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
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
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.