Famous Baseball Players
Mariano Rivera (born November 29, 1969 in Panama City, Panama) is a relief pitcher for Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. He has the 4th most regular season career saves in Major League history, is the American League career leader, and has won 4 World Series titles with the Yankees. He is the all-time Major League postseason leader in saves and ERA. Nicknamed "Mo", Rivera is frequently referred to as the greatest postseason relief pitcher of all time
and is often considered to be the greatest closer in baseball history.
Rivera's year started out on a low note, as he blew his first 2 saves of the season against the Red Sox (marking 4 consecutive blown saves against Boston dating back to the previous postseason), prompting some people in the baseball world to question whether Rivera was a dominant pitcher anymore. Rivera was subsequently cheered by Red Sox fans during pre-game introductions at Fenway Park the following week as recognition for his four consecutive blown saves against Boston (dating back to the previous postseason). Rivera took the ovation with a good sense of humor and tipped his cap to the crowd.
He would end up having the last laugh, as 2005 proved to be the greatest year of his already illustrious career. His performance over the season helped the Yankees win an 8th consecutive AL East title. He converted 31 consecutive save opportunities, a career record that spanned four months. He had 43 saves in 47 opportunities, a 1.38 ERA (a career low), a 0.87 WHIP (a career low), a batting average against of .177 (the 2nd best mark of his career), an OPS against of .465 (a career low), a strikeout-to-walk of 4.44, and a K/9 of 9.19 (second best mark of his career as a closer). He finished second in the race for the Cy Young Award to Bartolo Colon and ninth in the Most Valuable Player voting in the American League. He also notched the save in the 2005 All-Star Game.
April was a rough patch for Rivera, as he posted a 3.72 ERA, a blown save, and 2 losses for the month, with batters hitting .272 off him. However, Rivera rebounded as spring turned into summer, and made his third consecutive All-Star Team, with a 1.76 ERA, 19 saves in 21 opportunities, and a 0.91 WHIP going into the break. Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen announced in advance that he would use Rivera to close the All-Star Game, a compliment considering Guillen's closer for the White Sox, Bobby Jenks, also made the team. Mo ended up saving the game for the AL in a comeback victory against National League closer Trevor Hoffman. The save was Rivera's third in an All-Star Game, making him and Dennis Eckersley the only 2 pitchers to reach the milestone.
On July 16, 2006, Rivera became the 4th player in Major League history to record 400 saves, converting a 2-inning save against the White Sox.
At the beginning of September, Rivera was sidelined with an elbow strain in his throwing arm. With the Yankees leading the Red Sox in the AL East divisional race by a large margin, the team decided to rest him for most of September. Rivera finished the 2006 season with 34 saves in 37 opportunities and an ERA of 1.80, the fourth consecutive season he posted a sub-2.00 ERA. Although he was well-rested for the postseason for the first time in years, the Yankees were unable to advance past the first round. He pitched just one inning against Detroit, in a non-save situation.
During the regular season, Rivera finished enough games to earn the option for a 3rd year on his contract, which now expires after the 2007 season. His performance in 2006 also won him the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award for a 2nd consecutive season.