Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Mariano Rivera Day Honors Yankees' All-Star Closer

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Sunday was a historic day in the Bronx, as the New York Yankees honored All-Star closer Mariano Rivera.

"It was a lot of emotions, but it was more what I was thinking," Mariano said.

The ceremony for Rivera included a nod to baseball history, with Jackie Robinson's widow Rachel and his daughter Sharon both on hand.

The number 42 was retired from baseball in 1997 to honor the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

"I would have loved to have met him: Mr. Jackie Robinson. But it's a great pleasure and an honor for me to be the last major league baseball player to ever wear number 42," Rivera said.

Rivera's on-field performance only tells part of the story. He was a crucial member of five World Series title teams, but his classy contribution to the franchise and the culture in the locker room made his presence just as significant.

"Baseball is not who he is. Baseball is what he does and I think there is a lot to be learned from that. As much as its a game and a passion of ours and we love it Mo has life in perspective," said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi.

As if the day needed more emotion, Andy Pettitte made his last regular season start in Yankee pinstripes, and he was brilliant taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

The Yankees eventually lost 2-1 to the San Francisco Giants, but Pettite had his moment in the sun.

"I really enjoyed it. I was glad I got the opportunity to do that, and the fans were awesome," Pettitte said.

Mariano Rivera never embarrassed himself, a teammate, an opponent, his team or his sport. There are few in the world of sports about whom this can be said.

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