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From BR Bullpen
(Mo, Sandman, Mr. Automatic, or Ultraman)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
 Biographical Information
Mariano Rivera is the all-time major league leader for saves. He also has a lifetime ERA of 2.21 giving him an ERA+ of 206 (through the end of 2012). No pitcher with 1,000 innings pitched and 100 decisions had ever achieved an ERA+ that high. Rivera passed the 1,000 inning mark in 2008, his 14th season in the major leagues. He has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees, who signed him as an amateur free agent in 1990.
He was mainly a starter in the minor leagues and during his first major league season in 1995. On June 26, 1995, while playing for the Columbus Clippers in the International League, he threw a five-inning perfect game against the Rochester Red Wings. However, his success in the majors has come as a reliever, after his conversion to the role in 1996. He served as the set-up man for John Wetteland when the Yankees won the World Series that year, then succeeded Wetteland as closer in 1997; he kept the job without interruption and tremndous success until being felled by a freak injury early in the 2012 season.
Rivera has appeared in 96 postseason games, with an ERA of 0.70. He has 42 postseason saves. Although he has never won the Cy Young Award, he has been in the top three four different times. The most similar pitchers are Trevor Hoffman (ERA+ of 141) and Lee Smith (ERA+ of 132). Both of them were also short relievers who spent a very long time as their team's closer and are next to Rivera on the all-time saves list.
Rivera has spent his whole career with the Yankees and been named to the All-Star team twelve times. He has five times won the American League Rolaids Relief Award. He has twice won the Delivery Man of the Year Award. He struck out 130 batters in 107 2/3 innings of relief in 1996 - the most by any Yankee reliever. He yielded only one home run that year - to Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles. In 2005, he went 22 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. Fittingly, he was the last pitcher ever used in Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008, closing out a 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles; he retired the side in order, getting Brian Roberts to ground out to first base in the last at-bat in the famed ballpark's history.
He is a cousin of Ruben Rivera. Through 2012, he is one of 48 major league players born in Panama. Although a reliever, Rivera is the all-time winningest pitcher born in Panama, having surpassed Juan Berenguer in 2008.
Rivera is the only player in the major leagues to wear uniform number 42. He wears it in tribute to Jackie Robinson and was allowed to keep on doing so when Commissioner Bud Selig retired the number across the league in 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Robinson's debut. Other players were also granted such a dispensation, such as Butch Huskey, but Rivera's career has outlasted them all. It is expected that when he retires, the Yankees will declare that number 42 is retired in honor of both Robinson and Rivera.
In 2009, Rivera saved an Andy Pettitte win for the 58th time, setting a new MLB mark; the old high had been held by Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley. On May 25, 2011, he made his 1000th career appearance. He became on the 15th pitcher to pitch in 1,000 games, and the first to do it with only one team. On September 13th, he recorded his 600th career save one year after Trevor Hoffman had been the first pitcher to reach the mark, putting him only one behind his all-time record. He quickly caught and passed Hoffman, taking over the all-time lead on September 19th when he saved his 602nd game in a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. He had also passed Hoffman for the all-time lead in games finished earlier that year.
Rivera seemed headed for another great season, defying his age, in 2012, when he suffered a freak injury during batting practice before the Yankees' May 3rd game against the Kansas City Royals. He twisted his knee while shagging fly balls and ruptured a ligament. He had to be carted off the field, his season - and possibly his career - over at age 42. He was 1-1, 2.18 and had saved 5 games in 9 appearances when the injury occurred. However, he immediately promised that he would not end this career in this disappointing way: "I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going out like this," he told reporters the next day. However, when doctors examined him the following week in preparation for surgery, they stated that they had found "unexpected complications", making it less likely that a recovery would be straightforward - if Rivera were to choose to undergo rehabilitation in order to attempt a comeback. The problem was revealed to be a blood clot in Rivera's right calf, for which he needed to take blood-thinning medication to allow it to dissolve, delaying surgery by a number of weeks. However, by mid-July, Rivera announced that his recovery was progressing ahead of schedule, and that he was still hoping to return before the end of the year. GM Brian Cashman was quick to throw cold water on that suggestion however, as he told the MLB network on July 24th: "He's not coming back this year and I wish he was, I wish he was, but unfortunately people get excited."
Still, Mariano was serious about not wanting to see his career end with a freak injury, and in early January in 2013, he announced that his knee was "95 percent" healed and that he would be ready for the start of spring training. However, he booked a press conference for March 10th, at which he announcedthat 2013 would be his final major league season. He was his old dominating self during spring training, though, and on April 4th, stepped on the field for his 19th season in a Yankees uniform, breaking the tie for most he had shared with Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter, who had yet to make his season's debut becasuse of an injury. He gave up a run but saved Pettitte's 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, the 69th time the two had joined their efforts in this manner, but the first time since 2010.
Mariano's amazing success has been built on mastering one pitch of absolutely devastating effectiveness, a cut fastball that batters will relentlessly hit for weak grounders, even when they know it is coming.
 Notable Achievements
- 12-time AL All-Star (1997, 1999-2002, 2004-2006 & 2008-2011)
- 4-time AL Reliever of the Year Award Winner (1997, 1999, 2001 & 2004)
- 5-time AL Rolaids Relief Award Winner: (1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 & 2009)
- 1999 World Series MVP
- 2003 ALCS MVP
- 3-time AL Saves Leader (1999, 2001 & 2004)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 14 (1997-2001 & 2003-2011)
- 40 Saves Seasons: 8 (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003-2005, 2009 & 2011)
- 50 Saves Seasons: 2 (2001 & 2004)
- Won five World Series with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2009)
 Records Held
- Saves, career, 608
- Saves, right-hander, career, 608
- Games finished, career, 892
- Games, AL, career, 1,051
- Relief appearances, AL, career, 1,041