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New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera, the Greatest Closer of All Time

NEW YORK - JUNE 28: Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees pitches against the New York Mets on June 28, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Matt KayContributor INovember 16, 2016

Five hundred to one.

That’s how many saves it took Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to record his first career RBI.

The 39-year-old native of Panamá has had a stellar career and is arguably the greatest finisher of all time—even if his RBI statistics don’t show for it.

How many other American League closers end up getting an insurance run for themselves anyways?

In doing so, Rivera became just the second closer of all time to record 500 saves—the other being Trevor Hoffman (571).

Hoffman, though, has nothing to show for his achievements other than six All-Star Game appearances. Mariano, on the other hand, has four World Series rings—more than any closer who has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Of the five closers who are enshrined in Cooperstown, only Rollie Fingers (three) has won more than one Major League championship. And of those five, only Goose Gossage has been an All-Star selection as many times as Rivera (nine).

Mo is a lock for the Hall of Fame.

He has just one hole in his resume: He never won the league MVP award. So what? No Yankee pitcher has since Spud Chandler in 1943. More impressively, he won a World Series MVP in 1999, marking just the third time a closer has won the award.

Interestingly, the last to do so was his predecessor John Wetteland in 1996 when Rivera was his set-up man.

Whether Rivera surpasses Hoffman’s save record is irrelevant to his legacy. Mariano has his 500 saves and four rings.

Oh, and, who can forget, his one RBI.

And for the record, legendary closers—such as Rivera—would never walk in the opposing team’s closer in the ninth inning. Good job, K-Rod.

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