Mariano Rivera is a class act. There is no doubt about it.
Today, the New York Yankees retired number 42 and placed it amongst the other Yankee greats in Monument Park. The Number has already been retired by Major League Baseball out of respect for the great Jackie Robinson who wore the number while breaking the color barrier. Rivera was allowed to keep wearing his number since he was wearing it before MLB retired it.
In a touching speech Rivera thanked everyone he could, from the fans of the Yankees, Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel, his parents, and even the San Francisco Giants for showing up that day (as if they had a choice). Rivera has long been considered one of the humblest men in baseball, especially considering his amazing talent.
Rivera holds the all-time post-season saves record among a handful of others. He is without a doubt the greatest closer of all time and one that I will be happy to tell my grandchildren that I got to watch him pitch. His cutter is arguably the most famous pitch of this generation and he made a living on it. Even today, most hitters find it nearly impossible to make solid contact on it.
Rivera showed that not only could he pitch, but he could deliver a speech with the best of them. It may not be the “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech that Lou Gehrig delivered once upon a time, but like Mo, it was unique and the perfect way to close a career.