Thursday, October 24, 2013


Bud Selig says of Mariano Rivera, "Clearly unequivocally, he's the greatest relief pitcher of all time."

10/24/13, "Mariano Rivera gets World Series sendoff at Fenway," USA Today, Steve Gardner

Ortiz and Rivera
"The now-former New York Yankees closer who retired at the end of this season, was presented the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award for his contributions to the game.

Rivera's numbers are staggering – a record 652 career saves, a 0.70 postseason ERA and 13 All-Star games, including the All-Star MVP award this year.

"Clearly unequivocally, he's the greatest relief pitcher of all time, and did it in a way that was remarkable," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "All records we have said are made to be broken, but this is one that I'm very confident will stand the test of time."

Rivera also holds the distinction of being the last player to wear the No. 42 that was officially retired in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson. "And he wore it with great class," Selig added, calling Rivera "one of our great stars of this generation."" USA Today, Deutsch

10/24/13, "Mariano Rivera given Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award," Newsday, Erik Boland, Boston

"Mariano Rivera said he is "happy" in retirement, with no plans to pitch again. But the former Yankees closer, who before World Series Game 2 was presented the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, couldn't help but crack a joke.

"I'm going to give another shot in the National League," Rivera said, referencing his farewell tour in which he received gifts in each visiting stadium.

Rivera, 43, posted 44 saves this season, his 19th, to extend his record to 652. "Clearly, unequivocally, he's the greatest relief pitcher of all time," commissioner Bud Selig said.

He added, "He became the face of baseball for this generation. And he did it in a way with so much class and so much dignity and so much honor that it couldn't help but make me as the commissioner of baseball proud to think that one of our great stars of this generation represented the game so beautifully."

Rivera, given a standing ovation when honored on the field just before first pitch, smiled and said when early February comes around -- when pitchers and catchers report -- "I'm going to go as far as I can go to where people don't play baseball."

But he didn't rule out stopping by spring training. "If I'm in Tampa, I will take a little half an hour to an hour to say hi to the boys," he said. "Why not? I love them. And that's what I have done my whole career. So they won't be strangers for me."" photo above ap, Rivera acknowledges the crowd in Boston prior to World Series game 2.

10/24/13, Rivera at Fenway Park before World Series game 2, screen shot from blog which also has videos from the event. "Mariano Rivera Honored One Last Time In Boston [Video]," Luis Mercado

10/24/13, Rivera smiles after being acknowledged before World Series game 2 in Boston, ap



Bud Selig presents award to Mariano Rivera at World Series in Boston

10/24/13, "Mariano Rivera receives Commissioner's award at World Series,", Bryan Kilpatrick

"The Yankees legend is the 13th recipient of the award created by Bud Selig and MLB in 1998. Major League Baseball presented longtime New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award before Game 2 of the World Series Thursday at Fenway Park in Boston. Rivera is the 13th recipient of the award, which was created 15 years ago, and the first since Ken Griffey Jr. was honored in 2011. The Yankees' legendary closer recently completed his final big-league season, posting a 2.11 ERA and 44 saves in 2013.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig released a statement regarding the honoring of Rivera:
"Throughout his illustrious career, [Rivera] has represented his family, his country, the Yankees and all of Major League Baseball with the utmost class and dignity. It is wholly appropriate that Mariano was the last Major League player to wear Jackie Robinson's sacred number 42. I am pleased that our entire sport can pause on our greatest stage to thank him and his family for all of his contributions to our national pastime."
Rivera was initially honored at a press conference a little over an hour before the start of the game and later was joined by his wife and three sons, as well as Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, in a pregame presentation. He had the following to say about the award:
"I've been blessed. And it's an honor and a privilege to receive this award."
The 43-year-old native of Panama finished his 19-year career as MLB's all-time leader in saves (652), games. finished (952) and ERA+ (205)." photo via sbnation


Ed. note: The article mentions Rivera's regular season stats but leaves out his 141 postseason innings in which he achieved a .70 ERA. His work wasn't geared to the 'save' stat but he had 42 postseason 'saves.' He also had 8 wins. The 141 innings are the equivalent of two additional years of relief pitching @70IP per year, and were sandwiched within the 19 calendar years cited in the article. This work was done against the toughest competition, under the greatest pressure, and while others were resting on the couch in preparation for the next year's regular season stats.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Bud Selig to present Historic Achievement Award to Mariano Rivera before World Series game 2. Last recipient was Ken Griffey Jr. in 2011

10/23/13, "Bud Selig to give Mariano Rivera Historic Achievement Award before Game 2," Newsday, Erik Boland, Boston

"All season opposing teams paid tribute to Mariano Rivera. MLB commissioner Bud Selig will do so Thursday.

Before Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park, the 43-year-old Rivera, who retired this year after 19 seasons, will be honored during a pregame ceremony where he will be given the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. Rivera plans to attend along with his wife, Clara, and three sons, Mariano Jr., Jafet and Jaziel.

Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader with 652, recorded 44 saves with a 2.11 ERA in 64 games in his final season. Thursday night will mark the first time MLB has given the award since Ken Griffey Jr. received it in 2011. Past recipients are Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki, Roberto Clemente, Rickey Henderson, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Rachel Robinson."


Ed. note: The article mentions Rivera's regular season stats but leaves out his 141 postseason innings in which he achieved a .70 ERA. His work wasn't geared to the 'save' stat but he had 42 postseason 'saves.' He also had 8 wins. The 141 innings are the equivalent of two additional years of relief pitching @70IP per year, and were sandwiched within the 19 calendar years cited in the article. This work was done against the toughest competition, under the greatest pressure, and while others were resting on the couch in preparation for the next year's regular season stats.


Sunday, October 13, 2013


Mariano Rivera in one more October showcase, 90 minute documentary, October 20, 2013 on Fox, 'Being Mariano Rivera,' an MLB production

10/11/13, "Mariano will still get an October showcase," Keith Groller,, Lehigh Valley

"The farewell tour of Mariano Rivera was certainly one of the biggest stories of the 2013 baseball season and his last game at Yankee Stadium featuring the special pitching change with Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte was the best moment of this year, and many other Yankee fans may feel a huge void this October with the team not making the playoffs.

However, there will be a special, 90-minute documentary on Mariano that will help ease the sting. It will debut on Fox on Oct. 20, (4:30pm) preceding what could be Game 7 of the ALCS.Rivera_and_Ortiz_lunch_MS It will be shown again two days later on Fox Sports 1.

It's called "Being: Mariano Rivera" and it's considered the definitive documentary on the final season of baseball's greatest relief pitcher. This is the documentary that had unprecedented access to Rivera starting with spring training and following him through the end of the season.


It figures to be a special presentation for baseball fans in general, Yankee fans in particular.
Highlights, as spelled out in a Fox Sports release, include:
**A late August fishing trip with Andy Pettitte, Mariano and Rivera's sons.
**A private lunch with David Ortiz where the two longtime rivals bury the hatchet.
**An Oldtimers Day encounter with Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford.
Rivera_and_Yogi**A special, inside look at how he felt during the Mariano Rivera Day festivities on the second last Sunday of the season.

This is a MLB production, and perhaps it will be turned into a DVD that will be on the Christmas list of lots of Yankee fans."

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Detroit Tiger Victor Martinez says Balfour's no Mariano Rivera

10/7/13, "Martinez: Balfour is no Mariano Rivera,", WJBK

Victor Martinez
"Detroit struggled on the mound, at the plate and in the field during a 6-3 loss Monday that left the Tigers trailing 2-1 in the best-of-five AL division series.

But the game would not be complete without a bench-clearing, heated exchange between Victor Martinez and A's closer Grant Balfour in the ninth inning.

Balfour said something that apparently did not sit right with up-to-bat Martinez, and the tempers started flaring. The two closed in on each other, staring each other down, and teammates ran off the bench and out of the bullpen to back up their guys.

Here's what Martinez has to say about what happened: "I just fouled a pitch off. I was looking at [Balfour] and he told me, 'What the *** am I looking?' And I was like ... [scoffs] ... Not even the greatest closer, that's Mariano, tell you stuff like that. And I'm not a rookie too, that he's going to come and intimidate me with little *** like that."...

The Tigers go against the A's again tomorrow for Game Four at Comerica Park, beginning at 2:07 PM (PT) on TBS."


42 best GIF's of #42 Mariano Rivera

10/8/13, "The 42 best GIFs of number 42, Mariano Rivera," Pinstriped Bible, Andrew Mearns

Well, crap. Rivera pitched in the Yankees' organization for my entire life. J.R. Murphy's life. Mike Trout's life. There have been so many terrific memories associated with Rivera that it can be difficult putting them all together. Nevertheless, I have made an attempt by creating my top 42 favorite Mo GIFs. It's been a long journey since 1995."...


Monday, October 07, 2013


Rivera paved the way for closers like Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman-The Crimson White

10/7/13, "Mariano Rivera: leader of the reliever revolution, The Crimson White, University of Alabama, Lewis Dehope

"In an age where it is common for every Major League Baseball active roster to include six to seven relief pitchers comprised of middle relievers, long relievers, left-hand specialists, set up men and closers, it’s hard to imagine a time where specialized relief pitching was the exception, not the rule.

Yet, in reality, this was the case not long ago.

Becoming a reliever used to be a last resort for starters who were losing their edge.

Notable cases of this would include Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz. Eckersley was past his prime when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1987, and manager Tony La Russa intended to move him to the bullpen. The lowered stress on his arm proved incredibly beneficial to Eckersley, who revitalized his career and would be an effective closer for 12 years and later a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Smoltz was assigned to relief duty after undergoing Tommy John surgery 12 years into his pitching career. He closed for three years and was dominant but returned to his starting job once it was determined he was ready, and he never looked back.

Both of these men made strides in proving the value of quality relief pitching, but moving to the bullpen was still looked upon as an action of necessity. That is, until Mariano Rivera came along.

The New York Yankees saw untapped potential in Rivera and signed him on Feb. 17, 1990. He was initially intended to be a starting pitcher, as was the trend for top prospects when he was making his way through the minor leagues. Although, as the competition stiffened in his rise up the ladder of minor league baseball, he became less and less effective as a starter.

Rivera started 10 games for the Yankees in his rookie campaign in the major leagues. In those 10 contests, he compiled a 3-3 record with a 5.94 earned run average and .306 batting average against him, pedestrian at best.

Rivera lost his starting job for the remainder of the year after those 10 appearances, but then something interesting happened. He spent the offseason adjusting to his new role as a reliever and made a spectacular comeback in his sophomore season. He finished at 8-3 with a 2.09 ERA and a startling .189 batting average against, excellent marks for any pitcher but especially a relief man in 1996.

Rivera would go on to prove that this was no fluke. Over his 18-year career as a reliever, he finished the year with an ERA greater than three only once, in 2007 when he recorded a 3.15, an almost incomprehensible feat. He was not only valuable to the Yankees, however. He showed the baseball world what was capable of specialized relief pitching.

The recently retired Rivera will be remembered for being more than a great ambassador of the game, he will be remembered as a great innovator of the game. He paved the way for young superstar closers like Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, and he will rightfully take his place alongside the other titans of the sport in Cooperstown, right where he belongs."


Thursday, October 03, 2013


Rivera regular season WHIP is 1.0003, postseason WHIP is .759 in 141IP

10/3/13, "Postscript on Rivera, Almost the 1.0000 and Only," NY Times Bats blog, by Jay Schreiber

"In the end, Mariano Rivera pitched 1,283.2 innings and gave up 1,284 hits and walks combined. In other words, if Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte had not gone out to the mound last week so they could dramatically remove Rivera from his final game as a Yankee, the greatest reliever in the history of baseball might have finished with an immaculate WHIP measurement of 1.0000.

Pettitte and Jeter showed up on the mound with one out to go in the top of the ninth last Thursday, precipitating a moving scene in which Rivera wept on Pettitte’s shoulder while the Yankee Stadium crowd roared. Then Rivera departed, with the little-known Yankee Matt Daley recording the final out by striking out Ben Zobrist.

In other circumstances that would have been Rivera’s out, and he would have finished his career with a WHIP as sublime as his cutter. As it was, his WHIP — walks and hits divided by innings pitched — came out to 1.0003, which, in the record books, will often be rounded to 1.000 anyway. But 1.0000, of course, is just a little bit better.

Not surprisingly, Rivera’s numbers put him near the top of the career WHIP list of pitchers, dating to the 1800s, who pitched at least 1,000 innings in the major leagues. At the top of the list, according to, is Addie Joss (1902-10), with a WHIP of 0.968, and Ed Walsh (1904-17), whose WHIP of .9996 just edges Rivera’s....

WHIP is a relative newcomer to baseball statistics, having been conceived in 1979 by the writer and editor Daniel Okrent. It has increasingly become a standard measurement in discussing the effectiveness of various pitchers, and might be best equated to a hitter’s on-base percentage.

But not everyone knows what WHIP is, including Rivera. Joshua Prager, who wrote an article about Rivera and his astounding WHIP numbers in The New York Times in June, said that the pitcher was not familiar with WHIP when asked about it and that he was mindful of only runs, not runners.
“I just attack the hitters,’’ he told Prager. “I got to get three outs.’’

Of course, other measurements besides WHIP, and his record number of saves, speak to Rivera’s greatness. His career earned run average is 2.21. His postseason E.R.A. is an impossible-to-believe 0.70 over 141 innings. In 96 postseason games he gave up exactly two home runs.

And, for that matter, his postseason WHIP is 0.759. In other words, over 19 seasons, no one did it better. Too bad there wasn’t one more out along the way."


Wednesday, October 02, 2013


Kansas City Chiefs offense said like 'the Mariano Rivera of football,' protecting 2nd half leads of 10 pts. or fewer in each of last 3 games

10/2/13, "Chiefs' offense has closed the door on opponents," Kansas City Star, Terez A. Taylor

"You could make a comparison that the Chiefs' offense so far has been the Mariano Rivera of football. 

While the Chiefs' defense has received the majority of the headlines during the team's 4-0 start, the offense has mimicked Rivera, the future Hall of Fame baseball closer. The Chiefs have protected second-half leads of 10 points or fewer in each of their last three games with crucial, time-killing scoring drives.

That includes the Chiefs' 31-7 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, despite the misleading final score. The Chiefs led 17-7 early in the fourth quarter and effectively put the game away with a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive that chewed 9 minutes and 17 seconds off the clock....

"We're executing better I think, and we're running the ball better in the fourth quarter," Smith said. "That's been consistent the last three weeks, moving the line . . . I think it really opens up some stuff outside."...

Reid said his team began laying the foundation for strong finishes in the offseason, when it employed a training regimen that has allowed his players to stay sharp in the fourth quarter, almost like a vintage Rivera cutter."...


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Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Rivera and his cut fastball, 'the most dominant pitch of all time,' says Rob Neyer on NPR

9/30/13, "Yankees Say Goodbye To Rivera And His Cut Fastball," NPR, Mike Pesca


OK, the baseball post-season is not quite settled. The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays will fight for the final playoff spot in a game tonight. The post-season of the New York Yankees is settled: There is not one. The Yankees failed to make it into the playoffs for only the second time in the last 19 years. And that means one of the most successful careers in baseball history has ended. Mariano Rivera has officially pitched his last game. And with that exit, NPR's Mike Pesca has this remembrance of his signature pitch: the cut fastball.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Poignant, professional and poised: These are the words of praise that have been laid at the feat of one of the game's greats. And Mariano Rivera earned those words. There is another set of adjectives that likewise obtain: Feared, devastating and nigh-un-hitable. Those words apply not just to pitcher, but to pitch.

ROB NEYER: I think it's the most dominant pitch of all time.

PESCA: Rob Neyer is co-author of the "Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers" and the baseball editor of SB Nation. He ranks Mariano Rivera's cut fastball - or cutter - above, say, Nolan Ryan's fastball or Sandy Koufax's curve for one reason: like a finely marbled steak, it needs no accompaniment.
Every hitter knew the cut fastball was coming, knew it traveled about 93 miles an hour, knew it was indistinguishable from a fastball until it seemed to break a bit to the right at the last second, and knew he had almost no chance of hitting it. Here's Rivera breaking the saves record as called by Michael Kay of the YES Network.


MICHAEL KAY: Strike three, ball game over, Yankees win. And it's perfect, because the greatest closer in history now has the most saves in history.

PESCA: Rivera was a fine pitcher before he even acquired the cutter. His first save attempt came in 1996, before the cutter was even born.


JOHN STERLING: Well, here's the Yankees' secret weapon, ready to close a game. Mariano Rivera comes in. We'll give you his numbers and, boy, they're about as good as you'd ever want a pitcher's numbers to be. He's 3-and-0, and he's been spectacular.

PESCA: There you heard Yankee Radio announcer John Sterling refer to Rivera's spectacular numbers. Rivera was, even then, a great set-up man. But soon, he would acquire one of the most lethal weapons the game has ever seen. Rivera developed the cutter by raw luck. He was playing catch, and found if he held the ball in a certain way, it had this late break. Huh. He relied on the pitch on the way to 13 All-Star Game appearances, five World Series victories, and certain entry into Cooperstown.


PESCA: These cheers that Yankee Stadium rained down on Rivera in his last appearance on Thursday in the valedictory lap around so many parks in baseball. That is all eulogy for the man. But for the pitch, it is a sadly tinged elegy.
Rob Neyer.

NEYER: We've never seen a cutter than good, and we might never see another one. Because it seems to be some sort of freak of nature that sprung from his body, his arm, and apparently, it can't be taught.

PESCA: Sports are supposed to be meritocratic - well, meritocratic among those blessed with unbelievable size, strength and arm speed. As Yogi Berra once said, baseball's 90 percent mental, the other half physical.

The cutter explodes the Berra Equation. Call it luck, alchemy or providence, but there was an otherworldly element to the Rivera Cut Fastball. It seared through the Major Leagues, through hundreds of bats, and through page after page of the record books from 1997 through 2013. As almost every hitter of this generation can tell you: It will be missed.
Mike Pesca, NPR News, New York."

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