Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has famously — or infamously, depending where your allegiance may fall — dominated the game in a way no other reliever has, doing so, of course, mainly on the shoulders of one pitch: the cutter. And his resume reads like a who’s who for future Hall of Famers: 12-time All-Star, finished in the top five for the Cy Young Award five times, numerous reliever-of-the-year nods, ALCS MVP, and World Series MVP.
In recognition of one of the more prominent careers, Rivera’s getting the full pre-retirement treatment as he winds his way through the season. And in the second game of yesterday’s double-header the Panama-born right-hander made what could be his final trek through Cleveland, receiving complimentary gifts and a video tribute.
In honor of Rivera, here’s a look back at some of his more memorable moments and stats against the Tribe:
- On October 5, 1997, Rivera blew the first postseason save of his career; surrendering a solo homerun to catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. The greatest closer of all time would go another 56 postseason innings until blowing another.
- Following the blown save, Rivera never allowed the Indians to score another run in 9.1 postseason innings.
- Alomar’s dinger would be one of just two postseason homers allowed — in 141 innings.
- Ryan Garko is one of just three HBPs offered up by Rivera in the postseason (2007, Game 2 of the ALDS).
- Rivera accumulated 29 of his 623 career saves against the Indians, or 4.7%.
- His career ERA against Cleveland, 2.83, is more than a half run higher than his career mark (2.21).
- Excluding the playoffs, he gave up only three homeruns against Cleveland in his career: two in 1997 (Jim Thome and Marquis Grissom) and one in 2002 (Bill Selby, obviously).
- Rivera never threw a wild pitch against Cleveland; of course, he only has 13 in his career.
- The most successful player against Rivera that spent time with the Indians (20 PA+): Juan Gonzalez, who hit .250/.280/.542 in 25 trips to the plate.
- Former Tribe slugger Jim Thome has more walks, 8, against Rivera than any other player.
- Former Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar is tied for tops with three doubles against him.
- Manny Ramirez owns two distinctions involving Rivera: he’s faced him the most (53 PA) and owns the most strikeouts (15).
- The Indians own a career .232/.290/.303 against Rivera at Jacob’s/Progressive Field.
- The Cleveland faithful have personally witnessed 16 of his saves in Cleveland.
Personally, it’s been a joy watching Rivera throughout his brilliant career, firing that deadly cutter to both sides of the plate with sniper-like accuracy. And the bats. Man, oh, man, the bats. It’s unconfirmed, but rumor has it Louisville Slugger saw a 123% uptick in sales since Rivera’s rookie year in 1995.
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