The Boston Red Sox will honor New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before Sunday's game, which will be Mariano's last game at Fenway Park, barring a playoff match up (not likely, though). Rivera announced before this season started that he would be retiring at the end of the season. It's the ultimate gesture of respect when your arch rivals honors you with a pregame ceremony. It shows the impact you've made on the game of baseball when you are being honored at the All Star game and then your greatest rival honors you at the end of the season.
Mariano is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, no question about it. He's also the greatest closer in the game, recording 651 career saves and 1170 career strikeouts, according to ESPN. He's also pitched 96 games for 141.0 innings, 110 strikeouts, and a .70 ERA with 42 saves in the postseason, which resulted in 5 championships according to ESPN. You could point to a couple times when the Red Sox seemed to have his number, like in 2004 when we got to him in game 4 en route to pulling off one of the greatest comebacks ever, but he's still a Hall of Famer. You can't argue with numbers, especially in the postseason. And he's accomplished all of this with just one pitch! Think about that. His cutter has been his signature pitch, and it's been almost unstoppable. Even when teams know it's coming, they can't stop it, and it's resulted in numerous broken bats (see: the broken bat rocking chair the Minnesota Twins gave him). Love the Yankees or hate them, you can't deny that this guy is a legend and he deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown.