Mariano Rivera, the greatest relief pitcher in MLB history, took the mound for the final time at Yankee Stadium Thursday night before a roaring crowd. If that didn’t give you goosebumps, this might – Instead of Joe Girardi pulling Rivera to get one last curtain call … he had Yankee greats, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite go out to the mound.
During four minutes of thunderous chanting from the sellout crowd 48,675, an overcome Rivera sobbed as he buried his head on the shoulder of Pettitte, who also is retiring when the season ends Sunday, and then hugged Jeter.
Rivera, who retired four straight batters, wiped his eyes with both arms as he walked off and blew a kiss to the first row behind the Yankees dugout.
A night after the Yankees were eliminated from contention — missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years — it was a night for nostalgia. Rivera’s 42 — he’s the last player to wear Jackie Robinson’s old number — was painted in foul territory in front of each dugout.