Humble as ever, Mariano Rivera began his special day by paying tribute to a hall of famer.
The New York Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 Sunday, and the great reliever honored Jackie Robinson during a ceremony in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.
Robinson’s No. 42 was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the day the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman broke baseball’s color barrier. Players wearing 42 at the time were grandfathered.
“It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be the last player to ever wear number 42,” Rivera said during the 50-minute ceremonies before the last regular-season day home game of his 19-season career.
As Rivera stood nearby, Robinson’s wife, Rachel, unveiled a plaque dedicated to Jackie. Then with his wife and three sons, Rivera uncovered his number — changed from Robinson’s Dodger Blue to Yankees navy — that will be on display in Monument Park alongside the 15 other retired Yankees numbers, honoring 16 players and managers.
Before a sellout crowd, the Yankees staged a sort of this is your baseball life pageant for Rivera. Several of Rivera’s former teammates were on hand, including Core Four member Jorge Posada, who in a role reversal threw a ceremonial first pitch that Rivera caught. Former manager Joe Torre also was on hand along with Gene Michael, the general manager at the time Rivera signed with the organization in 1990.
After video highlights of a 19-year big-league career that includes a record 652 saves, a recording of Yankees longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced Rivera.
Then the bullpen door swung open and the first chords of Enter Sandman, rang out. Only this time the song that for more than a decade almost always indicated the end of the game for New York’s opponent was being played live.
Metal icon “Metallica” performed their hit from a stage in center field, lead singer James Hetfield crying out, “For you Mariano.”
Instead of jogging in from the bullpen, Rivera slowly walked to the infield.
Rays recall pitcher Romero
The Tampa Bay Rays have recalled pitcher Enny Romero from Triple-A Durham to make his major-league debut against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays made the move to allow the 22-year-old to pitch in Sunday’s game between AL wild-card contenders.
Romero went 11-7 with Double-A Montgomery before joining Durham for one regular-season start Sept. 2.
Red Sox laud Yastrzemski
The Boston Red Sox honored hall of famer Carl Yastrzemski with a statue outside the right field entrance of Fenway Park on Sunday morning. Former teammates on hand included hall of famer Jim Rice, outfielder Dwight Evans, Bill Lee and Luis Tiant. Current Red Sox players Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and manager John Farrell were also there.