Although Mariano Rivera has been arguably the American League’s most dominant reliever over the past decade, there is one thing that makes him no different than any other pitcher: He loves to bat. When Rivera recorded the 500th save of his standout career last Sunday, he was more excited about collecting his first RBI in 14 years with the New York Yankees.
The 39-year-old Rivera batted for only the third time since 1996 because the Yanks were playing their crosstown rival New York Mets at Citi Field. Rivera came up to bat against Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Rivera worked a seven-pitch walk to drive in an insurance run and went on to wrap up the Yanks’ 4-2 win over the Mets, thus becoming the first American League pitcher to reach 500 saves. Milwaukee’s Trevor Hoffman is tops all-time with 571 saves.
Afterwards, Rivera said, “The RBI was the best. It was my first RBI. I’ve had 500 saves.”