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Photo Credit: New York Post

Baseball

One Mo Time; Rivera enters Hall with help from friends

Mariano Rivera, who is known as the best closer in baseball, received his honor in Cooperstown Sunday afternoon with some familiar faces to support him.

Yankee greats Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Tino Martinez were in the audience to see their friend and former teammate get inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Bernie Williams was also there to play the National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the ceremony. Williams gave a tribute to Rivera during the latter performance, by playing the beginning of “Enter Sandman”, Rivera’s entrance song during his playing career.

Rivera referred to the order of speeches in the opening, as he essentially fulfilled the same duty he had in his career.  In Sunday’s speech however, it was his speech that came last. Rivera noted this by stating “First of all, I don’t understand why I always have to be the last. I [kept] saying that for the last 20 years. Last 17 years of my career, I always [said], ‘Why [do] I have to be the last one? I guess being the last one is special.” Rivera proved that in his case, being last is “special” throughout his career, by garnering 652 career saves, 13 All-Star appearances, and 5 World Series championships.

He also spoke about his baseball career, and how he came to the United States from Panama without knowing how to speak English. Although it was a struggle for him at first, he was able to learn English from a teammate and his family. Another challenge Rivera faced was when he initially was called up to the Yankees in 1995, as a starter. He did not fare well and was sent down with Derek Jeter, who was also a recent callup. Rivera later mentioned how he was named the closer before the 1997 season and developed his cutter, accidentally, which turned out to be his most effective pitch.

Rivera reflected on his career and closed the ceremony, as he did in the ninth inning.  It was a moment that could only be scripted in a movie, and the perfect ending to the perfect closer’s career.  Mariano Rivera will go down as the best closer in baseball history, and on Sunday he closed it out one last time.

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