Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Mo Milestones For Rivera

Regarded as best closer in baseball, Mariano Rivera wraps up 500th career save and picks up first career RBI in Yankees' 4-2 win over Mets. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)

The plaque that will follow him into both Monument Park in the Bronz and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown will certainly highlight many of his accomplishments that forever cements his status as the best closer in baseball. Last night at Citi Field was the latest in a long line of great games for the immortal Mariano Rivera.

Rivera collected his 500th career save in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Mets, capping a three-game sweep that improved the Bombers' record against their crosstown rivals to 5-1 this season. Rivera also helped his own cause in the ninth inning, scoring his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk by Francisco Rodriguez that provided the Yanks with a big insurance run.

"It's definitely special to be the second guy in baseball to do it," said Mo regarding save No. 500. Only Trevor Hoffman has more, with 571; and since Rivera is two years younger than Hoffman, it's not inconceivable to suggest that Mariano will ultimately become the all-time save leader. Rivera's first save came during the 1996 season, when he was the bridge to John Wetteland; and his catcher that night was none other than the Bombers' current manager.

"You know you're going to get the right guy," said Joe Girardi after the game. "Even getting his 500th save, he was relaxed." Girardi also offered a testimonial to Rivera's success as a closer, chiming in by saying "I don't know if we'll ever see another Mariano Rivera."

It will be a long time before someone else even comes close.

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