The greatest relief pitcher of all time shares his extraordinary story of survival, love, and baseball.
Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn't even own his own glove. He thought he might make a good mechanic. When discovered, he had never flown in an airplane, had never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and couldn't imagine Tampa, the city where he was headed to begin a career that would become one of baseball's most iconic.
What he did know: that he loved his family and his then girlfriend, Clara, that he could trust in the Lord to guide him, and that he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time. With astonishing candor, Rivera tells the story of the championships, the bosses (including The Boss), the rivalries, and the struggles of being a Latino baseball player in the United States and of maintaining Christian values in professional athletics.
The thirteen-time All-Star discusses his drive to win; the secrets behind his legendary composure; the story of how he discovered his cut fastball; the untold, pitch-by-pitch account of the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2001 World Series; and why the lowest moment of his career became one of his greatest blessings. In The Closer, Rivera takes readers into the Yankee clubhouse, where his teammates are his brothers. But he also takes us on that jog from the bullpen to the mound, where the game -- or the season -- rests squarely on his shoulders.
We come to understand the laserlike focus that is his hallmark, and how his faith and his family kept his feet firmly on the pitching rubber. Many of the tools he used so consistently and gracefully came from what was inside him for a very long time -- his deep passion for life; his enduring commitment to Clara, whom he met in kindergarten; and his innate sense for getting out of a jam. When Rivera retired, the whole world watched -- and cheered. In The Closer, we come to an even greater appreciation of a legend built from the ground up.
From humble roots in Panama, Mariano "Mo" Rivera went on to become the greatest closer in baseball history, notching 652 total saves, 13 all-star appearances, and five World Series rings with the New York Yankees over 18 seasons. But in this entertaining, admirably subdued autobiography, the glory is God's: Rivera's story brims with examples of his faith. Sure, there is plenty of baseball for fans to feast on, too. The pitcher tells stories about his teammates (including Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and Joe Torre); championship moments, including the 2000 subway series against the Mets, and the startling game-seven loss in 2001 to the Arizona Diamondbacks; as well as instances of heated pitching rivalries against the Red Sox. He also recalls struggling through injuries, including an elbow issue that threatened his career early on and a blown knee that almost ended his career in 2012. Intensely competitive and a gifted athlete, Rivera will delight baseball fans. But the memories recounted here both on the field and off ultimately reveal something deeper: Rivera's almost incredible humility, unshakeable faith, and devotion to his family (he married his childhood sweetheart, Clara). In an age of bravado and bluster in professional sports, he is one of the few athletes who has earned a right to brag. Yet Rivera's elegance and class manage to somehow outshine his accomplishments.
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The Closer - Review by Ron Aaron Eisenberg
That we know how the book ends takes little away from the masterful telling of Mariano Rivera's story. He was and is one of a kind and his commitment to life and baseball and The Lord sparkle on every page.
Sure this is a baseball book. But it is so much more. Thank you Mariano for giving your all at "the office" every time they asked you to do so.
I want my kids (Reagan, 2-1/2), and twins Carter and Kennedy (13 months) to enjoy this book as much as I did. I will read it to them often.