New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera: Saying Goodbye to No. 42

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New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera: Saying Goodbye to No. 42
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As an organization, I think about as highly of the New York Yankees as Jim Everett does of Jim Rome.

Matching levels of contempt envelops yours truly, whether New York is winning a World Series championship or taking a 2nd-inning lead in a Grapefruit League split-squader.

You know how some like to come down on the likes of J-Wow, Paris Hilton, Honey Boo-Boo, etc. for representing the deterioration of society—even though they are not the reason society's priorities are screwed up; they're just benefiting from it the most?

That's kind of how it is with me and the Yankees. They're not the reason the MLB's financial system is screwy, but they benefit from it like no other.

Until said screwiness is addressed, my feelings are unlikely to change.

Fortunately, unlike some irrational fans, I can compartmentalize my feelings towards the organization and those it employs.

I've always been a Derek Jeter fan, for example. He's a unique player's player—he does it all, he does it all well, and he does what can and cannot be appreciated by scanning the back of his Topps card. 

Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, and David Wells also place on my regarded Yankee list.

However, few players (Yankee or otherwise) exist who I've respected more than Mariano Rivera. He came from Panama over 20 years ago knowing not a word of English; today he is more articulate than many native Americans.

While humble, he is honest and candid, having yet to give a canned response during any interview I've ever heard—unlike so many other athletes whose comments are often rehearsed (or idiotic).

I mean, his awkward reaction to breaking the all-time saves record tells all one needs to know about Mo—if Jose Valverde had been the record-breaker, for example, Valverde would have hammed it up all the way to the following Spring Training. The game could never have too many like Rivera representing it.

Now, No. 42 is leaving the game, meaning No. 42 is leaving the game. Jackie Robinson's uniform No. 42 was retired throughout MLB in 1997 (Rivera's second full season), and only those wearing it at the time were allowed to ever wear it again. While many players gave it up immediately, others carried on.

This article will take a look back at the final No. 42's in Major League Baseball, including Rivera, the very final.

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