Mariano Rivera is simply the best closer to ever play the game. He will undoubtedly surpass Trevor Hoffman, holding the record at 601, in career saves. That being said, Mariano is more than just a closer. Mariano Rivera is the definition of a clutch performer.
Born in 1969, the 41-year-old closer debuted for the New York Yankees on May 23, 1995. Nicknamed the “Sandman,” the Panama-born Rivera has dominated, not only the regular season, but his post-season statistics reflect pure superiority. Historically, he is the record-setter.
In 1999, 2001, and 2004 he compiled the most saves in the American League. In 1999 Rivera took home the World Series MVP. Among post-season saves, Rivera has 42 in 139.2 innings pitched. Granted, Mariano pitched for the Yankees who dominated the late 1990s and early 2000s. But his individual performance is dominance and skill beyond pitching on a good team.
The most impressive statistic in my opinion is Rivera’s post-season ERA. In 31 post-season series, Rivera compiled a 0.71 ERA. With the Yankees leading Boston by 4.5 games in the AL East, it is safe to say Rivera will continue his post-season career in 2011.
Just like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettite, I grew up watching Mariano. His dominant persona on the field seemingly contradicts his quiet demeanor off the field. Rivera is not one to show up other teams or players. He simply pitches. His professionalism is just as impressive as his pitching repertoire.
Congrats to Mariano Rivera on 600 saves.
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