Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/22/2013 3:19 PM

Yankees honor Rivera in pregame ceremony

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) addresses the crowd as he is honored in a pregame ceremony at Yankees Stadium before a Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season.

      New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) addresses the crowd as he is honored in a pregame ceremony at Yankees Stadium before a Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season.
    Associated Press

  • New York Yankees Derek Jeter, standing center, applauds as Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) tries out a rocking chair, one of many gifts Rivera received during a pregame retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. Rivera's sons Jafet, left, and Mariano Jr. watch the action. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season.

      New York Yankees Derek Jeter, standing center, applauds as Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) tries out a rocking chair, one of many gifts Rivera received during a pregame retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. Rivera's sons Jafet, left, and Mariano Jr. watch the action. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season.
    Associated Press

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera walks towards the mound after receiving an speaker cabinet autographed by the heavy metal band Metallica in a pregame ceremony at Yankees Stadium before the Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season. Rivera's signature song when he comes into the game is "Enter Sandman" by the band.

      New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera walks towards the mound after receiving an speaker cabinet autographed by the heavy metal band Metallica in a pregame ceremony at Yankees Stadium before the Yankees baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The 13-time All-Star closer is retiring at the end of this season. Rivera's signature song when he comes into the game is "Enter Sandman" by the band.
    Associated Press

  • Fans of New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera line up outside Yankee Stadium before their baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The Yankees plan to honor Rivera in a retirement ceremony.

      Fans of New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera line up outside Yankee Stadium before their baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in New York. The Yankees plan to honor Rivera in a retirement ceremony.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Humble as ever, Mariano Rivera began his special day by paying tribute to a Hall of Famer.

The New York Yankees retired Rivera's No. 42 Sunday, and the great reliever honored Jackie Robinson during a ceremony in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Robinson's No. 42 was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the day the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman broke baseball's color barrier. Players wearing 42 at the time were grandfathered.

"It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be the last player to ever wear number 42," Rivera said during the 50-minute ceremonies before the last regular-season day home game of his 19-season career.

As Rivera stood nearby, Robinson's wife Rachel unveiled a plaque dedicated to Jackie. Then with his wife and three sons, Rivera uncovered his number -- changed from Robinson's Dodger Blue to Yankees navy -- that will be on display in Monument Park alongside the 15 other retired Yankees numbers, honoring 16 players and managers.

Before a sellout crowd, the Yankees staged a sort of this is your baseball life pageant for Rivera. Several of Rivera's former teammates were on hand, including Core Four member Jorge Posada, who in a role reversal threw a ceremonial first pitch that Rivera caught. Former manager Joe Torre also was on hand along with Gene Michael, the general manager at the time Rivera signed with the organization in 1990.

After video highlights of a 19-year big league career that includes a record 652 saves, a recording of Yankees longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced Rivera.

Then the bullpen door swung open and the first chords of "Enter Sandman," rang out. Only this time the song that for more than a decade almost always indicated the end of the game for New York's opponent was being played live.

Iconic metal band Metallica performed their hit from a stage in center field, lead singer James Hetfield crying out, "For you Mariano!" Instead of jogging in from the bullpen, Rivera slowly walked to the infield.

Standing in front of the mound, many of Rivera's friends and family took photos and videos as the 13-time All-Star was given several long ovations and serenaded with chants of "Mar-i-ano!"

While Metallica played, Andy Pettitte, Rivera's teammate on five World Series championships, began his warmups in right field.

Pettitte announced Friday -- with Rivera's encouragement -- that he was also retiring at the end of the season and, in a neat coincidence, his final regular-season start was to come on Rivera's day.

Rivera has saved 72 of Pettitte's 255 regular-season wins, the most for any tandem in major league history.

At every stadium the Yankees visited this season, Rivera was presented gifts of appreciation. He was given checks to his foundation and everything from a surfboard from the Oakland Athletics to a rocking chair made of broken bats -- some caused by Rivera's signature cutter -- from the Minnesota Twins.

The San Franicsco Giants, led by pitching coach Dave Righetti -- the former Yankee that Rivera supplanted as the team's career saves leader -- gave Rivera an ink print of his appearance at their ballpark in 2007 and a guitar from Metallica member Kirk Hammett signed by Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

"It's a credit to not just his talent but who he is," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the adulation Rivera received from opponents. "He's one of the greatest people in the game as far as how he handles himself, how humble he is, how well respected and revered he is by all the other clubs."

Finally, it was the Yankees' turn.

Jennifer Swindal, a daughter of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, was accompanied by team president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost as she presented a $100,000 donation from the organization to the Mariano Rivera Foundation.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi -- one of Rivera's first catchers -- carried out a rocking chair made of bats and stamped with the logo honoring Rivera that the Yankees are wearing on the side of their game caps for the remainder of the season.

"He was the greatest pitcher I ever caught, he was the easiest pitcher I ever caught," Girardi said. "The numbers speak for themselves but the way he has gone about his business is something you wish everyone could do."

The Steinbrenner family presented Rivera with a crystal glove holding a ball, and a framed replica of his retired number and the plaque that will have a permanent place in Monument Park.

Rivera, a son of a Panamanian fisherman, made his big league debut in 1995, starting 10 games, spoke for more than six minutes on a beautiful autumn afternoon, the time of year he excelled. He finished his speech eager to shift the spotlight off himself and back to his team.

"Let's play ball," Rivera said.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.