Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Rivera fan sign in Seattle for 600 regular season saves
- Alex Rodriguez: "“Just to think, about every game Mariano has ever pitched has been a meaningful game,” Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. “Every one of those saves meant something.” 9/13/11
and Russell Martin after 9/13 game in Seattle, getty.
- Above, Mo is congratulated by team mates, getty.
to his catcher Russell Martin who threw out Ichiro to end the game. getty
with Russell Martin after game, 9/13/11, ap
- 9/14/11, "Sandman casts his magic spell," NY Post, Kevin Kernan
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 ESPNNY.com
Better stats to define Rivera are ERA+ and WHIP:
9/14/11, "Rivera's Greatness Not Limited to Saves," Wall St. Journal, Daniel Barbarisi
- "Is He the Best Modern Pitcher? Stats Make a Compelling Case"
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—
- the hit is the perfect stat to define Jeter.
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
- retired with a 2.52 career ERA in 1972.
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,
- when offense dominated and ERAs were high.
An ERA+ of 100 is considered average. Anything above that is good. Cy Young, for instance, has an ERA+ of 138.
- Tom Seaver has a 128.
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—
- Hall of Fame dead ballers Addie Joss and Ed Walsh.
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
- Rivera has been the greatest of all of them.
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.
- There have been other forms of social security like this in sports. Mo is ours."
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)
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