Exit Sandman

Mariano Rivera leaves the diamond for one last time

Mariano Rivera takes one last memorable walk off the field at Yankee Stadium

Mariano Rivera takes one last memorable walk off the field at Yankee Stadium

On May 23rd, 1995 Mariano Rivera made his first major league appearance. Since that day, Rivera has compiled an MLB record 652 saves, over 1,100 strike outs and a career ERA of 2.05. He is widely regarded as the best closer to ever step foot on a baseball diamond. Rivera is a legendary player, and this year will be the last time he ever steps on the field.

Last year, some thought Mariano Rivera would hang up the cleats, but his season was cut short by a torn ACL and he wanted to end his career with a full season. He came roaring back this season, posting 44 saves and striking out 54 batters. It was a good season to end a historic career.

Rivera has done it all in his career, from making 13 All-Star Games to being a World Series MVP. Rivera won an impressive five World Series while with the Yankees. He is at the top in nearly every record he is eligible for. He is one of the most accomplished pitchers to ever play the game.

On Thursday, September 26th, Rivera pitched his last game in Yankee Stadium. It was an astonishingly memorable night.

In the top of the 8th inning, Rivera started warming up in the bull-pen. Fans immediately started chanting “MA-RI-A-NO!” repeatedly. Manager Joe Girardi went out to the mound and called Rivera in. Rivera’s signature walk-in song, Enter Sandman, began to play.

Rivera went in and did what he has done so many times, getting his first batter out with just one pitch, then retiring the second not much long after. Rivera then surprisingly came back out to pitch the start of the ninth. He recorded two quit outs and then something memorable for the ages happened.

Out of the Yankees’ dugout came Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite. All three were a part of the same draft class and had become immensely close over the years. Pettite called for a relief pitcher to come in and replace Rivera. As the relief pitcher arrived, Rivera embraced Pettite and then Jeter, not even attempting to hold back all the tears.

Rivera then walked off the mound for one last time. The reaction was one that looked like it came right out of a movie. It was the loudest Yankee Stadium got all night, and it erupted the whole time Rivera walked off. He did a customary wave of the cap, and then as easily as he walked onto the field every night, he walked off for good.

Yankees fans had heard Enter Sandman over a thousand times while Rivera walked onto that mound, but they would no longer hear that tune. It was a historic end to a historic career. Exit Sandman.