All season long, teams have been honoring New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera as he's traveled ballpark to ballpark.
From chairs made from broken bats to gold records, the gifts given to the all-time saves leader have run the gamut. Prior to Rivera's final game at Yankee Stadium, legendary metal band Metallica is even expected to play during a special tribute.
Now, as we approach the eve of his retirement, here are ten things you might not have known about the future Hall of Famer.
Sure, we all know that Mariano Rivera was named the 2013 All-Star Game MVP, but did you know that the last time a pitcher took home the award was 1999? You do now…and that pitcher was another future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez.
In Mariano Rivera’s time as a member of the Yankees, he’s closed out a number of games for a number of different pitchers. The pitcher that he’s been paired up with the most on the win/save ledger…Andy Pettitte. Of Pettitte’s 218 wins in pinstripes, Rivera saved 73 of them. 83 if you include the postseason!
Trivia time! Two of Mariano Rivera’s record 652 saves have been one pitch saves. The most pitches he’s thrown to get the save came August 23, 1996 when he threw 60.
In May 2010, Mariano Rivera tied Eric Gagne for the most consecutive saves at home with 51. Sure, it isn’t a Major League record, but given the division the Bombers play in (arguably, the toughest in baseball), 51 straight at The Stadium is impressive.
Sure, sure, 652 career saves is great and all…but how many did Mariano Rivera have in the postseason? Answer. 42…with 11 of them coming in the World Series.
We all know Mariano Rivera enters Yankees Stadium to “Enter Sandman”, right? Sure, that’s been documented plenty. But did you know that the album the track comes from (“Metallica” by Metallica) is the 25th best-selling album of all-time in America with more than $30 million sold?
Due to injury, Mariano Rivera notched only 28 saves in 2002. But picking up the slack, was Steve Karsay with 12 saves. Karsay, incidentally, recorded his only saves as a member of the Yankees during the time Rivera was on the shelf.
Mariano Rivera stands 6'2", which, honestly…means precious little. That said, this past June, the famed Harlem Globetrotters "drafted" the closer and at that height, Rivera would figure to be one of the shorter players on their roster. You know, if he decided to go that route once he retired.
Let’s break this down. Mariano Rivera now has a record 652 regular season saves, 42 postseason saves and four All-Star Game saves. Anyone who says “saves don’t matter” (and there are plenty of you) hasn’t been paying attention to Rivera’s impact.
Speaking of the “saves don’t matter” crowd…here’s some fuel for their fire. 23 times Mariano Rivera came in to secure the victory by only facing one batter.