Case closed–Mariano Rivera best of all timePosted: March 9, 2013
Baseball fans can debate who’s the best hitter, the best pitcher, the best shortstop, the greatest team….and on, and on. But on this there’s no debate — Mariano Rivera, who has announced that this will be his final season, is the greatest closer in the history of baseball.
Rivera is baseball’s all-time saves leader with 608, with 42 more in the post-season. Do the math, that’s four full seasons of getting the last out in a Yankees win.
Arguably the most indispensable Yankee over the past 17 years….heck perhaps the most valuable player in baseball during that time. Rivera is a Hall of Fame lock.
Ever so humble, Rivera told ESPN’s Andrew Marchand: “I don’t feel myself, the greatest of all time. I’m a team player. I would love to be remembered as a player who was always there for others.”
Only one player in baseball, wears #42 — Mariano Rivera. That number was retired in 1997 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s “color barrier.”
Speaking of River, Jackie’s 90-year old widow Rachel Robinson told Ian O’Connor of ESPN: “He carried himself with dignity and grace, that made carrying the number a tribute to Jack.”
A great player and a great man. The great Rivera. There will never be another like him.
Here are 10 cool facts about Mariano Rivera:
1. Since he became the Yankee closer in 1997 (taking over for the departed John Wetteland), Rivera has been remarkably consistent. He had at least 28 saves for 15 straight seasons before injuring his knee and missing nearly all of 2012.
2. Rivera actually started 10 games in 1995, his rookie year. before the Yankees realized he was born to be a reliever. That year he had a 5-3 record to go with a 5.51 ERA.
3. Since then, Rivera’s ERA has been above 3.00 just once (3.15 in 2007). His career low came in 2005, when he recorded a 1.38 ERA. Overall, he’s 76-58 with a 2.21 ERA.
4. Mo has led the American League in saves three times — 45 (1999), 50 (2001) and a career-high and Yankee best 53 in 2004.
5. Mariano Rivera has never won a Cy Young Award. He did finish second once, third three times, and fifth once in Cy Young balloting. He finished as high as ninth in AL MVP voting in 2004 and 2005.
6. “I save games, they save lives. That’s what real heroes are all about.” — Mariano Rivera, who gave his 2001 Rolaids “Relief Man” award to FDNY.
7. When Jackie Robinson’s #42 was retired in 1997, players who were wearing #42 at that time were allowed to keep it until they retired. Fittingly, Rivera is the only one left. He’s worn it alone since 2003.
8. Mo once claimed his most memorable moment came in 2003, when he pitched three scoreless innings against the Red Sox before Aaron Boone homered to win Game 7 of the ALCS.
9. Rivera’s post-season numbers are off the charts. In addition to his 42 saves, Mariano has an 8-1 record and a microscopic 0.70 ERA in playoff competition, covering 141 innings.
10. Rivera has given up just two post-season home runs in 96 games, neither to a left-hand hitter. Sandy Alomar, Jr, of the Indians (1997) and Jay Payton of the Mets (2000) are the only two players to claim a post-season home run against Rivera.