Following a career under the brightest lights at Yankee Stadium, Westchester resident Mariano Rivera was back in the spotlight as his hometown celebrated his MLB Hall of Fame induction at a “Pinstripe Parade” in Westchester.
A week after being officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, Rivera, a longtime Westchester resident who became Major League Baseball’s first unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame in the sport’s history had a parade hosted in his honor.
The parade for Rivera was held on Saturday, July 27 during “Mariano Rivera Day” which included the parade and a celebration at the Hudson Park Bandshell in New Rochelle.
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.
The mile-and-a-half parade kicked off at City Hall on North Avenue, continuing to Pelham Road before concluding at Hudson Park. According to officials, the parade route was in close proximity to the New Rochelle Metro North Train Station, and City Hall is a less than ten-minute walk from the station.
Thousands of residents, baseball fans and the general public lined the streets of New Rochelle to celebrate the local baseball legend with a parade that featured classic cars, a Gray Line CitySightseeing New York Double Decker Tour Bus, New Rochelle Fire and Sanitation Trucks, New Rochelle Police Foundation and Honor Guard, along with youth groups, local law enforcement, local sports teams and marching bands. Marching in the parade were Mariano’s “adoptive” New Rochelle family members Mickie and Joe Fosina; New Rochelle Youth Baseball, Little League players & coaches, & High School Baseball & Softball teams; Local Marching Bands Portchester Brigade & Tappan Zee Bridgeman; New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club; A Game Sports; Lawrence Hospital; Local Historical Associations; New Rochelle Girl Scouts and Youth & Sports Organizations across Westchester County.
“There’s no place like home to celebrate my career and a community that has meant so much to me from my early Yankee days to this special moment,” Rivera said. “New Rochelle’s slogan is Ideally Yours, which is only fitting because New Rochelle has always Ideally Been Mine. To this day, New Rochelle is in my soul and it’s why you always see me around here. This is a special place for me and my family.”
New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome said, "Congratulations to Mariano Rivera for his election to the Hall of Fame. It is a well-deserved honor and tribute to his outstanding career. Not only is he a baseball Hall of Famer, but a ‘Hall of Famer’ in New Rochelle for his generosity and the service he continually provides to our community."
Though the Panama native is known internationally for his work on the mound, many in Westchester know the local resident for his work in New Rochelle. Rivera has also made appearances at local schools, helped out at a local baseball camp for children and has delivered laptops and other donations to kids. He opened a Toyota/Scion car dealership on North Bedford Road in Mount Kisco in 2015.
Rivera, with the help of volunteers in the community, is credited with funding the re-opening of Refugio de Esperanza, the church where his wife, pastor Clara Rivera, presides in next to New Rochelle City Hall. It is estimated that the Rivera’s foundation pledged nearly $3 million to get the once defunct church up and running on North Avenue.
The building, which was once a Presbyterian Church, was abandoned in the 1970s before the city eventually purchased it. The building would later be sold to Rivera for $1 with the understanding he would renovate and refurbish it.
“Congratulations to Mariano Rivera on becoming the first person in baseball history to be elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said following the announcement of his induction earlier this year. "New Rochelle takes special pride in Mariano, who has been a selfless, generous contributor to our community, and who makes his spiritual home here at Refugio De Esperanza, where his wife Clara serves as Pastor. A well-earned honor for a remarkable athlete and an even more remarkable human being.”
“The New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce is honored to not only have Mariano Rivera ride in our parade float because he is a living legend, but also because he is an amazing person who has done so much for the New Rochelle community," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Lanser said. "Personally, as a lifetime Yankees fan who waited in line for 22 hours for 1996 World Series tickets, it was my pleasure to contribute my energies to this tribute in Mariano’s honor."
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