Rivera was Mussina's closer for eight seasons from 2001-08, during their days together with the Yankees. And so it will be when the induction ceremony plays out in front of what is expected to be a record crowd of over 75,000 at the Clark Sports Center.
MLB Network’s coverage of the 2019 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin today at 11 a.m. ET and be streamed live on MLB.com.
Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines, Lee Smith and the late Roy Halladay will also be inducted.
“We thought it was appropriate when they did it that way, that I would go first and he’d go last,” Mussina said. “Because we’re basically talking about starters, DHs and closers. That’s who we have going this year.”
Rivera, however, wanted to do a little negotiating.
“He wanted to see if I’d be willing to trade with him, and I said, ‘No, I want to go first,’” Mussina said with a smile. “[Mariano] and I are able to go back and forth like that. We always have. Even when you haven’t seen somebody for years, it’s fun. It’s just worked somehow.
“We spent a lot of time in the same outfield shagging fly balls or just talking about baseball or whatever. We have a really good relationship.”
Mussina said Rivera’s motivation to swap spots was simple.
“I just think he didn’t want to sit up there that whole time and go sixth,” Mussina said. “That’s what I think. So I told him to do what he did in the regular season and wait until the seventh-inning stretch inside somewhere and then come out on stage and it’ll be the same.
“I also told him when I’m done, I’m going to leave -- because that’s what [happened whenever I came out of the game]. I’d come inside, go in the locker room and take a shower. He said that’s OK, as long as he doesn’t have to come out until Bernie [Williams] plays the seventh-inning stretch.”
Williams, a former teammate of both Rivera and Mussina, is an accomplished jazz guitarist and will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
Both Mussina and Rivera will still be around to see it.
Mussina spent his first 10 seasons with the Orioles, before finishing his career with the Yankees. He’s chosen to go into the Hall of Fame without either team’s logo on his cap -- the same decision Halladay’s family made because he split his career with two clubs.
According to Mussina, that was an easy decision on his part.
“Both organizations were tremendously involved in this, and I just don’t feel right picking one over the other,” he said. “So the decision to go in without one logo versus the other logo, it’s the only decision that I can make that I feel good about.”