Growing up, we all that one player who you admired and desired to be. For me, it was Mariano Rivera. All I knew about him was he had one pitch that no one could hit and he carried himself like a true professional. I wore his number, 42, and only thought of it as his number. That was until I found out he was the last ever person to wear it, due to it actually being Jackie Robinson’s number. Mo wore it well though and I’d like to think Jackie would be proud of him. Over the years I learned more and more about Mo and over the years I’ve grown into an even bigger fan of his, which brings us to yesterday. While I was sitting in Rupp Arena to see my Cats play, I checked into MLB Network and say Mariano was the first person EVER to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously. Before that, the highest percentage was Ken Griffey Jr with 99.31%. The thing about Mo is you knew what he was throwing, but you could not hit it. His rival, David Ortiz, became his best friend. Everyone adored him, even the Captain, who pinned this incredible letter to Mo. https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/derek-jeter-mariano-rivera-baseball-hall-of-fame
Over his 19 year career in New York, Rivera recorded 652 saves, the most ever by a closer. He helped the Yankees to 5 World Series titles, all while becoming the greatest, most iconic closer in the game. In 96 appearances, 141 innings, in the postseason, Rivera finished 8-1 with a .70 ERA. He recorded 42 saves, 14 of which were more than one inning. According to ESPN….”that’s more two-inning saves than all other relievers combined in the postseason while Rivera was active.”
Rivera is the greatest closer of all time and it’s not close. Many people believe Craig Kimbrel is the best in the game right now. To put into perspective how good Mo was, Kimbrel has thrown 120 less innings in the postseason than Rivera did and has already allowed as many home runs (2). Mo gave up 2 home runs in the postseason… 2 in 141 innings pitched. He will never be touched. He is the GOAT. Another interesting fact: there have been more people to walk on the moon (12) than people who have scored on Rivera in the postseason (11). Lastly, Rivera has never allowed a postseason HR to a left handed batter, even with the short porch in right. Absolutely amazing.
Mariano deserves every bit of fame he gets. This honor could not have gone to a better, more deserving person. So I’ll leave you with… thank you, Mariano. Thank you for being the inspiration that everyone needs in their life. From a poor kid in Panama using cardboard as your glove, to the first unanimous Hall of Famer in baseball history. Congratulations, Mo.
PS: Congrats to Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay, and Edgar Martinez for being elected into the Hall of Fame as well, Mo just deserves his own piece.