Player Profile: Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera is entering his 16th season in the Major Leagues,all with the New York Yankees. He is a 5-time World Series Champion and 10-time All-Star. His success in the late innings has labeled him by many as the greatest relief pitcher/closer of All-Time. He holds several records for relief pitchers.

Mariano grew up in Panama City,Panama. He worked with his father on a boat catching shrimps and sardines. He played baseball with milk cartons as gloves with his friends on the streets and never considered playing baseball professionally. At 19, Rivera saw his days as a "fisherman" come to an end as he thought it was too tough.

In 1988 Rivera began to play for an amateur team, Panamá Oeste as a shortstop. It was then where Yankees director of Latin American Operations Herb Raybourn saw Rivera play. He saw the athleticism in Rivera but didn't see him as a shortstop. In 1989, Panamá Oeste's needed a pitcher and Mariano volunteered. Raybourn was impressed by the ease in which Rivera threw with and signed him to an amateur contract. He then went into the Yankees Minor League system. He eventually made his Major League debut in 1995 on May 23, 1995. He was almost dealt to the Detroit Tigers for David Wells in '95 but that rumor wasquickly put to bed. During one of his minor league starts Rivera started throwing 95-96 MPH, something he attributes to God as to the sudden change.

In 1996 the Yankees moved Rivera into the bullpen as the set-up man for closer John Wettland and the Yanks never looked back. In '97 Rivera took over as closer and the rest is history. He is well respected all throughout baseball. His signature pitch, the cutter has made numerous players fustrated over the years and has put 5 rings on Rivera's hand.

"You know what's coming, but you know what's coming in horror movies too. It
still gets you." —Mike Sweeney

2010 Rivera will in the final year of his current contract. After winning the 2009 World Series, Mo vowed he could pitch another 5 years. That may be a stretch but I say another 3 years would be good. Rivera showed no signs of slowing down in '09 and I don't see any for '10. I expect another amazing season from this Panamian. More October glory is in store for Rivera...maybe he should be the real Mr. October...but if you asked him, he just simply wants to be known as Mo. We know him as the greatest closer of All-Time.
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