Rachel Robinson congratulates all-time saves leader on stellar career
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera retired the side in order and struck out two in the ninth inning to notch his 34th save of the year and the 642nd of his historic career as New York blanked Los Angeles, 3-0, at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. The all-time saves leader, who will retire after this season, also received kind praise from Rachel Robinson, the widow of Hall of Famer and pioneer Jackie Robinson.
"I wanted to add a special greeting to the last player to wear the No. 42," Robinson said in a video directed to Rivera. "When Major League Baseball retired Jack's number in 1997, there were 13 players still wearing it. You have worn the number with class and dignity, and I believe you have added to the historic significance of that number."
Rivera, who met with Dodgers employees prior to Wednesday's series finale, has referred to wearing the number as a privilege in the past, and he has expressed his admiration and respect for Jackie's journey and the influence it left.
"Me being the last player to wear it, it's a challenge to keep the legacy that Mr. Jackie did, not only what he went through on the field, but off the field. The kind of person that he was, it's great," Rivera told MLB.com on Jackie Robinson Day in April.
"I'm sure that if Jack had seen you play he would have been proud to have his number worn by you, although he probably would [have] wished that it was for a team other than the Yankees," Robinson joked. "Congratulations on your amazing playing career and good luck with your future endeavors."
With Wednesday's performance, the 43-year-old Rivera lowered his ERA to 1.60. He has a 2-2 record with 34 saves in 36 opportunities in 39 1/3 innings this season.