USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the prominent careers of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — There were tears, there was laughter, and a whole lot of gratitude throughout the Baseball Hall of Fame three-hour induction ceremony, but the main attraction Sunday was Mariano Rivera.
Rivera, the five-time World Series champion, all-time saves leader and the only player to be a unanimous selection into the Hall of Fame, was the man much of the crowd of 55,000 came to see.
Rivera’s induction brought dignitaries from Panama president Laurentino Cortizo to former boxing champion Roberto Duran to the heart and soul of the New York Yankees’ dynasty: Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams.
“I wasn’t going to miss this,’’ Duran told USA TODAY Sports. “He meant so much to me. I saw him as a young boy growing up in Panama, and look at him now, a Hall of Famer.’’
Posada and Jeter said they didn’t hesitate when Rivera invited them to Cooperstown, with the two taking a…