Yankees give Rivera noteworthy tribute

Rivera
Rivera
Posted: September 24, 2013

HOW COOL was the tribute the Yankees gave Mariano Rivera yesterday? The righthanded closer, who is retiring at the end of the season, got a first-class sendoff before the Yankees hosted the Giants in their final home day game of the season.

Rivera spent his entire 19-year-career with the Yanks and the 50-minute ceremony was memorable.

Jackie Robinson's wife Rachel was present to unveil a plaque of her Hall of Fame husband that will be displayed in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

The timing was perfect because the Yankees then retired Rivera's No. 42, thus making him the last player to ever wear Robinson's number.

The league retired No. 42 for all teams on April 15, 1997, the anniversary of the day Robinson broke MLB's color barrier. At the time, players already wearing the number were permitted to continue.

"It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be the last player to ever wear number 42," Rivera said.

Former teammates and managers, including Joe Torre, were also on hand. Of course, there was the obligatory playing of Rivera's signature song "Enter Sandman." But this time, Metallica performed it live.

"For you Mariano," screamed lead singer James Hetfield.

When it came time to give Rivera a gift, the Yankees stepped up to the plate.

He received a $100,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation and got a rocking chair made of baseball bats bearing a logo honoring him.

The only thing he didn't get was another save as the Giants defeated the Yankees, 2-1.

Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader with 652, closed for Andy Pettitte, who gave up both runs in what was likely his final start at Yankee Stadium. Pettitte, who has played his entire 18-year career with the Yanks, announced he was retiring on Friday. His day is sure to come at a later date.

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