When Chipper Jones tore his ACL on a play in Houston back in 2010 it was a devastating scene.
My childhood hero, aging and in the twilight of his career, laid in a heap on the field. With his future uncertain, Jones announced he would come back and made good. He was an All-Star in 2011, and is rounding out his Hall of Fame career in 2012 in spectacular fashion.
Which is why the announcement that Mariano Rivera would work his way back from an ACL injury he incurred snagging fly balls in Kansas City (ironically the sight of this years All-Star game where he hoped to make a different last impression) was a welcome one. Not just for New York Yankee fans, but for baseball in general. If anyone will be able to come back and finish it out with style, it’s Mariano Rivera.
You see as luck would have it, we get one more season to watch this Hall of Fame player do what no one else will duplicate for an incredibly long time.
Close out games without any question of a comeback.
People can point out the hiccups all they want. the Gonzalez flare to end the 2001 World Series, the Boston Red Sox 2004 run that went through Mariano and so on. What can’t be disputed, not even a little bit, is that when Mariano Rivera entered a baseball game in the eight or ninth inning it was over. No questions asked, put-the-kids-to-bed done. We all should know the numbers by now:
- All-time leader in Saves (608)
- Five-time world series champion
- 12-time All-Star
- 1999 World Series MVP
- 2003 ALCS MVP
- Five-time rolaids relief man of the year
Trophies can’t legitimately quantify what he has meant to this sport. He will forever be known as the man who defined the closer position.
I had the opportunity to do a service mission for two-years in Panama and while there on my off time I would ask the locals about their favorite athletes. Roberto Duran and Rod Carew were names often stated first and deservedly so. However, after working in Chorrera, Panama and working in the province/area where this man grew up it gave you a sense of the international impact he has on his sport.
It is great when a legend decides he will give it one more go and go out on their own terms. As many fits as that famous “cutter’ gives hitters, no one was upset that we will have the opportunity to see a master at his craft for one more season in 2013.