by Karen Funaro

TED TALK

So I did my blog on the New York Yankees called Yankeeographies. Each week, I covered a different Yankee and did a mini biography on them talking a little bit about their home lives prior the Yankees, as well as their baseball careers, and what they are doing now.

I covered Yankees old and new from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig all the way to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. My original intent for the blog was to just talk about Yankee players and their careers, but by blogging about the Yankees I learned much more about life than I originally intended.

One lesson I learned about life is that we all have dreams, and if we work hard enough they do come true. For example, starting as a little boy Derek Jeter dreamed of playing baseball for the New York Yankees, ever since her grandparents, who lived in Long Island took him to his very first game. He worked really hard all throughout his life, striving to excel in the game of baseball, and he ended up exactly where he dreamed to be-a shortstop for the Yankees and current captain. He is one of the most loved players in all of Major League Baseball and has left his mark indefinitely on the team.

Even though there are times in life that we feel that a dream is impossible, that’s really not the case. If we believe in ourselves and work hard, it is possible to accomplish all of our goals and achieve our dreams.  Some may be harder than others, but I learned that by reading the stories of each one of these players that it really isn’t impossible, we ourselves decide where we go in life and if we just take the time out of the day to really think about our dreams and figure out a way to stay confident and try, we can make them come true.

Another thing I learned is that everyone goes through hardships and obstacles. Everyone is different and everyone has their own story. I’m sure each and every one of us have gone through rough patches in our lives, but the best part about going through a rough patch in life is overcoming it.

Lou Gehrig, another famous Yankee was the son of two German immigrants. His father was an alcoholic causing his mother to be the breadwinner of the family, having to do all her best make ends meet and put food on the table for him. Lou Gehrig lived a difficult life, he often had to help his mother with her work as a maid, , and would skip school to help her do basic things like fold laundry, or make a delivery. His two sisters died of the measles and whooping cough, and his brother died at birth. Even with this tragedy, he was able to still thrive in life, exceling in sports, especially baseball obviously, and becoming one of the best Yankees to ever play. He is known especially for his exceptional hitting ability, nicknamed the ‘Iron Horse.” Gehrig left is mark on the team as well as the game of baseball, ultimately becoming the first player in Major League Baseball to have his number retired.

Lastly I learned that there are things in life that we cannot change and have no control over, but it’s truly important to accept these things, and keep a positive outlook on life and the cards that we are dealt.

As Gehrig grew older and became one of the most successful Yankees, he suddenly dealt with extreme physical changes and started playing at his all time worst. Knowing instinctively that these physical changes in performance were more than just a baseball player’s career coming to an end, he flew to the Mayo Clinic to figure out what was wrong with him. He was diagnosed with amyotophic lateral sclerosis more commonly known and Lou Gehrig’s disease now. The prognosis was grim: rapidly increasing paralysis, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, and a life expectancy of less than three years. Gehrig would have to retire from baseball, and at just the age of 36 years old, he had to face the fact that his life was coming to an end…these were the cards that he was dealt

For those of you who know baseball, the Yankees, or have seen the movie The Pride Of The Yankees, based on Lou Gehrig, perhaps these words will ring a bell:

“Today, I consider myself, the luckiest man, on the face of the Earth”

This was the beginning of Gehrig’s speech on July 4th, 1939 the day he retired from the Yankees.  Gehrig spoke about how although he had a “bad break” how lucky he was to be a Yankee, as well as how thankful to have the people he loves and who love him, in his life.

He closed his speech by saying these words:

“ I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

We all can learn from Lou Gehrig and his example. He knew how detrimental the disease he had was, yet instead of being bitter, he was positive, accepting, and truly thankful for the life he had.

Lou Gehrig died on June 2nd 1941 at the age of 37, but his baseball legacy, as well as his life example still lives on

I never though that blogging about the Yankees would come to teach me so much about life but it has, and I hope to leave you all today with this thought: to embrace your life, no matter what circumstances you have, accept the cards you have been dealt, and strive to overcome all obstacles, as well as follow your dreams no matter how large they may seem. Thank you.

Lou Gehrig

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“Today, I consider myself, the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”- Lou Gehrig 

I can remember when I was 6 years old I went to my grandpa’s house with my mom and we watched “The Pride of The Yankees. ” This was probably the first time  in my life that I realized baseball was more than just a sport, and fell in love with not only the team, but my grandpa’s favorite ballplayer-Lou Gehrig.

Lou Gehrig played 17 seasons in Major League  Baseball for the New York Yankees as their first baseman, and was nicknamed “The Iron Horse” due to his mastery as a hitter for the team.

In the year 1903, Gehrig was born in East Harlem Manhattan, the son of two German Immigrants. His mother was a maid and due to his father’s alcoholism, which kept him out of work and such, was the breadwinner of the family. Gehrig was very close with his mother and always with her, helping her with her work such as doing laundry and completing errands.

Gehrig attended Columbia University on a football scholarship, but was urged by the New York Giants manager to play professional baseball in a summer league under a different name. Knowing this could jeopardize his chances of playing collegiate sports, Gehrig decided to go ahead and play baseball.

It’s a good thing he did because his talent was for the sport was unbelievable.

Gehrig joined the New York Yankees during the 1923 season, making his Major League Baseball debut as a pinch hitter on June 15th 1923.

In the year 1927, Gehrig had one of the greatest seasons of any batter in baseball history. With an average of .373, with 218 hits: 52 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, a then-record 175 runs batted in that season. This was an amazing accomplishment for Gehrig, and his efforts an amazing hitting ability played a major role in the Yanks winning the World Series in 1927 and was named league MVP that year.

As Gehrig’s career progressed, her proved time and time again that he was a valuable asset to the team-in the year 1932, Gehrig was the first player in the 20th century to hit 4 home runs in a single game.

Gehrig held the record of most consecutive games played, 2130 to be exact-until Cal Ripkin Jr. broke this record in 1995

As Gehrig grew older and became one of the most successful Yankees, he suddenly dealt with extreme physical changes and started playing at his all time worst. Knowing instinctively that these physical changes in performance were more than just a baseball player’s career coming to an end, he flew to the Mayo Clinic to figure out what was wrong with him. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known and Lou Gehrig’s disease now. The prognosis was not promising: rapidly increasing paralysis, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, and a life expectancy of less than three years. Gehrig would have to retire from baseball, and at just the age of 36 years old, he had to face the fact that his life was coming to an end.

Only July 4th, 1939, his retirement was honored in Yankee Stadium and that is where Gehrig gave his famous speech, “today, I consider myself, the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He became the first baseball player to have their number retired.

Lou Gehrig died on June 2nd 1941 at the age of 37, but his baseball legacy, as well as his life example still lives on, and it is agreed on by most that Lou Gehrig was one of the best baseball players to ever live.lou-gehrig-540x403

 

Derek Jeter

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The current captain of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter, was born on June 26th, 1974, and has played for 19 consecutive seasons on the team. One of the most respected and well admired players in all of Major League Baseball, Jeter is centrally recognized as one of the key players during the Yankee’s success in the 90’s and early 2000’s for his amazing hitting ability as well as leadership skills.

He was born in New Jersey, but moved to Michigan when he was just four years old. He spent his summers in New Jersey, attending Yankee games with his grandparents, which is where he first became a fan and realized that one day, he dreamed to be a baseball player as well.

He played both basketball and baseball in high school, and on his school’s baseball team he had posted extremely high batting average all throughout his career, causing become one of the baseball high school players in all of Michigan.

He was chosen in the 1992 draft by the New York Yankees and played 4 seasons of Minor League Baseball. Early in the 1995 season due to injuries of two current players on the Yankees, Jeter was moved up to the major leagues., making his debut on May 29th, 1995.

On opening day in 1996, Jeter was the first rookie to start at shortstop on the Yankees since the year 1962. It was in this first game that Jeter hit his first Major League home run. He had a great rookie season with a batting average of .314, 10 home runs, 78 RBIs and 104 runs scored.  It was also in this season where Jeter would win his first World Series Championship.

During the 1998 season, Derek Jeter was selected for his very first All-Star Game. He finished the regular 1998 season with a batting average of  .324, a league-leading 127 runs, 84 RBIs and 19 home runs. The Yankees won the World Series this season against the San Diego Padres and Jeter placed third in the voting for the American League Most Valuable Player.

In the 2000 season, Jeter batted the team best, with an average of .339 in the regular season, with 22 stolen bases as well as hitting 15 homeruns and having119 runs scored. He was the first Yankee to with the All Star Game MVP Award as well.  The Yankees went on to defeat the New York Mets in that World Series and Derek Jeter won the World Series MVP Award, making him the only player to ever win the All Star Game MVP Award and the World Series MVP Award in the same season.

During the 2009 season to present, Jeter has received two hitting milestones. The first being his 2,675th hit as a shortstop, and then becoming the all-time hit leader as a Yankee, beating Lou Geherig with 2,772 hits. During the 2009 post-season, he had a batting average of .407 during the World Series, which was his fifth World Series Championship as a Yankee.

Jeter is currently the last player in the Core Four to still be on the Yankees.  In the 2011 he received his 3,000th career hit. He finished the 2012 season with the most hits in the MLB and on Nov 1st 2013, Jeter signed a one-year contract for $12 million.

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Baseball Dictionary

So for the past few weeks I have been posting about Yankee Players and their careers on the team. But for many of you, you may not be familiar with all of the terms that I have been writing about. So I figured today I would post a quick baseball dictionary for those of you who do not understand some baseball terms and a quick refresher on those who do.

Ace- the starting pitcher on a team and usually the first pitcher in the team’s starting rotation

Battery- the term used to described a specific pitcher and catcher combination

Bullpen- the area where the relief players go to warm-up before entering the game

Bunt- when the batter squares-up with the plate and loosely hold the bat out in front of the plate to meet the ball so it doesn’t travel far, intentionally tapping the ball into play

Designated Hitter- the one player that goes in to bat in place of the pitcher

Ground Rule Double- when a player hits a ball and it bounces out of play into the stadium, the hitter is awarded two bases

On Base Percentage- the measure for how often a batter reaches base for any reason besides fielder’s obstruction, fielder’s choice, fielding error, or catcher’s interference.

Pickoff- when a pitcher throws a live ball to a fielder so the field can tag-out a base runner who is either leading-off or about to steal the next base

On-Deck- the next player in line to bat

Curse of the Bambino- refers to the superstition that the Boston Red Sox were unable to win the World Series for 86 years; the supposed curse was broken in 2004

Hitting Streak – refers to the number of consecutive games that a player gets at least one base hit

Checked Swing- happens when a batter begins to swing for the ball, but stops the swing in order to let the ball pass without hitting it

Blocking the Plate- technique usually performed by a catcher to prevent a runner from scoring

Infield Fly Rule- used to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping pop-ups in order to turn double plays.  If a batter hits a fly-ball to the infield, the batter is automatically out regardless of whether a payer catches the ball or not.

Stolen Base- happens when a player advances to another base while the pitcher is throwing the ball

The Core Four

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The “Core Four” is the nickname given to refer to the following four New York Yankee players: Andy Pettite, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. They all played together in the Minor Leagues and made their New York Yankee debut in the year 1995. Each one of these players was a beloved Yankee, and were a valuable part of the Yankees 90’s dynasty, in which they won four World Series Championships in five years.

These four players played together as a team for 17 consecutive years in a row, which is the longest in any North American professional sport for one specific group of people.

Derek Jeter is the curtain captain of the Yankees, but the only member of the “Core Four” to still be on the team. Both Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera retired from the Yankees after this past 2013 season, and Jorge Posada retired after the 2011 season.

“The Core Four” went through the 1990’s as a Unit going from the Minor Leagues all the way to the Major Leagues together. Initially they started playing together with the Class AAA Columbus Clippers of the International League in 1994.

During their time on the Oneonta Yankees of the Class A- Short Season new York Penn league, Posada who started as an infielders began to catch for his soon to be long time battery-partner Andy Pettite. One interesting story from their time on the minor leagues as a battery was when Andy Pettite threw to Posada his famous “knuckleball.” It was a great pitch but every time he threw it Jorge Posada would have major struggles to catch it. One time when Pettite threw it to Posada, it hit him directly in the knee and Pettite was forced to stop throwing that pitch.

After this time on this team, they were moved up to the Greensboro Hornets of the Class A South Atlantic League of 1992 where both Pettite and Posada met Derek Jeter. They were initially apprehensive about Jeter, unsure that all the hype around his talent was legitimate, but once they were on the field and saw his abilities, they were sure that he was going to be a great player, and together they would be able to take the Major League Baseball scene by storm. While on this tram they also met Mariano Rivera. Rivera and Jeter instantly built a relationship, and while Rivera was restrained to pitch under a certain amount (pitch count), Jeter was the one who was responsible for keeping count all the way from the field.

The history that these 4 players have together is phenomenal and each one has played a prominent role in the history of the New York Yankees. With Jeter being the only one left for this upcoming season, things definitely will not be the same.

Curtis Granderson

New York Yankees' Granderson poses during photo day at the team's spring training complex in TampaTHE GRANDYMAN CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This can be heard loud and proud throughout my house whenever the Yankees outfielder, Curtis Granderson hits a homerun in a game.

Curtis Granderson was born on March 16th, 1981 and has been on the New York Yankees since the 2010 season.  He was originally on the Detroit Tigers from the years 2004-2009 but was traded to the Yanks when the Tigers were trying to reduce their payroll. He was officially traded to the Yankees on December 9th, 2009 and would begin his great Yankee career that spring as a outfielder.

Although he was out for quite a few games due to a strained groin, the Grandyman hit a homerun during his very first at bat as a Yankee on April 4th, 2010.  He finished the 2010 season with 24 homeruns, a batting average of .246, and having had played 136 games.

In the 2011 season, Curtis Granderson was named American League Player of The Month in August. He had a batting average of 286, had ten homeruns, 29 RBI and scored 29 runs. Also that month after playing 115 games, he hit 30   received over 6.6 million votes for the MLB All-Star Game.  He also became the first player to hit 40 home runs, 10 triples, and steal 25 bases in one season

The 2012 season was one to remember as well. Granderson hit his 200th career home run against the Cleveland Indians and hit his 1000th hit against the KansasCity Royals.  That season he finished off with a batting average of .232 and 43 home runs.

He also finished the season with 106 RBI and set a new Yankee record by striking out 195 times in that season.

This past 2013 season the Grandyman fractured his forearm during spring training and was out until May 14th. He also was moved to right field and started on May 18th. On May 24th, 2013 he broke his knuckle and was put on the disabled list and came back on August 2nd.

According to a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated, Curtis Granderson was voted to be one of the friendliest players in Major League Baseball. A fun fact about Granderson is that he is one of the only players in the major leagues to still wear high socks, which he does to honor players from the Negro Leagues

MLB: New York Yankees-Photo Day.

Robinson Cano

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Today I will blog about my most favorite player on the Yankees, Robinson Cano.  I love Cano not only because he is an awesome player, but he is always smiling. He is described to be one of the gentlest, most friendly people you could meet and always has a huge smile on his face.

RobinsonCano is the second baseman for the Yanks, and was born onOctober 22, 1982 in the Dominican Republic.

Cano is named after baseball legend, Jackie Robinson-

sporting a reverse 42 (24) as his number in his honor. He also comes from a baseball-oriented family, in fact his father, Jose Cano, signed with the Houston Astros in 1980 and pitched 6 games for them in 1989. Jose Cano always knew his son had great talent and pushed him to succeed in baseball.

On May 3, 2005, Cano was called up to the Major Leagues after playing 4 years in the minors. He hit his first career grand slam that year, and was hitting .330 with 108 at-bats. He finished second in the American League Rookie of The Year Ballot as well.

In the year 2006, Cano led the league in batting averages, doubles, and runs batted in. He was awarded American League Player of the month in September. He finished the year with the third best batting average in the American League, and 9th in the American league with doubles-and received 3 votes for American League MVP.

In the year 2007, Cano finished with a batting average of .300, 6th in the league inthe number of games played with 160 and 9th in the league for tipples with 7. Also, he finished 10th in hits, doubles, an

d at bats that season as well, making him the only batter in the top 10 for doubles in both 2006&2007.

In 2008, Cano did well, but one of my favorite moments of that season was him hitting the last walk-off hit in Yankee Stadium history in the bottom of the 9th, giving the Yanks the win. The following day, he got the last RBI in Yankee Stadium history.

In 2009, Cano had a batting average of .320 with 204 hits (third in the league and first for all second baseman), 85 RBIs and 25 homeruns.  He also ranked in the top 10 for total bases, batting average, doubles, runs scored, triples, extra base hits, and at bats. He played in 161 games making him the player who played in the most games that season.

In 2010 Cano was elected the starting second baseman in th

e All Star Game, and became 5th in the batting order for the Yanks. He finished the season with a .996 fielding percentage which was the best in Major League Baseball. He won the American league Gold Glove Award for second baseman. He also won the American League Silver Slugger Award for a second baseman.

In 2011, Cano won the Home Run Derby, with his father Jose Cano pitching for him and set the record for homeruns in the final round with 12 and 4 outs remaining.

In 2012 reached his career high hitting streak with 23 games and finished the 2012 season with a batting average of .313, 48 doubles, 94 RBI and 33 home-runs.

This 2013 season he was elected as captain for the American League Home Run Derby and received his 200th career homerun.

 

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

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Paul O’Neill

 

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Ever since I was a little girl, I would go to my grandma’s house and she would talk about Paul O’Neil. Being a child I had no idea who this man was, all I knew was that she would joke with my grandpa when he would say that Shirley Temple was his first girlfriend, and my grandma would respond with, “Well George, Paul O’Neil is actually my true love.” There also was a little bobble head right above the sink of this New York Yankee Paul O’Neil, but still, all I knew was that he played baseball, and that he was “unbelievably handsome,” as my grandma would put it.

As I got older, I realized who he was- a beloved right fielder for the New York Yankees up until the year 2001.

He signed with the Yankees in the year 1993, and in his first year he played 141 games and had a batting average of .311. He also hit 20 homeruns and was beginning to feel at home with the Yankees after playing for 7 years on the Cincinnati Reds.  The 1994 season was shortened by the lockout. But once it was over, O’Neill proved himself to be an asset to the Yanks, winning the batting title with a batting average of .359, 83 RBI’s and 21 homeruns.  In 1996, he reached a career high of 102 walks, had a batting average of  .302 and 19 homeruns.  During Game 5 of the World Series that year, O’Neill ended the game; preventing an extra base hit-the Yankees won that World Series. His success continued, but not only did fans love him for his baseball ability the loved his dedication. In the year 1999, just hours after his father died, O’Neill played in Game 4 of the World Series which the Yankees would go on to win with a sweep to the Braves. He finished his Major League Baseball Career in 2001,-with a batting average of .267, 21 homeruns, and 70 RBI. In game 5 of the World Series, O’Neill was on right field during the 9th inning and the Yankees were down 2-0. The entire stadium was chanting his name, and he was very teary eyed when he tipped his cap. The Yankees won that game 3-2 but ultimately lost the series. His number 21 has only been worn once on the Yankees since his retirement, but due to angry fans, the player changed his number, and fans hope for one day, his number to be retired. He was truly loved by all.

Although Paul O’Neill was extremely successful, he was the type of player that was very hard on himself. It was not uncommon for O’Neill to throw water jugs, or throw the bat when he was angry. He wanted to perform to the best of his ability. He also would sometimes get frustrated with umpires and lash out in this same way. He also would every so often get into an argument with an umpire and it would escalate. During the 1996 season, O’Neill disagreed with the umpires saying that the pitch was high and inside. While this was happening, the catcher for the other team on Seattle, John Marzano hit O’Neill with a haymaker. This caused for a major brawl, O”Neill was much bigger than Marzano and soon both benches cleared. O’Neill received some criticism from fans as well as praise for his hard attitude. Some felt that he was a little ridiculous at times; others felt that he was just in love with the sport and really wanted to excel.

He was considered to be the “heart-and-soul” of the New York Yankees during the 1990’s. He is also nicknamed ‘Warrior” by the Yankees old owner George Steinbrenner, for his extreme love, passion and dedication to the team and to the game of baseball.

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Andy Pettite

New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte throws against the Minnesota Twins

As baseball season draws closer to a close, so do some players careers. Now, I blogged last week about Mariano Rivera who is retiring, but he is not the only person that Yankee fans have to say goodbye to after this season-we also will be saying goodbye to another pitcher, a starter…. Andy Pettite.

Andy Pettite was born on June 15th, 1972 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the youngest of two children. He played baseball for Deer Park High School in Texas and  was one of the best on his team. With a fastball  that ranged from 85-87 miles per hour, he was chosen in the 22nd round of 1990 Major League Baseball Draft. He attended junior college, and the Yankees reserved the right to sign him as a daft and follow-up prospect, and he did just that in May of 1991.

He made his major league debut with the New York Yankees on April 29th 1995, but went back down to the minor leagues that May. Just 11 days later he was brought back up and became a member of the starting pitching rotation., and on June 7th of that year, he received his first major league win.  He placed third in the ballot for Rookie of The Year as well.

In the 1996 season, Pettite started, and had a 13-4 record for the first half of the season. He led the American League with 21 wins, and had a winning percentage of (.724), finishing third.  He started in Game One of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves where he didn’t do so well but ended up doing amazing in Game Five, outdueling the Braves pitcher, and the Yankee won the World Series, four games to two.

The following year, Pettite tied for first in games, led the league in pickoffs, and in double plays. That season the Yankees won the World Series again, and Pettite won his only start of the series as well.

His success continued on, finishing third in wins in the American League in the 2000 season, sixth in winning percentage, and seventh in complete games. That year he won another World Series Title with the Yankees.  In 2001, he was named MVP in the ALCS.

In the year 2003, Pettite became a free agent. he felt that it was time he started to play closer to home, and became a part of the Houston Astros.

After the 2006 season, Pettite left the Astros and signed a one year contract with the New York Yankees, and won his 200th Career win as a Yankee on September 19th. In the year 2008, Pettite signed another one-year contract with the Yanks, and was the last starting pitcher at the old Yankee Stadium and received his 2000th career strikeout in the second inning of that game-a miraculous moment. Over fourteen seasons, he averaged 185 strikeouts a season.

In the year 2009, Pettite signed another one-year contract with the Yankees, and began the season as the fourth pitcher in the starting roster. He also was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the ALCS on October 5th, 2009-clinching the series and to play in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the winning pitcher of game 3 of that series, and scored in his first post season run. Not only was he the winning pitcher of game 3, he was also the winning pitcher of Game 6.

He became a free agent in 2009, and signed another one-year contract with the Yanks with a contract that was worth $11.75 million.

In February of 2001, Pettite announced his retirement and agreed to join the Yankees in 2012 as a guest instructor at spring training.  While at Spring training, he felt that he wasn’t don yet and signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. He resigned with the Yankees in 2013-making fans everywhere excited to have their starter back, for a one-year, $12 million contract. On July1st, he became the Yankees all time strikeout leader, surpassing Whitey Ford with 1,958 strikeouts and struck out his 2000th batter as a Yankee on September 6th.

Pettite announced his retirement on September 20th, 2013 with the encouragement of Mariano Rivera to announce it before the end of the season. He pitched his last regular season start at Yankee Stadium on September 22nd, and pitched his last major league game yesterday, September 28th, 2013…. pitching a complete game and receiving a victory.

Thank you Andy for a great Yankee Career, you will be missed!

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Mariano Rivera Day

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Last week, I blogged about one of the best players in all of Yankee history, Babe Ruth. Today I thought that it would be more than appropriate to blog about one of the New York Yankee’s best players currently, he is a pitcher, a closer to be more specific, probably the most respected player in baseball at this time, and he is in his last season…. for those of you who haven’t guessed-it is Mariano Rivera.

Mariano Rivera (Nicknamed “Mo”) was born on November 29th, 1969 in Panama. He has played 19 seasons of Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He is a 13-time All Star, and 5-time World Series Champion.

Today at Yankee Stadium it was “Mariano Rivera Day” in which they honored Mariano Rivera and his unbelievable career. In New York City, the Mayor, Mike Bloomberg declared today “Mariano Rivera Day” as well. Jackie Robinson’s family came to the stadium to honor MO as well. Mariano Rivera is the only player in baseball to wear the number 42-besides Jackie Robinson, and today the New York Yankees retired that number. A pinstriped “42” now hangs in Monument Park along with other Yankee icons.  The New York Yankees presented Mariano Rivera with an $100,000 check for the Mariano Rivera Foundation. The Yankees also presented him with a crystal replica of his glove. Old players came out to honor the closer such as Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, and Bernie Williams. Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter, and manager, Joe Girardi presented Mo with a rocking chair made out of bats. The Band “Metallica” also came and sang “Enter Sandman” live. For those of you who don’t know, whenever Mo is called from the bullpen to come to the mound, that is the song that plays, so if you folks were on twitter today a #ExitSandman was trending. Every base had the number 42 on it as well. Mariano Rivera got on to the mound and spoke to the crowd on is overwhelming love and appreciation for them.

“To you fans, thank you for many years of support. It’s been a great run, guys. You have always been here. I will never forget that.” – Mo

“I love you guys. Thank you very much.” -Mo

And with that, the “Mariano” chanted around the Stadium.

It’s truly bittersweet that Mariano’s inspiring career is coming to an end, but all good things do. He will be missed by all the fans and will always be remembered as one of the greatest ballplayers the Yankees will ever have.

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