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No. 42 retired forever in a touching Mariano Rivera pregame tribute Sunday at Yankee Stadium

Sep 22, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT

mariano rivera 42 getty Getty Images

It’s Mariano Rivera Day at Yankee Stadium and the pregame tribute to the retiring Hall of Fame-bound closer could not have been cooler. Where to start?

Rivera got a big batch of gifts from the Yankees and the visiting San Francisco Giants, including another rocking chair made of bats, a crystal replica of his glove, a custom-designed guitar signed by Giants legend Willie Mays and a $100,000 check for the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Metallica played a live rendition of Mo’s walk-in song “Enter Sandman” and then gifted him a custom amp with his number on it.

Rivera also helped Rachel Robinson, the wife of Jackie Robinson, and her daughter Sharon, unveil a massive new No. 42 plaque at Monument Park.

No major leaguer will ever wear that number again once Mo throws the final pitch of his career.

“Thank you for 19 years of support,” Rivera told the emotional sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium in a short-but-sweet speech. “It has been a great run, guys. You guys have been amazing. And you always have been here, for me and for the organization. And I will never forget that. You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York. And you have taken me in like one of you guys. And I do appreciate that.”

Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, David Cone, John Wetteland and Jeff Nelson were among the baseball luminaries on hand. Joe Torre was also on-field for the ceremony.

Here’s a great photo of Mo walking in to the live playing of “Enter Sandman” from MLB Productions:


  1. olvera32066 - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    I keep refreshing to see the correction on the headline on the front page….and nothing…..lame !!!!!


    • Drew Silva - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Where’s the typo?

      • danwilliamsmlb - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        It’s probably his nap time; he’ll get back to you later.

      • ghx123 - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        The front page of originally referred to Mo as a “retiring slugger”. It’s fixed now.

  2. danwilliamsmlb - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Stay strong. I realize that this is a major catastrophe which will probably lead to food rationing and looting across the country, but all we can do is wait and hope they correct that headline so you will be able to sleep tonight.

  3. twenty1miles - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Gonna miss the GOAT.

  4. daveitsgood - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    When you say retired forever, you mean until the next Jackie Robinson day next season when they unretire it for the day for whomever to wear, yes?

    • dondada10 - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      They don’t un-retire it. They wear it as a tribute to Jackie Robinson. And I know you know that. So people just look for things to bitch about.

  5. ireportyoudecide - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Seems like a bit of a overkill for a situational player. The best closer in the game has less value then a good #4 starter. I’m sure he’s a great person, but seriously he’s a closer who at most pitches 2 innings a game.

    • Mark - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Today might not be the best day to get into the value of a closer.

      • Old Gator - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        What kind of day should one choose to demonstrate one’s abject idiocy?

      • ireportyoudecide - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:21 PM

        There’s a reson the Reds try to move Chapman to a starter every year. If a closer was so important the Tigers would move Scherzer, Verlander, or Sanchez to that spot. Why don’t they, because that would be stupid. Even if you knew Verlander would have an ERA of 0.00 with 63 innings pitched a year he would still have less value a closer then he currently does as a starter with an ERA over 3.50.

    • cktai - Sep 23, 2013 at 5:32 AM

      Depends on what you define as valuable. Although today’s restricted use of closers is questionable, there is no doubt that they are usually called in to pitch in high leverage situations. A run saved in the ninth of a close game is more “valuable” than a run saved in the first inning, as it has a larger effect on the win probability of a team. It is hardly surprising then, that 6 out of the top 10 pitchers and 15 out of the top 30 pitchers in WPA are relievers.

      Even when you restrict yourself to WAR, than it is still ignorant to say that the best closer in the game always has less value than a good #4 starter. Koji Uehara is 31st in fWAR and 15th in bWAR. That places him in firm ace territory for most teams. Only the Tigers have enough depth to have 4 SP with more WAR. Greg Holland is 27th in bWAR and 39th in fWAR, Joe Nathan is 25th in bWAR and 65th in fWAR. Furthermore Mariano Rivera’s career 56.3 bWAR is a lot more than Jack Morris’ 43.8. And remember how Roy Oswalt at 4th would make the Phillies the best pitching squad ever? He is at only 50 career bWAR. These were better than your average “good 4th starter” and yet Rivera has them beat.

      People often overstate the importance of closers. A good starter is usually more valuable than a great closer, but there are exceptions, and Rivera, more often than not, was one of those exceptions.

  6. indaburg - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Beautiful picture, and it sounds like a fitting tribute to one of the all time greats. Mariano is not just one of the best, but also a wonderful humanitarian. He’ll be missed (and I am NO Yankees fan).

    • historiophiliac - Sep 23, 2013 at 7:56 AM

      ABBOY + Mo!

  7. proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    That was cute. I am sure that the Red Sox deserve equal time as they unveiled their statue of Yaz today. Yaz is in the HOF after all.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Rivera was magnificent n defeat today. He came in during the 8th inning with 1 out and the Yankees down by 2 to 1. He held SF scoreless in the 8th and 9th, however SF won by 2 to 1. Tamp Bay and Cleveland have won their games. NY and Baltimore have lost Texas and KC are scoreless in extra innings.(Royals are threatening) As far as the Yankees and Baltimore are concerned, the fat lady is warming up her vocal chords.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      The Yankees are on life support; however, it has been a great season for them, given the injuries. The Royals beat Texas in 10 moving them ahead of the Yankees. I am sure there will be a separate thread about the 2 out full count slam that won it.

      • Old Gator - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        Yeah, my friends at the J. B. Rhine institute tell me that the Theta waves on the machine that goes peeeeeng! indicate what a great time patients in drug-induced comas on life support must be having in their dreams.

      • vivabear - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:34 AM

        Gator – you are a fucking dipshit. You need to go away. The comments section here would be much better sans your inane bullshit ramblings.

      • Old Gator - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:43 AM

        Whatsamatter wittoo vivabore, you got out of bed this morning and stepped in dog poo poo? My making you look stupid and illiterate every time you come on here to attack me like a rabid shihtzu finally boring high-voltage holes in your bile duct? Once again, I implore you – don’t blame me because you can’t understand my posts. They’re internally coherent and rich with allusiveness. The problem is your stupidity and lack of comprehension.

      • vivabear - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        Why would I be getting out of bed at 12:34 am? Again, you proving how much of a fuck up you are.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:48 AM

        Kindly cease being a foul mouthed brat.

      • Old Gator - Sep 23, 2013 at 9:04 AM

        I don’t know, vivabore. Maybe you were just lying there staring at the ceiling in the dark, gritting your teeth, fighting back with all your enfeebled powers of denial thinking about that Tweeter-for-Garza trade thaat for some weird reason you don’t want to admit nearly happened a couple of years ago, until the wall crumbled and like a cluster of swamp farts your anterior cortex was overpowered by voices of frustration and biliousness at not knowing what the J B Rhine institute was, getting more and more upset at yourself because that mean Old Gator does know about something when you don’t – yet again – and one of those little voices was pointing out to you that you should know it and mocking you for being such a hopeless ignoramus, until you just couldn’t stand it anymore, and at 12:34 AM you finally got out of bed, stepped in the aforementioned doggie poo poo, and, even further enraged, sat down at your computer and diddled out your little screed.

        However, I want you to know that I still think you’re adawwable.

      • Old Gator - Sep 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        @PC – don’t just sit there telling our poor petulant vivabore what not to be. Offer him alternatives.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 23, 2013 at 9:12 AM

        Perhaps a choirboy, a burger flipper at Burger King or most appropriately a Walmart greeter.

      • vivabear - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        PC – so you’re telling me you don’t like when I use foul language in my posts? And you want me to stop. There’s many readers who hate Gator’s irrelevant posts; and want him to stop. On some level, we can definitely emphathize with you.

        Gator’s holier than thou attitude is very annoying and tiresome. Based on your burger king/walmart greeter post – maybe you have the same tendency, PC? You think you can look down on people who work jobs such as those?

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        There was no reason for you to be rude or to use an obscenity. If you do not like what Old Gator writes, just ignore it.

      • vivabear - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        not to be a dick, but you do the same – if you don’t like obscenities; ignore them.

        I have enough reason to be rude to Gator; he deserves it.

      • Old Gator - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        @PC – when he’s right, he’s right. I’ve made poor ignorant dimwitted vivabore look stupid, ignorant and semi-literate so many times that he’s past the point where he can control his frustration and resentment any more. His inability to tell the difference between a style he resents (because it makes demands on his ignorance that his ignorance can’t meet) and his own gratuitous urban gutter trash vulgarity, which is all he’s got for a style of his own, is the real problem; his resort to juvenile, lowlife response is just the symptom.

      • Old Gator - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        PS – but even so, I still think he’s just so cute. Must be that furry little tail from which he hangs.

  8. theskinsman - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    There goes( in a few days) the Yankee I liked best. Great career,Mo. You know you’ve played forever when the band playing your song looks 60 ish.

  9. ken49ers - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Great player and all, but what’s up with this royalty treatment?

  10. newpairofsox - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Thank you Mo. Half my life you made the Sox Yankees rivalry something to behold.

  11. righthereisay - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    No major leaguer will ever wear that number again once Mo throws the final pitch of his career.

    I would assume you meant no Yankee.

    • sportsfan18 - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      No, the author is correct…

      NO major league player will ever again wear #42.

    • apmn - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      The number is being retired by MLB to honor Jackie Robinson. Mo just happens to be the last to wear it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        The number was already retired by MLB in 1997. Mo is grandfathered in because he was wearing it before the retirement via MLB.

  12. ch0psuey - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    *FLAG* Excessive Celebration

  13. mikeinthevine - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    I’ve been a devout Yankee hater most of my life. Mostly because they’ve beat my Indians like a drum for most of that time, but baseball will be poorer for Mariano’s retirement. This guy oozes class. You never heard anyone say anything bad about him. He was never involved in any kind of BS. He never showed anyone up. He was just the premier closer for most of his career. Enjoy your retirement Mariano. Thanks for the memories.

  14. josemartez - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Really cool tribute. It’s too bad that he’s done after this year, but he’s one helluva career. I hope he ends up being the first unanimous Hall of Famer.

    Only issue: what’s with the former Yankees holding their dumb phones up to their face recording it the whole time? Just take the experience in and enjoy it.

  15. aceshigh11 - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    If that photo doesn’t give you chills, you’ve got no soul.

  16. billysabre - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Classy tribute. The greatest closer and more valuable than any #4 starter.

    • ireportyoudecide - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      career WAR of 56.3, same as Johnny Damon and below John Olerud. Closers just are not that valueable. Only reason it’s even that high is becuase he has played so many years. And no a closer is not more important then a #4 starter.

      • hockeyflow33 - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        Your ridiculous use of stats goes to show that you can make numbers prove anything. Sports are about a whole lot more than numbers and if you think this guy wasn’t unreal for almost his whole career, you’re either stupid, or trolling.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Your ridiculous use of stats goes to show that you can make numbers prove anything.

        No, it proves it’s a bad use of stats. There’s probably no other closer who comes close to Mo’s 56.5 rWAR (Trevor Hoffman is only about 200 IP behind Mo, and has half the rWAR. Eck only has about 17 rWAR from his time as a reliever). However, I’m with Tango on this. Why do we not include postseason information when discussing people?

        Mo has 56.5 rWAR in the regular season, posting a 2.21 ERA (205 ERA+) over 1282.1 IP (roughly 0.044 rWAR/IP). Let’s add in the postseason of 141 IP at 0.70 ERA(!). Just using that crude math, he’s now at (56.5 + 6.2) 61.7. That’s ridiculous for a reliever. But as Tango notes*, postseason exploits are usually against tougher competition in harsher climates, so maybe we should double or triple that postseason rWAR? Now we’re looking at 68.9 rWAR or possibly 75.1. Those numbers dont even factor in that he has a better K/BB ratio in the posteason nor that he gives up even fewer HR or H/9. So the number would be even higher.

        A pitcher who spent his entire career as a reliever topping 80rWAR? Never happen again unless someone pitches into his 50s or 60s.

  17. henrymolyneux - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    I build $82h whereas i am traveling the planet. Last week I worked by my laptop computer in Rome, Monti Carlo and at last Parisâ?¦This week i am back within the USA. All I do square measure simple tasks from this one cool web site.go to this site home tab for more detail …. http:\\­x­u­ℛ

  18. shaggylocks - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Once they retired #42 MLB-wide, I thought players who were wearing #42 at the time could choose to continue wearing it with the understanding that they could never have their number retired in their home ballpark. I always assumed the Yankees would therefore have to honor him without retiring his already-retired number, perhaps with a “Mo” plaque similar to the “Shea” plaque at Citi Field. So I’m a little surprised they unveiled a “42” plaque with pinstripes. Did I completely misremember this provision of the grandfather clause, or is baseball just ignoring it for Mo?

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