Ring in the holiday weekend with a young Mariano Rivera's best start (?!) as a Yankee
Before the countless postseason heroics, before any of the record 652 saves, before he became one of the most beloved Yankees ever, Mariano Rivera was just a prospect from Panama trying to catch on in New York as a starter.
And as a rookie in 1995, it was not going well: Over his first four starts, Mo sported a 10.20 ERA and had given up almost two hits per inning. But on July 4 against the White Sox, it all finally clicked, and the world saw its first glimpse of what would make Rivera the greatest reliever of all time.
Behold: the command, the Robin Ventura sighting. It's all so beautiful:
Rivera spun eight shutout innings in all, walking four and giving up just two hits -- both to Frank Thomas and his 1.153 OPS, which, fair enough -- while striking out 11.
Mo would soon move to the bullpen as the Yankees made their playoff push that fall and would make the switch permanently in '96, serving as John Wetteland's setup man and never looking back. Still, this was 20 years ago, and Mo was already 25 -- he would pitch for 18 more seasons after that start and would never be anything less than dominant.