Yankees fete Mariano Rivera at hour-long ceremony in the Bronx

The Yankees surprisingly retired Mariano Rivera's No. 42 before the game. Credit: Getty Images
The Yankees surprisingly retired Mariano Rivera’s No. 42 before the game.
Credit: Getty Images

 

Mariano Rivera has been feted by opposing teams throughout MLB with gifts all season, but the last and most lavish ceremonies took place before the Yankees resumed their chase for a wild-card berth yesterday afternoon.

The 50-minute ceremony had everything imaginable, including a retirement ceremony for his No. 42 in Monument Park.

“I didn’t know what to feel, especially at the monument where they have the number retired already,” Rivera said. “It was emotional and a lot of adrenaline, but overall it was great.”

“Just a special day,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Just really a wonderful day.”

The ceremony also included a special performance by Metallica, whose hit “Enter Sandman” has signaled Rivera is coming into the game since 1999.

Also introduced were former teammates Jeff Nelson, David Cone, John Wetteland, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. The group of former Yankees sports a combined 27 championship rings.

The last introductions of Yankees were manager Joe Torre, whom said that his work was essentially done once Rivera came into the game and trainer Gene Monahan.

“There is nobody,” Torre said, “that is ever going to do what he did out of the bullpen.”

The final introductions were for the family of Jackie Robinson, Rachel and Sharon Robinson, who were escorted to the field by Robinson Cano. Then came Rivera’s wife Clara and his three sons, who were escorted to the field by captain Derek Jeter.

The ceremony was poignant, coming five years and one day after Jeter’s famous speech after Rivera threw the last pitch at Old Yankee Stadium. The ceremony also had some light-hearted humor, especially when Rivera began speaking and thanked his parents for “having him.”

Rivera also paid tribute to his teammates, fans and George Steinbrenner by saying:

“To my teammates, past and present, I thank you guys. … I love you guys and you guys are special. To you fans, thank you for 19 years of support. It has been a great run, guys…you guys will have a part of my heart here in New York.

“I wish he was here, Mr. George Steinbrenner. For giving me the opportunity to play for his team.”I love him so much, and I do miss him.”

Rivera also added several gifts to his growing collection. The four ex-Yankees on San Francisco’s coaching staff (Joe Lefebrve, Hensley Meulens, Roberto Kelly and Dave Righetti) presented Rivera with a 16-by-20 watercolor painting by San Francisco artist Saul Levy of his five-out save there in June 2007.

Next was a guitar autographed by Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays, a customized speaker from Metallica and a $100,000 check to Rivera’s foundation presented by the Yankees.

The final gifts brought more humor to the ceremony as Jeter and Girardi walked out of the dugout with a baseball bat rocking chair. Rivera drew laughs when he tried it out before getting his final gift, a crystal replica of the glove he used this season.

During the game, video tributes poured in from opposing managers and players such as David Ortirz, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Matt Cain, as well as ex-teammates Jason Giambi and Nick Swisher.

Other Yankees, who never played with Rivera, also gave their tributes. Lou Piniella, Rickey Henderson, Roy White and Bobby Richardson saluted him before ex-teammate Wade Boggs feted him.

Across baseball, Trevor Hoffman, George Brett and John Smoltz offered tributes while legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully urged Rivera to “not be a stranger” in retirement.

NBA Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley also participated in the video sendoff. From the NFL, Tom Brady, Mark Sanchez (who was booed) and the Giants’ Victor Cruz and Justin Tuck also offered video tributes.

At the end of the ceremony, which drew the Yankees’ sixth sellout crowd of the season, Rivera said, “The New York Yankees are a great organization. And you guys, the fans, are the best. So let’s play ball! We’ve got to go.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.