, as their names get added to the prestigious walls in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Entering 2024, only 268 players have received the honor of being enshrined forever in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Within that elite group, there is an even more selective set of players that earned their place in Cooperstown during their first year of eligibility. To be exact, only 58 players in baseball have earned that privilege. This year, Adrián Beltré became the new member of the "first ballot" Hall of Famers and the first one to do so since 2022.

Since the first-ever induction in 1936 that included legends such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, only four other Latinos have accomplished what Beltré did this year. It is important to remind our readers that Roberto Clemente, although a Hall of Famer, was elected in 1973 via a special election that waived the mandatory five-year waiting period after his tragic death in 1972.

Adrián Beltré (2024)

The Dominican baseman earned a place in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility thanks to his incredible credentials.

He finished his career with 3,166 hits and with the third best WAR (wins above replacement) in MLB history among third basemen (93.5). Beltré is not only the first Latino to get in in his first year, but he is also just the fifth Dominican-born player to have his name immortalized around Cooperstown's halls, joining Juan Marichal (1983), Pedro Martínez (2015), Vladimir Guerrero (2018) and David Ortiz (2022).

A four-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove winner, Beltré also had a special talent in the offensive side of the game, finishing his 21-year career with 477 home runs.

Beltré became the first Dominican player to reach 3,000 hits in MLB history in 2017 and, throughout his career, he hit for the cycle (single, double, triple and a HR in the same game) three times in his career, making him one of six players to do so in the majors.

David Ortíz (2022)

"Big Papi" became the second Dominican player in history to earn a plaque in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, despite spending most of his career as a Designated Hitter.

A seven-time Silver Slugger and a three-time World Series champion, Ortíz became a household name in MLB as soon as he joined the Boston Red Sox in 2003. He helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 86 years in just his second season with Boston.

With the Red Sox, he had 10 seasons with at least 30 HR, including a personal-best of 54 homers during 2006. Throughout his career, 'Big Papi' connected 541 HR. A big player made for the big moments, Ortíz connected a further 17 homers in the postseason.

Mariano Rivera (2019)

In 2019, Mariano Rivera did something no one in more than a century of baseball history had ever done: be inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He appeared in 100% of the 425 ballots that year, and to this date "Sandman" remains as the player with the highest percentage of votes (Derek Jeter is 2nd with 99.7%).

The Panamanian pitcher played his entire career with the New York Yankees (1995-2013), earning the title of one of the most dominant relievers in MLB history. He finished his career as the all-time leader in saves with 652 to go along with his 13 All-Star appearances and five World Series rings.

In 1999, Rivera was named World Series MVP thanks to two saves during the series, as the Yankees swept the Atlanta Braves in four games.

Iván Rodríguez (2017)

Iván 'Pudge' Rodríguez spent 21 seasons in the majors and his name remains as the benchmark for future catchers. In 2017, Rodríguez was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, receiving 76% of the votes cast. Even though he was a catcher, the Puerto Rican had a knack for offense and finished his career with 311 home runs, ranking 5th all-time among all Puerto Rican players in MLB history.

He was a 14-time All-Star and a 13-time Golden Glove winner, both are records for a catcher in baseball history. He also earned the American League MVP award during the 1999 campaign. 'Pudge' played in two World Series during his career, winning in 2003 with the Marlins.

Pedro Martínez (2015)

One of the best pitchers of his generation and perhaps one of the best ever, Pedro Martínez had a remarkable career that included eight All-Star appearances, three Cy Young awards (one in each league) and, most importantly, a World Series title in 2004 with the Red Sox, ending Boston's 86-year drought without a World Series.

Martínez finished his career with a .687 win percentage, trailing only Whitey Ford for the highest in the Modern Era (since 1900).

Martínez is also part of a selected group of pitchers that won a Cy Young award in both the American and National leagues. To this date, only six players in MLB history have accomplished the feat.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.