Mariano Rivera made his final appearance in an All-Star Game on Tuesday night, as he pitched for the American League. The New York Yankees closer pitched a scoreless inning in the 3-0 win.
The 19-year veteran entered the contest in the eighth inning, even though it looked like he would get a save opportunity in the ninth. After the game, AL manager Jim Leyland said he wanted to make sure Rivera got an opportunity to pitch and avoid the possibility of another reliever blowing the lead.
Rivera ran onto the field from the bullpen as “Enter Sandman” played. He was greeted to a standing ovation by all the players and the over 45,000 fans at Citi Field. The applause lasted for about two minutes, as every All-Star left the field to give Rivera his moment.
It took Rivera 16 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 inning. With no standout performances, Rivera was named the MVP in his final All-Star Game. In 1975, Jon Matlack of the New York Mets was the only other reliever to win the award.
In 13 career All-Star Games, it might be hard to find a pitcher who has performed better than Rivera. He has been in the contest nine times and never allowed an earned run. Opponents have hit just .185 against him, and he has never walked a batter in the game.
Before the start of the 2013 MLB season, Rivera announced that this would be his last in the majors. Even at 43 years old, the Yankees closer still may be the best player at his position. In 38 appearances this year, he’s pitching to a 1.83 ERA and converted 30-of-32 save opportunities. Rivera will retire as the all-time leader in saves and is widely considered the greatest reliever of all time.
Below is a video of Rivera’s entrance at the All-Star Game. He proceeded to retire Jean Segura, Allen Craig and Carlos Gomez.