It’s always a debate in baseball
as to who is the best all time at their
One position that doesn’t warrant
any debate is the position of closer,
where Mariano Rivera is universally
viewed as the greatest ever to get
those final outs in a game.
But all great things must come
to an end. Rivera, after spending 19
seasons in YankeeS pinstripes and
winning five World Series titles, is
calling it a career and retiring from
Rivera leaves the game as the
Major League all-time leader in saves
with 652 to his name. Rivera attended
13 all-star games, posted a 2.21 ERA
in 1283 and 2/3 innings pitched,
while striking out 1173 batters.
The only thing that’s more
impressive than Rivera’s regular
season stats are the numbers that he
put up during the postseason.
In 141 postseason innings, Rivera
has a 0.70 ERA. No, that is not a typo.
He has 47 postseason saves, and has
only blown five save opportunities.
One stat that really sticks out
to me is the fact that only 11 earned
runs have scored on Rivera during his
Good Morning America host,
Robin Roberts, brought up a good
point when she stated that more
people have walked on the moon, 12,than have scored on Rivera during
Rivera’s teammate, David
Robertson, gave high praises to
Rivera, stating he’s “the most
consistent human being to ever play
the game of baseball.”
All of these accomplishments and
success can be attributed to one pitch,
The ball looks like it’s right there,
ripe for the picking, but then darts
inside on your hands, producing
countless broken bats and soft
dribblers to the mound.
“No one else throws a 94-mile-an-
hour cutter. It’s like bird watching in
a foreign land. You can’t understand
it,” said former Met’s manager Bobby
I could go on and on about
Rivera’s ridiculous numbers forever,
but what further sets him apart as
a baseball player is his outstanding
personality and his love and respect
for the game.
In the media wasp nest that is
New York City, Rivera avoided the
limelight and simply did his job.
When asked about what his job was,
Rivera was straight and to the point.
“I get the ball, I throw the ball, and
then I take a shower.”
It’s the respect that teammates,
other players and current and former
coaches show that really paints a
picture as to the respect that Rivera
earned from the game.
“He’s the most mentally tough
person I’ve ever played with,” saidRivera’s teammate and Yankee
captain Derek Jeter, arguably one of
the most mentally tough players to
ever play the game.
“When Rivera takes the mound,
the other team is sitting in the dugout
thinking, ‘We’ve got no chance. It’s
over.’ This guy walks into the game,
and they are done,” said Hall of Fame
closer Rich Gossage.
“Mariano was always very
humble, with great family values,”
said former teammate Jorge Posada
in an interview with Tom Verducci.
“Just a person you wanted to be
Rivera’s career can’t be described
without his prolific entrance song,
Metallica’s Enter Sandman.
Never has a song, in baseball,
represented such dread in batters
minds. As a hitter, when you hear
this song, you pretty much know that
the game is over.
Rivera’s final appearance came on Sept. 26, at home against the
Tampa Bay Rays. Rivera retired all
four batters he faced.
After retiring his final batter,
teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek
Jeter came to the mound to usher out
Rivera from his final appearance.
Rivera hugged Pettitte on the
mound, shedding tears. For once,
there was crying in baseball, and
everyone was fine with it.
The Yankee faithful cheered
Rivera for a good five minutes,
bringing him out for a curtain call.
Rivera’s final appearance is what can
only be described as a great send off
to a perfect career.
Years from now, when we are
all old, we will be able to tell our
grandchildren that we lived when the
greatest closer of all time pitched.
I hope that we never forget
just how lucky all of us were to
experience the greatness that was