…And the Core Four could be down to one following the end of the 2013 season. With Jorge Posada already retired and Andy Pettitte, who is ALWAYS retiring, the news that the best closer in MLB history is retiring after this year would leave just Derek Jeter remaining of the legendary group of four.
And what a run the Yankees and baseball have had watching this talented, classy, always professional athlete and human being perform on one of the biggest stages in all of sports! Yankee Stadium! To say that Mariano Rivera is an icon would be an understatement. After all he finished in the top five in the AL Cy Young voting 5 times!
If you watched him on a regular basis, you almost took him for granted. Not that you didn’t appreciate the job he did, but you just knew that the chances of him closing out a game with a save was almost as imminent as the Bronx Bombers getting to the postseason. Problem is that most of us don’t realize what we have until it’s gone…
Although still in uniform for one more year, Rivera’s resume thus far will be a major part of his legacy. Consider this. Discounting last year due to ACL surgery , Mariano has averaged around 40 saves a season over the previous nine. If he comes close to that number again this year, there isn’t a reliever pitching today or probably EVER who will come anywhere close to the save record, currently at 608, that he has amassed. No one…ever!!
And we haven’t even begun to discuss what this artist of a pitcher has accomplished in the postseason. The two stats, both records, that jump off the page are his 0.70 postseason ERA and 42 postseason saves! The nearest save total that any relief pitcher has is 18, (Brad Lidge). Rivera has dominated his position almost as long as he’s been a Yankee which, since 1995, has been his entire baseball career.
Yankees fans as well as baseball purists, have all gotten a bit spoiled just having Rivera around, doing what he does so effortlessly for the better part of two decades. With essentially just one pitch, the cutter, Rivera has befuddled and bedazzled most of the hitters he’s faced. He’s performed like a well-oiled machine, seldom needing a tune-up.
And so, as Mariano makes his rounds of all the stadiums where the Yanks will play this season, may we suggest that if you haven’t seen him-do so. If you have seen him-see him again. A pitcher like Rivera won’t come along for a very long time, if ever, and you shouldn’t miss this last opportunity to see a real icon. Take your kids as well, especially those who aspire to become pitchers or better yet, perhaps the next Mariano Rivera.
I hope I’ll get to see him at Yankee stadium this season. I hope on that day he gets the call in the bullpen to close yet another game. I’ll await the start of Enter Sandman, look at the crowd giving him a standing ovavation, feel a few goosebumps on my arm, and be happy that I got to see him one ‘Mo time…