Dear Mr. Rivera,
You are a Yankee. No, you are everything good about the Yankees. One of the greatest to ever wear pinstripes. I am a Red Sox fan. And you, sir, are one of my favorite players of all time. I have been following baseball for several years and you are, far and away, the greatest pitcher I have had the pleasure of following. I wish I could have seen you in real life. You had one pitch, just one pitch, the cutter, and were still nearly untouchable. You were extraordinarily humble in the way you led your career. Played the game hard. Played the game right. You are a legend to the game, sir. I don’t know when I first heard about the great Rivera, but it didn’t take long for me to see you come on to mound and know that the game would be over. You were just that good.
Your stats quite frankly speak for themselves. Over 650 careers saves. Most career postseason saves. Most career games pitched in the postseason. Over 1,000 strikeouts, as a closer. 13 All-Star Games. 4 All Star saves. 5 time World Series Champion. A lifetime E.R.A. of 2.21. Most appearances by a right-handed pitcher. One of the only pitchers to have two seasons of fifty or more saves. There are many more records that are too numerous to mention here. But to be blunt: Simply phenomenal.
You will also be the last player in the history of baseball who will be able to wear the number ’42’ outside of Jackie Robinson Day. There is nobody more deserving. You are also one of the most charitable human beings ever to play professional sports. You’ve given so much to people who don’t have much. You remember where you came from.
If I have kids one day, I will teach them about baseball. I will teach them about the game. I will teach them the rules, the fundamentals. I will tell them about who were the good guys in my childhood, an era blackened by the drugs and money. But I will tell them about you, Rivera. You were everything the best ballplayers should be. But, even more importantly, you are everything a great MAN should be. Thank you.
Enjoy your well-earned retirement, Sandman.
I am a Red Sox fan.
And I will miss you.
And once again, thank you.