11/02: Mo, Thanks for the Memories

Posted by: David
As I write this I am thinking about what Mariano Rivera has meant to me over the last 19 years. In 1995, he came up and in the first Wild Card series gave the Yankees a glimpse of what was to come. As John Sterling and Michael Kay said a million times "Buck Showalter did not know what he had." If he only used him to try and save the game.

In 1996, he probably had the best season for a set-up relief pitcher in the history of baseball. All the Yankees had to do was to have the lead after six innings and the game was theirs.

Mo became the closer in 1997 and Sandy Alomar, Jr. broke Yankee fans collective hearts in game 4 with a late home run off of Rivera. But rather than whine and mope, Mo came back in 1998 and led the Yankees to three straight World Series championships.

I remember in 1999 against the Braves when Chipper Jones and other teammates in the dugout were laughing at Ryan Klesko when Mo broke three bats in one AB. The Yankees swept and Mo was named World Series MVP. The dominance continued in 2000 against the Mets and Mo was the first closer to be on the mound for the clinching game of three consecutive World Series.

In 2001, it was just not meant to be as the Arizona Diamondbacks found a way due to a huge error by Mo and a couple of broken bats to win on a Luis Gonzales pop fly over the drawn in infield to win the World Series.

Mo did return and said over and over that God has a plan for his life and what happened was meant to be. In 2003, Rivera pitched three innings in game seven of the ALCS and got the win in relief when Aaron Boone hit his famous walk off. He was named MVP of that series. The Red Sox got them back in 2004 when they came back from a three game deficit to beat the Yankees.

The 2005 through 2007 seasons saw the Yankees lose in the first round of the playoffs and 2008 was the first year in Mo's career when he did not make postseason play. In 2009, there was a new Yankee Stadium and Mo returned to dominate again. He was on the mound in game six to get the last out and bring the Yankees their 27th championship.

In 2010 and 2011, again, the Yankees were eliminated earlier. In 2012, Mo was hurt in Kansas City and the baseball world wondered if the Sandman would return. Return he did and although the Yankees did not make the playoffs, Rivera had a great season. His farewell tour in every visiting city is the way every player would want to go out.

His last appearance at the stadium on September 26, 2013 was so dramatic, but appropriate. After getting two outs in the ninth, he was taken out by his two buddies. Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter came to the mound and Mo was overcome by the emotion.

My source for writing all of the posts for this site are from various notepads and pieces of paper where I would log each pitch of every batter that Mo faced.

I so looked forward to him coming into the game and would sit on my recliner with paper and pen in hand and log each pitch. At times when the game got very tense I would get on the floor and use my foot stool and a makeshift desk. Sometimes I would cross my fingers as each pitch was coming. Just about every time Mo would come through and he would save the game.

After all of the seasons in his career, I would look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and then face the hard winter and tax season. When mid-February would roll around I knew Spring Training would start and, in a few weeks, Mo would be pitching again. Although the games did not count, I would still want to see Mo pitch.

The Sandman gave me great memories of a great pitcher but a greater human being. I am so looking forward to July of 2019 when I can attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

I would like to post my notes from the last time I logged a game that Mo pitched in (see them below).

Mariano, thanks for the memories.

My Scoresheet

Comments

Patrick wrote:

Thank you for sharing this, David. That's really cool that you used to log the games in that fashion.

Thank you for all of your contributions to MarianoRivera.com over the years. It's been great to have someone to write with.

Patrick
11/03 01:56:24

Moises Young Diaz wrote:

Thank you, David, for this wonderful write-up regarding the Panamanian Sensational, Mariano Rivera, No. 42.

This is a great historical information, which compiled the entire baseball life of Mo.

Moises
11/06 13:20:49

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