Former New York Yankees closer and Panamanian native Mariano Rivera made history this week when he became the first-ever unanimous inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Rivera’s career began with a $2,500 contract from the Yankees that got him to leave Panama and it ended by capturing just about every record imaginable for a closer.
There have been more astronauts who have walked on the moon than MLB players who scored against Mariano Rivera in the playoffs. 12 astronauts have walked on the moon, 11 have scored against Mo in the postseason. He was the 1999 World Series MVP, 2003 ALCS MVP, a 13x All-Star and 5-time World Series champion. I’m not a Yankees fan but I’ve got nothing but respect for the greatest closer in the game’s history.
Mariano Rivera was an absolute LOCK for the Hall of Fame it was just a matter of whether or not he’d be a first ballot unanimous vote, which he was. Now all of the stories of respect and admiration have been hitting the news and it’s funny to see how various players remember him.
7-time All-Star Michael Young was the 2005 AL Batting Champion. He’s a former SS and 3B for the Texas Rangers where he holds several franchise records including runs scored and total bases. The man was an absolute MACHINE on my fantasy baseball team for years.
Michael recently shared a story about how he and the Texas Rangers would cheat and share signals when Mariano Rivera was on the mound but it STILL didn’t work.
“We’d have the guy in the on deck circle use the metal donut,” Young recalled on Twitter. “If Jorge [Posada] set up inside he’d knock the donut off hard, hitter would hear it and know it was cutter inside…ya, not very obvious. It worked. He’s get 3 outs on 12 pitches instead of 9. Congrats Mo!” (via)
Mark Teixeira chimed in to concur with Young:
As a teammate of @MikeyY626 with the @Rangers, I can confirm this story…it was a desperate action by hitters who knew we were toast. That’s why I signed with the @Yankees…didn’t have to face Mo anymore!
The Captain (Jeter) penned a tribute to Rivera in the Player’s Tribune titled ‘Mo’ where he also heaped praise on Mariano. He went on to say that even though you knew what Rivera was going to throw every time, his infamous Cutter, there’s still nothing anyone could ever do to hit the pitch.
“It was always the same thing on the mound,” “There wasn’t much mystery if you were facing Mariano Rivera. No smoke and mirrors — nothing to hide. The scouting report was the same every time. Mo knew he was going to throw that cutter. The guy at the plate knew he was going to throw that cutter. Fifty thousand plus at Yankee Stadium knew he was going to throw that cutter.” (via)
Mariano Rivera went on to earn $169.6 MILLION on the field throughout his career and that’s just the contracts, not including his sponsorships. That’s INSANE for a man whose career started with a $2,500 contract in Panama.
If there’s even a tiny sliver of doubt in your mind that Mariano Rivera deserved to be the first-ever unanimous choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame then watch that clip above which looks back at highlights from his outrageous career and his 652 saves.