Rangers honor Yankees closer Mariano Rivera

Posted Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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With his walk-up song, Metallica’s Enter Sandman, playing over the Ballpark’s speakers, Mariano Rivera received a standing ovation as he was honored by the Texas Rangers before Thursday’s game.

Hours later, the legendary closer picked up another save in the Yankees’ 2-0 victory, giving him a record 641 for his career.

During the pregame ceremony, Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan presented Rivera with a $5,000 check to benefit his foundation, which educates underprivileged Panamanian children how to use computers. John Wetteland, the former Rangers’ closer and one-time teammate of Rivera, also participated in the ceremony.

Rivera and Wetteland hugged and exchanged words before Rivera took the field. They played two seasons together and won a World Series in 1996.

“If you look back in retrospect it becomes clear to why we’re standing here so many years later,” Wetteland said. “He’s far and away the greatest closer that ever lived. What I’m amazed at is how his body has held up. There are a special few with the ability to just keep going.”

Rivera called Wetteland his mentor.

“He didn’t hesitate to come here for me,” Rivera said. “We talked about all those old times. Overall, it was great.”

Wetteland’s best advice?

“Don’t get beaten with your third-best pitch,” Rivera said. “Always go with your best pitch.”

Closer Joe Nathan gave Rivera two Texas-themed presents: a cowboy hat and leather boots, emblazoned with the Yankees’ logo and Rivera’s No. 42.

“I’m just fortunate to be a part of the Rangers honoring him,” Nathan said. “He’s one of the greatest to ever do it. He’s a class act.”

Nathan and Rivera pitched together at the All-Star Game on July 16 in New York, where Rivera earned MVP honors.

Rivera is in his 19th and final season, all with the Yankees. He has a 2.20 ERA in 1,092 innings pitched.

A 14-time All-Star, Rivera has a postseason ERA of 0.70 and five World Series titles.

“He set a standard that I don’t know if anyone will ever [surpass],” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

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