Yankees pitching icon goes out on top

Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera is retiring after the 2013 major league baseball season. CBS News

Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera is retiring after the 2013 major league baseball season.
CBS News

(CBS News) Bronx tears were flowing Thursday night as the man who was arguably baseball's greatest relief pitcher said good bye. That was when Mariano Rivera pitched for the last time at Yankee Stadium. With two outs in the ninth, teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter took Rivera out of the game.

Rivera exits after 19 seasons and a record 652 saves. He turned his last season in baseball into a farewell tour. He transcended not only the sport but rivalries. I asked him what it's like to go into places like Fenway Park in Boston and have the opposing fans applaud him.

"I always treat the game the way you should treat it," Rivera said. "I always treat the opposite team the way they should be treated. I always give respect. And you know, I think people appreciate what you do. I think that's why people and the fans from Fenway. I mean, not only in Fenway, (but) everywhere else. It has been amazing."

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, left, watches as starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, center, embraces a sobbing Mariano Rivera on the mound in the ninth inning of Rivera's final appearance in a game at Yankee Stadium, against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 26, 2013. The Rays won, 4-0.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, left, watches as starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, center, embraces a sobbing Mariano Rivera on the mound in the ninth inning of Rivera's final appearance in a game at Yankee Stadium, against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 26, 2013. The Rays won, 4-0.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

But when that last game is played and he puts on his Yankee uniform in the locker room for the last time -- number 42 -- could Rivera imagine the emotion?

Mariano Rivera bids emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium

"At that time, there definitely will be a lot of emotion," Rivera said. "Maybe a tear here or there, because that means it's finished. It's done. No more."

I was there for Rivera's final game at Yankees Stadium on Thursday night and it was an emotional evening. The whole night we were waiting for him to come into the game and he trots out from centerfield. The place went wild. I had a real sense of history -- not only was he the greatest closer in history of all time in baseball, but I'm sitting next to my father, who is 95 years old, and he saw Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. It was such an emotional moment for me. I have to confess I did shed a few tears.

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter