Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the guest of honor as MLB.com analyst Ed Randall hosted a "Fans 4 the Cure" panel discussion on Tuesday night at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York City to raise funds for prostate cancer education.
Rivera was joined on the panel by former teammates David Cone and John Flaherty, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild. The group reflected on the work ethic and storied career of the all-time saves leader's 18 years in the Majors.
Rivera's ex-batterymate Flaherty recalled facing Rivera as an opponent while with the Tigers in the 1990s.
"I'm on deck at Yankee Stadium and I'm sizing him up -- a nice easy delivery," said Flaherty. "All he's throwing are fastballs in warm-ups, and I'm like, 'Oh, boy. This is where I'm going to make my living, on guys like this.'
"I remember standing in the box -- the first pitch -- and before I can even get ready, the ball was by me. And it was that reality -- like he's making it look like he's not even working and the ball is jumping out of his hand. Three pitches and I was back in the dugout."
The 43-year-old Rivera, who tore his right ACL last May while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City, is on the comeback trail after appearing in just nine games in 2012.
"When you walk into that [Yankees] clubhouse ... it's different, and it's different because of guys like Mo," said Rothschild, noting the confidence a club gains from having a legendary closer like Rivera.