5 Unforgettable Mariano Rivera Moments in Honor of His 50th Birthday

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 17:   2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and former New York Yankee Mariano Rivera throws the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on August 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With legendary closer Mariano Rivera celebrating 50 years of life on Friday, it would be fitting to highlight five of the best moments of his sterling career. Narrowing it down to five is difficult, as the greatest closer to ever play had a career that included 13 All-Star appearances, a World Series MVP, five World Series titles, and a recent induction into the Hall of Fame. That won't stop us from trying, though!

5. Mariano's Final Appearance

The first moment on the list is not for a performance, but for the appreciation of a Yankee great. With his iconic introduction song Enter Sandman blasting from the speakers, the legend made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium in late 2013. After securing the inning's second out, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte walked out to take Mo out for the final time. It was an incredible send-off for an incredible player.

4. Final All-Star Appearance

Rivera's last appearance at the MLB All-Star game was an amazing moment for baseball fans worldwide. His final inning in the midsummer classic was fitting, as he sat the NL down 1-2-3 without breaking a sweat at Citi Field.

3. Mo's Record-Setting 602nd Save

Rivera was able to capture the honor of being the all-time saves leader in 2011 in a game against the Twins. The game serves as a fitting reminder of Rivera's dominance and consistency, as he broke the record two years before his final appearance in 2013. Sorry, Trevor Hoffman, but this record simply had to go to Mo.

2. Rivera Secures the World Series in 1998

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 21 : Mariano Rivera #42 and Joe Girardi #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates after the final out of GM 4 to defeat the San Diego Padres in 1998 World Series on October 21, 1998 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Yankees won the series 4 games to 0. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
1998 World Series GM 4 - New York Yankees v San Diego Padres | Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Mariano Rivera was fittingly the last man on the mound at the very end of the most dominant season in baseball history, able to record the final out of the 1998 World Series on a grounder to Scott Brosius, securing his second title with the team. With that exclamation point, he was well on his way to establishing himself as the most dominant postseason pitcher of a generation.

1. Sandman Wins World Series MVP

New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera is rushed by teammates Scott Brosius (L) and Jorge Posada on the pitcher's mound after the Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-1 27 October, 1999, in game 4 of the 1999 World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York, NY. The Yankees won their 25th World series.   (ELECTRONIC IMAGE)  AFP PHOTO/Don EMMERT (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

When Rivera's career is analyzed in hindsight, 1999 stands out as possibly the greatest single season a relief pitcher has ever had in baseball. To cap it off, Rivera melted through the postseason, not allowing a single earned run on the way to an ALCS and World Series MVP trophy.