WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – If I had to pick anyone to throw the Opening Day first pitch, I would want it to be Mariano Rivera, retired pitcher for the New York Yankees and 13-time All Star, five-time World Series winner.
I grew up in a family filled with Yankees fans and attended at least five Yankees games, all of them when Rivera was still pitching for the Yankees. Rivera resides in New Rochelle, a town in my county and has a car dealership, Rivera Toyota Scion dealership, where my uncle has seen him. He used to have a restaurant, Mo’s New York Grill, but it’s closed.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rivera was a key contributor to the Yankees’ success. He won five American League Rolaids Relief Man Awards and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards, and also finished in the top three in voting for the AL Cy Young Award four times.
He holds several postseason records, including lowest ERA (0.70) and most saves (42) and was named the 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the 2003 AL Championship Series MVP.
Within baseball, Rivera is considered one of the most dominant relievers in major league history. Throughout his career, he saved at least 25 games in 15 consecutive seasons and posted an ERA under 2.00 in 11 seasons, both of which are records. His career 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are the lowest among qualified pitchers.