Mariano Rivera, the closer for the New York Yankees who made the cut fastball famous, set the Major League Baseball (MLB) all-times saves record last night with 602 saves. Until yesterday, the Panamanian 41-year-old athlete’s career saves were tied 601 to retired player Trevor Hoffman. “For the first time in my career, I’m on the mound alone,” Rivera told the Associated Press. “It was priceless. I didn’t know it could be like that.”
Rivera has been the team’s closer since 1997. His pitches have enough power to split bats – which he did last night to Chris Parmelee (who plays for the Minnesota Twins). During the final inning of the 1999 World Series, Ryan Klesko’s bats were broken by Rivera three times in a four-pitch span. “That thing was just wicked. I had never seen anything like it," Klesko (a former baseball player) said of that day in an interview with the Associated Press. “You can't help to laugh. I couldn't believe it. It was like a 97 mph Wiffle Ball that has no rotation. I told Chipper [Chipper Jones, who plays for the Atlanta Braves], 'If he breaks one more of my bats, I'm going to have none left.’” At the rate required for manufacturing bats, a rep for the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat (produced by Hillerich & Bradsby Company) told AP that Rivera accounted for five to six trees of busted wood.
Only five pitchers who are relievers have been elected to the Hall of Fame – including former baseball player Dennis Eckersley. According to Eckersley, everyone knows about Rivera. “He's one the biggest names in the game, maybe the greatest postseason pitcher,” he said. “I think there's probably players in awe of him that played against him. They're okay with him striking them out. You can talk all you want about one pitch or whatever they say, but to be able to put it where he wants to, with all that adrenaline, is beyond me.”
NJ.com reported that Rivera had eight tries to get one save and break the 601 record. The closer spoke to NJ recently about the prospect of breaking the record. “I’ll tell you when it happens,” Rivera said when asked about possibly achieving the record at home. “I don’t know how it’s going to be.”
Congratulations to Rivera!