Yankees baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Westchester resident Mariano Rivera was back under the lights this week, this time accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The only unanimous selection into the Hall of Fame was given the honor by President Donald Trump, who called him “maybe the greatest pitcher of all time.”
Trump spoke of Rivera’s upbringing in Panama before becoming a U.S. citizen and praised his “dominance” on the mound over his record-breaking career. The ceremony including an ode to Rivera’s playing days, with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the closer’s entrance music, being played.
During the ceremony, the president noted Rivera’s cutter, which led him to his saves record. He also joked that the Yankees should bring him out of retirement with the playoffs set to kick off in a few weeks.
“They may be throwing it, but it doesn’t work quite the same way,” Trump said. “It’s called a heavy, heavy pitch. It’s from God.”
New Rochelle even got a shoutout from the president, who said: "From being in New York, what you've done in New Rochelle has been incredible. Incredible."
During his career, the Yankee legend racked up 652 regular-season saves, adding another 42 in the postseason to bolster his stats. A 13-time All-Star, Rivera’s resume also includes five Rolaids Relief Awards, five World Series rings and MVP honors from the All-Star Game, ALCS and World Series.
During his career, Rivera punched out 1,173 batters in 1,283.2 innings and has been credited with a lifetime 56.2 WAR.
Rivera became just the 11th player to ever receive at least 97 percent support, joining Chipper Jones (97.16 percent); Greg Maddux (97.20); Randy Johnson (97.27); Tony Gwynn (97.61); George Brett (98.19); Ty Cobb (98.23); Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53); Nolan Ryan (98.79); Tom Seaver (98.84); and Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32).
In his 19-year celebrated career all with the New York Yankees, Rivera was a 13-time All-Star, World Series MVP in 1999 and five-time World Series Champion. The Panamanian right-handed closer is among the most famous and popular players to sport the pinstripes.
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