Rivera takes his place in Coop­er­stown in Baseball Hall of Fame in­duc­tions

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - PLAYER PROFILE -

It’s not a big stretch to say that Mar­i­ano Rivera is among baseball’s all-time great­est closers. If not THE great­est.

In­deed, the slen­der Pana­ma­nian righty whose de­cep­tively smooth de­liv­ery be­lied a killer cut fast­ball was the type of re­liever who short­ened games, who once the ball was handed to him in the ninth in­ning would al­most al­ways shut op­pos­ing bat­ters down – cold. His nick­name was “the Sand­man,” and when teams heard Me­tal­lica’s “En­ter the Sand­man” come over the Yan­kee Sta­dium PA sys­tem, they knew they were pretty much done.

A 13-time All-Star and five-time World Se­ries cham­pion, Rivera is the MLB ca­reer saves leader with 652. Also in his tro­phy case: five Amer­i­can League Ro­laids Relief Man Awards, three De­liv­ery Man of the Year Awards and he fin­ished in the top three in AL Cy Young vot­ing four times. He was also a key part of the Yan­kees’ “Core Four” (with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada), that led the team through its last dy­nasty in which the team won ti­tles in 1996 and 1998-2000.

So it comes as no sur­prise that he’s the first player ever to be elected unan­i­mously by the Baseball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’ll join Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and the late Roy Hal­la­day as the new­est mem­bers of the Coop­er­stown, N.Y., shrine when MLB Net­work broad­casts its In­duc­tion Cer­e­mony live on Sun­day, July 21.

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