For today's post, I'd like to deviate a bit from my usual content and present to you a baseball-themed post. With the announced retirement today of Mariano Rivera, which will be effective as of the end of the upcoming season, baseball will be losing one of the best pitchers the game has ever seen. Rivera has been one of the key components in the recent (since 1996) resurgence of the New York Yankee franchise. While no one can argue that Rivera is the greatest closer in the history of the MLB, I firmly believe that he transcends the role of "closer" and I would argue that he is the greatest pitcher period.
While it's a difficult task to compare starting pitchers to relievers, I believe that Rivera has been equally, if not exceedingly, as great as the greatest starters throughout history. He has amassed over 600 saves in his career (saves became an official stat in 1969), has twelve All-Star appearances, a career ERA of 2.21, has five World Series championships and was the MVP of one World Series. All this at a position that has been largely overlooked by historians of the game. These stats alone would put him in the discussion as one of the greatest that baseball has ever seen, but it's in the post-season where Rivera really made his mark.
Rivera's post-season stats are bordering on the make-believe. His ERA in the post-season shrinks from an already respectable number down the mind-numbing mark of 0.70, which is an MLB record. He has 42 saves in the post season, 9 series-clinching saves, and has made 96 appearances (all of which are also MLB records for a closer). But perhaps the most unbelievable of all Rivera-related statistics is the fact that he has allowed a total of 11 earned runs in the post-season. To put that number into perspective, more men have walked on the surface of the moon than Rivera has allowed to cross home plate in a playoff game.
Gushing over Rivera's stats is easy, but what separates him from the rest of the field is the fact that he has managed to amass these stats while having one pitch at his disposal. Rivera has perfected the cut-fastball into most dangerous pitch not only in the game today, but of all time. Every other great pitcher has had multiple pitches in his repertoire, while Rivera has compiled record after record in his 19 year career with just one. The fact that no-one has been able to figure out how to hit him is not only a testament to the degree to which Rivera has perfected his craft, but the reason that he is, in my mind, the G(reatest) O(f) A(ll) T(ime).
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.