Friday, September 30, 2011


Mariano Rivera throws ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Posada for ALDS game 1

Mariano Rivera throws ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Posada, ALDS game 1, 9/30/11, photo Jim McIsaac, Newsday
Above Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera after their ceremonial first pitch, ALDS game 1, 9/30/11, getty

Above Rivera and Posada shake hands after ceremonial first pitch in ALDS game 1, 9/30/11, reuters.

10/1/11, " Justin Terranova, N.Y. Post, on the battery for the ceremonial first pitch: "Rivera to Posada: That's how the Yankees usually end the playoffs, not start them.""...

10/1/11, "Steve Schrader: Pitching plans are a wash," Detroit Free Press
Rivera acknowledges crowd during ALDS game 1 lineup, 9/30/11, ap
Rivera gestures before making ceremonial first pitch, ALDS game 1, 9/30/11, getty

Rivera throws ceremonial first pitch before ALDS game 1 v Tigers, 9/30/11, getty

Mariano Rivera on cover of Official Yankee Program for 2011 ALDS, photo NY Times


Dusk at the Stadium for ALDS game 1, fan in Mariano Rivera t-shirt for the occasion

Above Yankee Stadium at night, fan with Mariano Rivera t-shirt, 9/30/11, reuters


2011 ALDS preview, AL scouts assess, via Ken Davidoff

9/29/11, "Mariano Rivera, I wish I could come up with a cliché that hasn’t been said about him. He’s as good as can be. I think
It’s like swimming in the ocean. You know the sharks are out there, so you don’t go as far as you want to. You see
With his command of the cutter, he makes All-Stars look feeble."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


603 saves impressive but irrelevant in measuring Rivera's impact-A Red Sox fan

"In many occasions throughout his career, Rivera was called upon to record two-inning outs at a time when the game was on the line."...

9/27/11, "A Red Sox fan’s appreciation for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera," Yahoo Sports, Scott Duhaime

"While 603 saves is an impressive statistic, the 12-time All-Star has proved for years that he not only is the best closer in the game, but one of the most dependable pitchers of all time. In an era where the sport is dominated by lofty and inflated statistics, whether Rivera reached the milestone record is irrelevant

Rivera also ranks as the all-time leader in games finished (882) and save conversion rate (89 percent). In spite of his advancing baseball age, the ageless closer has maintained relative health throughout his career, this season marking the ninth straight year that Rivera has made over 60 appearances in a season while also maintaining a consistent strikeout ratio throughout his career. One measure of pride for Boston fans is that Rivera has struggled with the Red Sox, blowing 14 of his 68 career save opportunities. One of the remarkable facts about Rivera is that he accomplished such consistent performance with only one pitch: the cut fastball.

While the regular-season accomplishments of Rivera warrant first-ballot Hall-of-Fame status, it is his postseason performance that puts him in the elite class of pitchers of all time. In 17 seasons of play, Rivera has made the playoffs 15 times. In 94 games of playoff action, Rivera has amassed 42 saves and a microscopic 0.71 earned run average. Of the 523 batters faced in the playoffs, Rivera has surrendered 86 hits while walking just 21. In many occasions throughout his career, Rivera was

(Rivera has many multi-inning appearances that were important to the team but didn't fall under the individual 'save' stat. ed.)


Rivera didn't need 602 to be best ever- Jack Curry

9/20/11, "Mariano Rivera: The kid made it," Jack Curry, YES Network

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Mo gets FDNY fireman helmet in observance of 602+ regular season saves

Jorge Posada presents Mariano Rivera with fireman's hat to commemorate 602+ regular season saves. 9/25/11 before first game of doubleheader v Boston, ap. In 2001 after the terrorist killings in New York Rivera gave his Rolaids Relief trophy to the NY Fire Dept.:

9/8/11, "After a season in which he won the Rolaids "Relief Man" award, Rivera gave the trophy to the New York City Fire Department.

"I save games, they save lives," Rivera said. "That's what real heroes are all about."" (end of article)

Yankees present 602+ portrait to Rivera before doubleheader with Red Sox, seen above with Jeter, 9/25/11, getty.

"The Yankees held a ceremony before the first game to recognize the great Mariano Rivera for setting the all-time saves record earlier this month.

Terry Francona and bench coach DeMarlo Hale led the applause from the Red Sox dugout with David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia among the players joining in. Rivera tipped his cap to the Red Sox when the ceremony was over.

The Yankees commissioned a Waterford Crystal fireman's helmet for Rivera and his teammates presented him with a near life-size lithograph showing his baseball cards."

9/25/2011 @602 regular season saves, getty

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Mariano shows how he made a baseball glove out of cardboard


Mariano Rivera shows how he made his first baseball glove out of cardboard. Rivera speaks with Brandon Steiner.


David Ortiz: "Rivera is the best pitcher in the game of all time. Of all time."

9/21/11, ""The best pitcher in the game of all time. Of all time," says Red Sox slugger and Yankees nemesis David Ortiz, when asked to put Rivera's accomplishments in context.
9/21/11, "How Mariano Rivera, son of a Panamanian fisherman, ascended from poverty to king of all relievers," NY Daily News, Christian Red, with Anthony McCarron and Roger Rubin (item is para. 7)


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Rivera the best reliever of all time, Fan Graphs, Slowinski, low ERA and walks, high K's, not just 'save' stat


Rivera's low ERA, low walk rate, high strike out rate, high WAR and WPA put him above others, not just the 'save' stat.

9/20/11, "The Best Reliever of All Time, Mariano Rivera," FanGraphs, Steve Slowinski

"If you prefer old-school statistics, Rivera has the lowest career ERA (2.06) of any relief pitcher to throw more than 200 innings.* That’s considerably lower than Trevor Hoffman (2.87 ERA), and better than any of the current relievers in the Hall of Fame: Hoyt Wilhelm (2.52), Goose Gossage (2.63), Bruce Sutter (2.83), and Rollie Fingers (2.83), and Dennis Eckersley (2.85**). And not only that, but in an age where relievers typically don’t shoulder large workloads, Mo has thrown 1,159 innings

Mo has the lowest walk rate of the Hall of Fame relievers (1.9 walks per nine), and

You can go on and on with the comparisons, but they’re still just as unremarkable; in short, the traditional stats make Mariano out to be a soul-destroying, bat breaking machine.

And when you turn to the new-school statistics, you find that it’s not just saves that really likes Mariano; it’s everything. He has the most career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of any relief pitcher and by a longshot too. Heck, only nine relievers have ever pitched good and long enough to accrue over 20 WAR, and of those nine, only one has ever cracked 30. With 38.3 WAR,

But it only gets better. Mo has by far the most Win Probability Added of any relief pitcher (55 WPA) over the course of his career, a full 23 ahead of the next closest guy (Trevor Hoffman). And he may have recently set the all-time saves record, but

This one save doesn’t change his place in history, but it does serves as yet another of how the saber and mainstream aren’t as far apart as you’d think. It doesn’t matter what statistics you like to look at, the final conclusion is the same: Mariano Rivera is not only the best old reliever of all-time; he’s easily the best reliever the game has ever seen. The role of the closer may be a young one and not steeped in legend yet,

*You guys are so smart. One reader caught that Mo’s career ERA is actually 2.22, while I listed above that it’s 2.06. The numbers I referenced above are Mo’s stats as a relief pitcher; he had 10 starts early in his career that inflate his career ERA. And since Dennis Eckersley also started some games, I excluded all games started when comparing the relievers against each other.

**Again, this is Eckersley’s ERA as a relief pitcher."


The author mentions 1159 innings for Mo. Of the 1209 listed as of 9/21 in B-R I'm assuming 50 innings in 1995 were as a starter and 17 were as a reliever. This still leaves out the post season. If the topic of durability is discussed including innings pitched, it is quite misleading not to mention the post season in all cases. Obviously Rivera's work is the most severely slighted when post season durability is left out-- although it is "accepted" practice to do so in some baseball stat discussions-assuming one wants to be accepted by people who cheat others out of their career. It is not Rivera's "fault" that 3 levels of post season play began in 1995. It doesn't make those before him "unlucky" to have had more time to rest up. In the old days when they didn't make much money players got 2nd jobs over the winter. It was just different. It's no one's fault and no excuse to cheat someone out of what is often his most demanding work and in adverse weather conditions. I enjoyed the article, just think post season must be mentioned in durability discussions. ed.


Quinnipiac freshman Mariano Rivera Jr. speaks about his father's new pitching record

9/21/11, "Mariano Rivera Jr. reacts to dad’s new record," Quinnipiac Chronicle, John Healy

"On Monday Quinnipiac freshman Mariano Rivera Jr. sat in Yankee Stadium hoping to see his father, Mariano Rivera, make history and become the all-time saves leader.

Early on, it didn’t look like Rivera would have a chance at setting the record, as the Yankees had a 5-0 lead, which does not constitute a save situation.

But after the Minnesota Twins scored four runs, the game became a save situation and Rivera was on the mound in the ninth to strike out Chris Parmelee for record-breaking save number 602 in a 6-4 Yankees win.

“Toward the end I thought that he was going to have a chance and the excitement started building up,” Rivera Jr. said. “Just the joy of seeing my father reaching that goal, it was a proud moment for him and I was very proud for him. I’m very thankful that I was actually there to support him and I think he was happy that I was there along with my brothers and my mom.”...

I’ve always said that my father is the best no matter what. The numbers didn’t prove it but now finally the numbers can back that up. That’s just such a reassuring feeling now,” Rivera said.

Rivera was just 3 years old when his father made his major league debut.

Fifteen years, 602 saves, plus 42 postseason saves later, it’s the most recent accomplishments that Rivera will remember most....

Shortly after his father recorded the historic save, Rivera updated his Facebook status, which read, “Yesss!!!! That a boy dad! New leader congrats great accomplishment :) ♥.”"...


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Rivera at the Stadium and 603

But who's counting? Above with Russell Martin, final 4-2 v Tampa Bay Rays, 9/21/11, ap. Below, reuters


'Enter night,' Mariano Rivera, Tom Boswell, Washington Post

"Not that he needed it or that anyone cared about the number itself."...
"Long before anyone ever heard of Mariano Rivera, baseball had a theory that was passed from generation to generation of pitchers. The best qualities a pitcher could possess were elite speed, quick late movement, ridiculous throw-it-in-a-teacup command and an indestructible arm that never broke.

This was a hypothetical, a mere teaching point. No such pitch had ever existed. No such pitcher had ever been born. And no arm could throw such a dragon’s tongue of a pitch for 20 years and not crack asunder.

Even Walter Johnson, whose 100-mph sidearm fastball perhaps came closest, gradually developed his “nickel curveball,” a precursor to the slider.

But if such a pitch, pitcher and arm, plus a warrior’s spirit could be combined, what would you have? Then, if you added an imperial, entitled presence and a mound demeanor that merited a Metallica anthem as an introduction, then, once again — purely in theory — that pitcher could dominate almost every hitter,

  • win nearly every game of consequence

and stand above baseball itself with just that one almost unhittable pitch.

Then unannounced and unexpected in ’95, the Sandman actually entered.

At first, few noticed. Something about Rivera seemed a trifle too humble and soft-spoken to become synonymous with a 15-year reign of domination. He was a neat, polite Panamanian gentleman without a hint of extroversion. But then similar things were said of Johnson when he arrived from the Idaho State League.

No one could possibly throw one pitch, over and over, under the greatest pressure, year after year, playoff and World Series after playoff and World Series and almost never falter. Up and in (in your kitchen), on the fists (broken bat), backdoor low and away (take a seat) and apparently right down the middle, then suddenly on the corner low-and-away to right handed hitters, down and in to the lefties — equally and inevitably fatal to both.

But Rivera could.

No pitcher with 1,000 innings since the ancient Dead Ball Era had an ERA to compare with his career mark of 2.22.

  • The closest, Hoyt Wilhelm (2.52), threw the ultimate trick pitch, the knuckleball.

However, in the postseason Rivera redefined baseball perfection. In 94 games, he won eight times, saved 76 games and lost — once. That defeat, to end the ’01 World Series,

  • was based on Rivera’s own throwing error, not his pitching.

The singularity of the event — Mo losing Game 7 — was the final thematic note that, perhaps, places the ’01 Series as the best ever.

As homage to Rivera, and a nod to the temper of this baseball age, let his slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging average) in the postseason take our breath away: .172/.213/.229. On the biggest stage, against the best hitters, he made them all hit like pitchers.

Mariano was the greatest Yankee since Babe Ruth. He was more valuable, more central and more emblematic than Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter or any of the assorted Hessians like Roger Clemens of the free agent era since ’76. That’s an opinion from observation; it’s not a proof. Joe DiMaggio hit .271 (.760 OPS) in his 10 World Series.

  • Rivera’s ERA was 0.71 in 31 postseason series. Not 31 games, 31 entire series.

On Monday, Rivera broke the last record available to him — 602 career saves. Not that he needed it or that anyone cared about the number itself. But the moment was needed, the finality, the period at the end of the sentence of greatness at the pinnacle of one occupation.

Over the years, Metallica borrowed Rivera just as he had annexed their ’91 hit as his introduction. A huge video of Rivera jogging from the pen to the stadium mound, then baring his teeth on every 97-mph cut fastball, now plays behind Metallica when they crank up “Enter Sandman,” their ode to nightmares that beset the innocent: “Exit light. Enter night. Take my hand. We’re off to Never Never Land.” But one Peter Pan never visited.

Metallica grew old. Rivera, 41, remains as young as his 1.98 ERA, his 11th season under 2.00. He’s

  • the nightmare from which hitters cannot awake.
There are times and places you never forget.You wonder if you can ever re-create them for those who weren’t. Rivera’s entrance at the Big Ballpark — more encores are scheduled for next month — was a human bolt of collective lightning as 50,000 people erupted. Rivera did not symbolize victory. He was the emblem of defeat. The hangman, the expressionless executioner and the ultimate closer in a town that worships closing the deal. He embodied Yankee power, even though they never bought him at auction, just signed and taught him, almost like a normal mortal player with flaws.

Mo was The End. After him, roll the credits.

Until Rivera, perhaps no one ever really believed that old theory — that with speed, late movement and command in all quadrants of the strike zone, the game of baseball was simply too difficult for hitters, even the best. Of late, he’s added wrinkles. But he will be remembered in his long prime as a symbol of dignity, consistency, perfected craft and that aura,

  • which he never possessed until he took the mound, transformed, into controlled menace.

Too soon, Mo will become an oldie-but-goodie. But not yet. The Yanks have the best record in the AL and have outscored their foes by even more than the much-heralded Phillies. Will we have a Series with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels pitching on one side against a rotation of CC Sabathia, Question Mark and the Mysterians, plus ancient Mariano Rivera?

Some say: Just enjoy 602. Don’t expect another big Mo-ment in October. Fine, you believe that. The greatest of the great in all sports will dispute it.

If the Yanks reach the point where they can shut the door on another season, Rivera will arrive, as he always has, like the dream of every pinstripe fan, but the final nightmare for those who must face the Yankees.

Exit light. Enter night. Yankees win. Yankees win." via BTF

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Monday, September 19, 2011


Mariano Rivera gets 602nd regular season save at Yankee Stadium

Rivera enters game v Twins, score 6-4, trying for 602, nydn, sipkin, #4 of 17

Rivera in the 9th of #602, v Twins, 9/19/11, Star-Ledger
Final score 6-4 v Twins. Fans cheer, Reuters
Rivera on the mound as fans cheer after 602, 9/19/11, reuters
With his youngest son, after 602, 9/18/11, AP

Rivera 602 scoreboard and stadium signs, 6/19/11, getty
Rivera as fans cheer after 602, 9/19/11, yahoo sports. You Tube video of Mo's final out on 9/19/11.
Rivera in the 9th v Twins for 602 regular season save, 9/19/11, AP

Rivera prepares to throw in the 9th, 9/19/11, getty

Rivera and two of his sons after 602 game, 9/19/11, ny times photo
Above Rivera with his wife and 2 of his 3 sons in dugout after 602 game, photo nydn, sipkin
Rivera, 9/19/11, ny times photo....9/20/11, "Then he was in the clubhouse, putting on his 602 T-shirt, walking across the middle of the room, somebody handing him a cell phone, 9/20/11, "Core Four becomes one at Yankee Stadium as Mariano Rivera sets MLB all-time career saves record," Mike Lupica, NY Daily News, item end of p. 2

9/20/11, "Rivera sets major league saves record," AFP


NY Post front page, 'Super Slo-Mo" souvenir poster of Mo inside, 9/21/11


Rivera enters, Sept. 19, 2011, getty

Above NYDN front/back wrap, 9/20/11.

Rivera sign at 602 saves, 9/19/11, photo NY Daily News, 9/20/11

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Rivera signs for fans in Toronto

Mariano signs for fans before 9/18/11 game in Toronto, reuters
Rivera in pre-game warmups in Toronto, 9/18/11. The Yankees lost 3-0 and Rivera did not pitch this day. reuters
Rivera pre-game in Toronto, 9/18/11, reuters

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Mariano Rivera in Toronto for #601

Rivera in the ninth in Toronto, #601, final 7-6, 9/17/11, ap

Rivera in the 9th of 601, Toronto, 9/17/11, getty, final 7-6
Rivera in 9th for 601, Arod seen at 3rd, 9/17/11, getty, final 7-6

Second of 3 batters Rivera faced, Brett Lawrie, breaks his bat, 9/17/11, final in Toronto, final 7-6, getty

Posada greets Mariano after game, 9/17/11, ap

Rivera is greeted by bullpen coach Mike Harkey, 9/17/11


9/17/11, "Rivera gets save 601, ties record as Yanks beat Jays," AP, via NY Post

"Rivera, whose wife and two youngest sons joined him in Toronto for the weekend, told the media hordes gathered around his locker
  • that he doesn't enjoy the spotlight of his record pursuit.
"I am uncomfortable because I don't have this much attention at all," he said, smiling. "I would like you guys to just leave it alone. That would be good."

Rivera, now in his 17th season in the big leagues, recorded his 600th save at Seattle on Tuesday.

"Mo is awesome," Rodriguez said. "You just run out of things to say about him. Every save he's had in his career meant something, and tonight was another example of that."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell called Rivera "the standard by which all are compared."

"If you're a fan of baseball and the game, you appreciate how good he is, how consistent he is," Farrell said.

The tying save came in Rivera's 60th appearance of the year, surpassing former Yankees teammate Mike Stanton



Larry Rothschild discusses Rivera using 'slide-step' recently, quickening his delivery to the plate

9/15/11, "Rivera recorded No. 600 Tuesday night in Seattle. That one and No. 599 also were fresh in Rothschild's mind, and not only because they just happened.

"The last two games he slide- steps to keep runners [close],'' Rothschild said, "and he gets a double play to end one game and gets a guy thrown out to end the next."

Rivera did it Sunday in Anaheim with Erick Aybar on first, inducing a double-play grounder from Howie Kendrick. On Tuesday, he slide-stepped with the speedy Ichiro Suzuki on first, and Russell Martin threw him out stealing in a bang-bang play.

"There's a lot of closers that aren't going to do that, especially guys with his success," Rothschild said of the slide step, which essentially is quickening the delivery to the plate. "And up until that point he has hardly slide-stepped this year. But he picked the two games where you needed to do it to get it done . . . and he did it.""...

9/15/11, "Rivera amazes pitching coach Rothschild," Newsday, Eric Boland

Mariano Rivera with feet up in the bullpen, 8th inning in Toronto, 9/16/11, Reuters. Toronto won 5-4, Rivera did not pitch.


Friday, September 16, 2011


Mark McGwire struck out swinging twice in one game v Mariano Rivera, 8/23/96

On 8/23/96, Oakland A's at Yankees, the win-save duo was Dwight Gooden (5 IP) and Mariano Rivera (2.1 IP) Jeff Nelson and Graeme Lloyd the bridge from Gooden to Rivera. Rivera entered in the 7th, score 4-3 Yankees, 2 outs, runner on 2nd, facing Mark McGwire who struck out swinging. Rivera continued in the 8th and 9th. His last batter in the 9th was McGwire who struck out swinging again. Final score 5-3 Yankees.

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Rivera ERA age 38-present, 1.74. K/BB in 2011, 8-1. In 8 All Star IP, no BB and no earned runs-Lopresti

9/16/11, "Mariano Rivera defines position of closer," USA Today, Mike Lopresti

"With the possible exception of Colonel Sanders and fried chicken, is there another face more synonymous with a product than Mariano Rivera?...

He didn't get as much attention this past week with his 600th save as Chad Ochocinco

But the statistics are loud enough. So never mind the champagne shower to mark the occasion, we come to pour Mariano facts and figures.

Twenty-five of 'em, through the close of business Thursday (9/15/11), with the help of Elias Sports Bureau. A Hall of Fame legacy painted by the numbers:

2.22 — Career ERA, second lowest in history for a pitcher with more than 1,000 innings, since the earned-run average became an official statistic in 1913. No. 1, by the way, is Eddie Cicotte, who was one of the Black Sox. And No. 4 is Babe Ruth.

1.74 — Rivera's earned-run averagesince he turned 38 years old. He's also converted 157 of 170 save chances.

2 — Postseason home runs he has allowed in 94 appearances, facing more than 500 batters.

1 — Pitch types he's needed to be often unhittable and absolutely unforgettable. The cut fastball. Batters know it's coming nearly 90% of the time and still can rarely do anything with it. You wonder why the Yankee catchers even bother to hide their signals. They might as well just hold up one finger.

7 — Complete games he threw as a minor league starter.

70-3 — The Yankees' extraordinary record in 1996 when leading after six innings. A key reason was Rivera's insertion as the set-up man for closer John Wetteland.

3 — Blown saves Rivera had in his first six chances in 1997, when the Yankees made him the closer.

89.3 — Career conversion rate in saves.

8-1 — Postseason record. The lone defeat was a whopper; Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against Arizona. In that ninth inning, he also had his only postseason error, throwing badly on a Diamondbacks' sacrifice bunt attempt.

0.71 — Postseason career ERA.

42 — Rivera's uniform number. He was already No. 42 when Major League Baseball retired the number throughout the game in honor of Jackie Robinson, so he is the only active player still wearing it.

42 — Rivera's postseason saves. He has blown four in the past 13 years. Two came back-to-back against Boston in 2004.

40-40 Club — Rivera is the only pitcher to ever save 40 games past the age of 40.

10 — Seasons with an ERA below 2.00.

6 — Seasons that opponents have hit less than .200 against him. Only twice in the past 14 years has it been higher than .225.

5 — Hits he's allowed in eight All-Star innings. Also no earned runs

1,037 Regular season appearances. In all those games, he's thrown 13 wild pitches, been called for three balks and committed six errors."...

"5.51 — Rivera's earned-run average in 1995, when he was a part-time starting pitcher.

11 — Home runs he allowed in 1995.

54 — Home runs he's allowed in the 16 seasons since.

0 — Hits he's gotten in six career at-bats, season and postseason.

4-1 — Career strikeout-to-walk ratio.

8-1 — Strikeout-to-walk ratio this season

19 — Age in which he had to escape a sinking fishing boat in his native Panama, which convinced him maybe another occupation would be nice.

1992 — Year in which he was coming off elbow surgery in the minor leagues and the Yankees left him unprotected in the expansion draft. He could have been a Colorado Rockie or Florida Marlin.

Imagine how life in the Bronx

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Rivera fan sign in Seattle for 600 regular season saves

Rivera earned 600th regular season save in 3-2 game v Seattle, bottom photo Mo ducks as Russell Martin throws out Ichiro trying to steal 2nd. Top fan sign ap, bottom getty. Arod quote from AP article, "Rivera gets 600th save in Yankees’ 3-2 win," AP, T. Booth

Rivera, Mark Teixeira, and Russell Martin after 9/13 game in Seattle, getty.

Above, Mo is greeted by Jeter and others, ap
Rivera gestures to his catcher Russell Martin who threw out Ichiro to end the game. getty

Rivera with Russell Martin after game, 9/13/11, ap
"“He’s a stand-alone” Yankees GM Brian Cashman told The Post. “No one is even close. He’s the biggest piece of the puzzle. He is a piece that could not have been replaced. No one in his profession can do what he has done and continues to do.”"...


9/13/11, "Keidel: Mariano Rivera: Mr. 600," Jason Keidel, CBS Local

"Buster Olney, former Yankees beat reporter for The New York Times, said there’s more separation between Rivera and the next best closer than there is between any other player at any other position in the history of team sports. ...

This may ruffle a few feathers, but I would argue that Rivera is the greatest pitcher in baseball history. Every game he enters is on the line, with each pitch a parcel toward a save or a blown save. History doesn’t favor Rivera because saves didn’t become a stat until 1969. But that’s not his fault. Mark Teixeira agrees. “I think we need to put Mo in that conversation,” he told The New York Times."...

From ESPN NY website, 9/14/11, "Mount Mo: Does Mariano Rivera belong on a Yankees Mount Rushmore? Buster Olney says yes." illustration from


Better stats to define Rivera are ERA+ and WHIP:

9/14/11, "Rivera's Greatness Not Limited to Saves," Wall St. Journal, Daniel Barbarisi

"The statistic that is most often associated with Mariano Rivera is the save, and this week, as he looks to claim his 600th and takes aim at the all-time record of 602, he'll be celebrated for all the saves he's earned. Saves tell a story, but a limited one. Created in the 1960s, it is earned when a pitcher throws an inning to finish a game with no more than a three-run lead; finishes a game with the tying run on base or on deck; or when a pitcher throws three innings to finish a game.

Some saves are meaningful, others are largely inconsequential, like when Texas's Wes Littleton "saved" a 30-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. Rivera has had many of both over his 17-year career.

But even all 600 don't begin to catalogue the greatness of Mariano Rivera. When Derek Jeter notched his 3,000th hit earlier this year, the fanfare was appropriate—

For Rivera, the save is not. For that, it takes other numbers to truly do justice to this unique pitcher—and to assess his rank among the greatest of all time....

But ERA is the yardstick for measuring pitchers, and no one in the game today has a better career ERA than Rivera's 2.22. In fact, no one in the last 90 years has an ERA even close to Rivera's. Rivera is 13th all-time in ERA, and none of the 12 pitchers ahead of him pitched after 1927. They come from a different time, when the ball was literally constructed differently. In the post-dead ball game, the next best pitcher by ERA is Hoyt Wilhelm, who

There are ways, however, to account for the differences across generations.

Partially to account for the disparity between the modern era and the dead-ball game, statisticians created a formula, ERA+, to measure how a pitcher fares across different time periods. A low ERA in a period when fewer runs were scored is worth less than a low ERA during the steroid years, for instance,

An ERA+ of 100 is considered average. Anything above that is good. Cy Young, for instance, has an ERA+ of 138.

However, no one is better than Rivera, who has an ERA+ of 204. No one else is even close. The next best figure, Pedro Martinez' 154, comes from another dominant pitcher in an offensive era. But no one can duplicate Rivera's astounding success.

It's generally argued that starters are more valuable than relievers because they log more innings, and must go through a lineup multiple times. That rings true to manager Joe Girardi, but he still sticks to the statement that Rivera is the best he's ever caught—and this is for a man who caught Roger Clemens, among others.

Another number is even more impressive.

The primary job of a pitcher is to keep runners off base. The fewer walks and hits they allow, the better. There's no simpler way to gauge this than by measuring walks and hits per innings pitched. And that number reflects Rivera's true dominance. He is third all-time in WHIP, allowing exactly one combined hit and walk per inning. There are only two pitchers better—

There are more. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is fifth best in baseball history. He's allowed fewer home runs per nine innings (0.48) than any active pitcher. Heck, his fielding percentage (.983) is ninth-best in history for a pitcher. ...

Saves will be what he is remembered for. But it's all the other numbers that make him


9/14/11, "Mariano Rivera's greatness incomparable as ageless Yankees closer gets 600th save," Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

"Because after everything we have seen from the Yankees in this generation, all the winning they have done since the winning really started with Joe Torre's Yankees in 1996,

Even now, as he gets to 600 and moves closer to the all-time record for saves, we know that nobody has ever seen anything like him. And those of us who have watched it all from Rivera, from the time he was the setup man to John Wetteland in 1996, are convinced that we never will.

He has lost something off his fastball. They all do eventually, even when they are the combination of grace and talent and excellence that Rivera has been for so long, over all the time when he has been the greatest money pitcher of them all, and the greatest Yankee pitcher, even pitching just the ninth inning.

You sit with him in front of his locker and ask him the difference now between his young self and his old self, and he smiles at you and points to his head and says, "Wisdom."

Most likely Jeter is the Yankee who will be remembered most for this time, because he has been the shortstop and the captain and the glamorous star of the team. And he sure did get all of his 3,000-plus hits for the Yankees. And he has been the face of the Yankees more than anybody else.

But you can see another Yankee getting to 3,000 someday, maybe even Robinson Cano. There will never be another Mariano Rivera, never be a power relief pitcher who goes for this long and this well, still pitching at the highest possible level as he approaches his 42nd birthday. There he was in Anaheim on Sunday afternoon, one more one-run game for him, coming in and getting the double play that ended the game and let the Yankees leave Southern California having gotten at least one game off the Angels.

He will turn 42 in November, the number on his back. He is the last active player in the big leagues wearing Jackie Robinson's number. When Rivera finally does retire, it will be one more number he takes with him.

You ask him about retirement, he gives you the same answer, every single time.

"No one will ever have to tell me when it is time to go," he says.

For now, he is not going anywhere. For now, he looks to be the Yankee closer who plays on six World Series champions, at least. One more time he wants to get the last out of a Series the way he did a couple of years ago

So many great players over the past 15 years, starting with Jeter. So many famous names. We had the Core Four: Jeter, Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte. And A-Rod, bless his heart. The greatest of all of them is Rivera. He has been Babe Ruth doing his job out of the bullpen, but doing that job with DiMaggio's grace. Six hundred saves and counting. A magic number for Mo, to go with the magic he has always brought to the ninth inning with his fastballs and cut fastballs and control.

After all this time, and even at a ridiculous age for a closer, we are still shocked when he doesn't do the job.

"It's why people still remember the times you messed up like it was yesterday," he says. "But I've always understood that comes with the job, because with my job there is never much margin for error."...

But mostly when the ball and the ninth inning have been in his hands, they have won, over all the years, that one year when he set up Wetteland and then when he became the greatest closer of all. He was that again Tuesday night. Six hundred saves for No. 42. Never another one like him, never in this world.


9/14/11, "There is no 'I' in team-oriented Mo," Newsday, Eric Boland

""The win," Rivera said. "That's the most important thing."

Or: "We need to win. We're in a pennant race and we need to finish this and hopefully get ready for the playoffs."

And simply: "We won."

Rivera did allow that setting the record would mean something to him. "The next one's the biggest," he said of 602, the save that would break the record.

But it's still hard to imagine his reaction after recording that historic save will differ much than what he gave after pulling within one of tying the record..

And, asked how the saves record might compare to any of the five rings he's won, Rivera needed no additional time in giving an answer.

"It's nothing compared to the World Series titles," said Rivera, who picked up his 41st save of the season Tuesday and lowered his ERA to 2.05. "Nothing compares. Definitely, you want to get that , but I like the World Series better."

Joe Girardi, who caught Rivera's first career save -- May 17, 1996 at the Stadium -- said before Wednesday night's's game he couldn't recall the pitcher ever speaking about anything relating to a personal accomplishment.

"I've never heard Mo talk about any individual achievements," Girardi said. "I think at some point when he's done, he'll sit back and reflect on it, but I would be surprised if you heard him talk much about it now.""... (subscription)



Sunday, September 11, 2011


Mariano Rivera in Anaheim 9/11/11

Rivera, top AP, middle with Austin Romine, AP, bottom getty. Final v LA Angels, 6-5 Yankees, getty.

Ceremonial first pitches in Anaheim to remember the 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks on America. 3 Yankee players from 2001 still playing today catch, Jeter, Rivera, Posada. LA Angels pictured on left, Jered Weaver, Torii Hunter, and Angels' Manager Mike Scioscia. getty, 9/11/11. Those making pitches had special connection to the day. I'll post their names when I find them. ed. Update, here's one: "During the pre-game ceremony Derek Jeter caught a ceremonial first pitch from retired NYFD Lieutenant Joe Torillo, a survivor of the World Trade Center attack."...
from The (Bergen) Record by Pete Caldera, last item in article.

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