All-Stars and Legends Praise Mariano Rivera
July 29, 2013 – The September Issue of Yankees Magazine will feature a 42-page commemorative section on Mariano Rivera. Over the next month, I will preview several elements of this very special section. But for now, enjoy several of the words about Rivera I gathered for a feature that will be made up entirely of quotes.
I spoke to a few former Yankees at Old-Timers’ Day, and I interviewed several of the game’s greatest players at the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field. A day after the All-Star game, I sat down with Joe Torre and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson at the former manager’s annual golf outing.
“When Mariano came into the game, he always got ahead of you by putting that first pitch over the plate. In my opinion, that really helped him to dominate. He was never afraid to go after you, and he still isn’t.”
“He’s the greatest closer in the history of baseball. He’s had so much to do with the success of this organization during his career. He’s a good family man, a heck of a competitor and a great pitcher. He’s got the whole package.”
“Mariano is the best closer the game has ever seen. He really has changed the game. As a pitcher, I have the utmost respect for him, and I’ve always looked up to him. You can’t tell if he’s getting hit around or not because he’s always composed. That is a rare and very special quality.”
“Mariano is a great friend but I wish I could get a few hits off him. Like a lot of players, I’ve gotten used to making outs against Mariano.”
–Miguel Cabrera (pictured below)
“The most frustrating thing about facing Mariano is that you know what’s coming but he’s still tough to hit. In the nine seasons I’ve gone to the plate against him, he hasn’t changed at all. He’s still the best closer anyone has ever seen.”
“Mariano is a professional on and off the field. Most guys aren’t able to go out while they are at the top of their game, but that’s what Mariano is doing this year.”
“Mariano is a hero. To see him pitch is a dream come true for baseball fans.”
“Mariano has accomplished things in the game that no-one will ever match, especially in the postseason. But, more importantly, he’s played the game the right way. When Mariano saves a game, he just walks off the field. He doesn’t aggravate the opposition with an over-the-top celebration, and that demonstrates the type of respect he has for the game. One of the main reasons I won four championships with the Yankees is because I had a bunch of guys who never took time to admire what they accomplished. They always felt it was their responsibility to live up to what they had done in the previous season, and Mariano did that better than anyone.”
“Mariano is the type of player who comes around once a century, and because of the way he carries himself on and off the field, he’s great for the game.”
“There’s only one Mariano Rivera. There won’t be another person who will come along and do what he did. No one does it like him. It was an honor to catch him and play alongside him for as long as I did. He made my job as a catcher so much easier. Mariano is a special person and obviously a special player.”
That’s it for now. But the September Issue of Yankees Magazine will feature the words of these great players as well as several others.
–Alfred Santasiere III