Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, who led the Yankees to five World Series Championhipss, became the first player ever – EVER! – to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously. For those who are not baseball fans, Mariano’s achievement, which many had predicted, is one for the ages. Competition to get into the Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, is fierce, particularly for pitchers. But Mariano’s record – 652 saves and 952 games finished – placed him in elite territory.
Yankee favorite, pitcher Mike Mussina (Moose), was also elected to the Hall of Fame. Other inductees will include Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, who died in an airplane crash in 2017, and Edgar Martinez, the designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners.
Rivera played for the New York Yankees, but he never attracted animosity from fans of opposing teams, including the Yankees’s nemesis, the Boston Red Sox. Not only was Rivera uber talented, he had class. He never talked trash. He inspired other players. And his story was one that so many immigrants hope to emulate.
Born in a small fishing village in Panama, Rivera worked hard on his pitching. Even after he made it to the Yankees, he first was a starting pitcher, then a set-up man, until finally earning the job as closer. The rest is history.
For Yankee fans who leapt to their feet when Mariano entered the stadium to his anthem, “Sandman,” there was no better moment. We knew that the game was in good hands and we would soon be exiting the stadium to Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” celebrating another Mariano victory.
Susan, book the hotel. Cooperstown, here we come!
Top Bigstock photo: Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees pitches against the New York Mets on May 20, 2006 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York.