Today, President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Freedom to Hall of Fame Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, who this year became the first inductee in baseball’s Hall of Fame to be inducted in unanimous fashion.
“I’m proud to be an American” boasted Rivera, who earlier this year was found praising the POTUS. Last month when Trump’s name came up, Rivera was quoted saying “I respect him” and that he’s “doing the best for the United States.”
Rivera, an immigrant from the Island of Panama, was a longshot to make it and didn’t even have a baseball glove when he signed with the Yankees for a small pricetag of $2,500. It was the best signing the Yankees ever made. Hard work paid off, and he retired an innovator of the closer position and the all-time MLB saves leader (652). He was the cog in the Yankee dynasty of the late 1990s, exemplifying and re-defining the word “dominant” in the postseason. More men have walked on the moon than scored on Rivera in the postseason in 141 innings pitched.
When he signed in 1990, about 20 years of age, he was using a cardboard glove and his family were very poor. He spoke zero English and had to work for the next 5 years to become fluent in the language before his Major League debut in 1995; all while learning how to pitch. Little did anybody know that the one pitch he mastered, the cutter, would become the greatest pitch in the history of sports. Once Enter Sandman blared throughout the Bronx at the hallowed grounds of the Old Yankee Stadium, there was minimal hope for a comeback.
He is the 11th baseball figure to receive the honor, and third Yankee (DiMaggio, Berra, Ruth). Now a United States citizen, Rivera receives the highest honor a civilian can receive, and has proven the American Dream can become a reality.
In a short while I will be presenting the New York @Yankees @MarianoRivera, the greatest relief pitcher (Closer!) of all time, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the @WhiteHouse!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2019
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