The New York Yankees celebrated the Hall of Fame induction of Mariano Rivera on Saturday, welcoming the legendary closer back to the mound.
Rivera threw out the first pitch to his oldest son, Mariano Jr., before the Yankees faced the Cleveland Indians. Co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner also presented Rivera with a check for $250,000 to be put toward a learning center the Mariano Rivera Foundation is building in New Rochelle, N.Y.
His family and former Yankees manager Joe Torre were among those joining Rivera on the field, while longtime teammates Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada paid tribute via video. The Yankees gathered in the dugout to watch as Rivera was driven around the warning track, and Indians manager Terry Francona and several of his players also listened as Rivera spoke.
“I’m glad I did OK,” Rivera told the crowd.
Rivera was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., last month, the first player ever elected unanimously.
In a news conference after the ceremony, Rivera talked about the state of the 2019 Yankees, pronouncing them primed to bring the World Series trophy back to the Bronx for the first time since 2009 — a title run that ended with him on the mound.
“The only thing that will stop them is God and themselves,” Rivera said. “They have everything to do it. I don’t see why not. It’s time for the championship to go back to New York.”
Despite being plagued by injuries throughout the season, the Yankees entered play Saturday at 82-42, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the major leagues.
The Yankeese topped the Indians 6-5 on Saturday.
—Field Level Media