Sometime soon, maybe by the time you read this, Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in baseball history, will pass Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list.
Rivera has 600 saves in his career, and 42 more in the post-season. Do the math, that’s almost four full seasons of getting the last out in a Yankees win.
Perhaps the most indispensable Yankee over the past 15 years….heck perhaps the most valuable player in baseball during that time….Rivera is a Hall of Fame lock.
Here are 10 cool facts about Mariano Rivera:
1. Since he became the Yankee closer in 1997 (taking over for the departed John Wetteland), Rivera has been remarkably consistent. He’s had at least 28 saves for 15 straight seasons.
2. Rivera actually started 10 games in 1995, his rookie year. before the Yankees realized he was born to be a reliever. That year he had a 5-3 record to go with a 5.51 ERA.
4. Mariano has led the American League in saves three times — 45 (1999), 50 (2001) and a career-high and Yankee best 53 in 2004.
5. Mariano Rivera has never won a Cy Young Award. He did finish second once, third three times, and fifth once in Cy Young balloting. He finished as high as ninth in AL MVP voting in 2004 and 2005.
6. “I save games, they save lives. That’s what real heroes are all about.” — Mariano Rivera, who gave his 2001 Rolaids “Relief Man” award to FDNY.
7. Only one player in baseball, wears #42 — Mariano Rivera. That number was retired in 1997 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s “color barrier.” However players who were wearing #42 at that time were allowed to keep it until they retired. Fittingly, Rivera is the only one left.
8. Mo claims his most memorable moment came in 2003, when he pitched three scoreless innings against the Red Sox before Aaron Boone homered to win Game 7 of the ALCS.
9. Rivera’s post-season numbers are off the charts. In addition to his 42 saves, Mariano has an 8-1 record and a microscopic 0.71 ERA in playoff competition.
10. Rivera has given up just two post-season home runs in 94 games, neither to a left-hand hitter. Sandy Alomar, Jr, of the Indians (1997) and Jay Payton of the Mets (2000) are the only two players to claim a post-season home run against Rivera.