There were plenty of tears and cheers last night in Yankees Stadium. Mariano Rivera, the best closer in the history of baseball, had thrown his last pitch at home. And sure, it wasn’t the best of circumstances: the Yankees were about to lose to the Tampa Bay Rays in a game that didn’t matter, as the team would be left out of the playoffs for the second time in the last 19 years. On the other hand, it was perfect. Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte — who came up with Mo in 1995, and along with Jorge Posada constituted the club’s legendary “Core Four” — approached the mound to remove Rivera in the bottom of the ninth. The crowd erupted, expressing their gratitude while also saying goodbye.
What’s remarkable about Rivera’s stellar 19-year career — during which he logged thirteen all-star appearances and collected five World Series rings — is that owes all his success to just one pitch: the cut fastball. He’s amassed a record 652 saves and holds the lowest post-season E.R.A. at 0.70. At the age of 43, Rivera’s cutter is as deadly as ever, but he’s chosen to walk away from the game on his own terms. Nike pays tribute to the future Hall of Famer an exclusive pack entitled “Sierra Circular,” or “circular saw,” named after his famous pitch. The inscription on the box reads:
Mo, Thank You for the Ride.
Thanks for the stunning saves and clutch wins.
Thanks for the starts when you started, and thank you for closing like no one ever has.
Thanks for the amazing composure, and the cutter.
More than all of that, thank you, Mariano, for doing it the right way.
Thank you for playing with the integrity the number 42 deserves.
You always won – and lost – with dignity. And you always inspired so
many with your game, and so many more with the way you played it.
The pack is made up of the following:
- A custom Destroyer Jacket featuring the words “Sierra Circular,” the number 42 on the right chest, the American Flag with Phil 4:13 verse on the right sleeve and the Flag of Panama on the left sleeve. The back of the jacket is inscribed with “Cortador” (cutter) and an interlocking Rivera logo.
- A Mariano custom cleat features the number 42 on the tongue and sockliner. The American flag is highlighted under the tongue flap of the right shoe and the Flag of Panama is featured under the tongue flap of the left shoe.
- A Nike Pro Gold Tradition glove is inscribed with his name and jersey number.
- Nike TR MAX 360 features a silver Nike swoosh and “Sierra circular” on the heel and “Cortador” on the tab. The American flag is embossed on the inside of the tongue of the right shoe and the Flag of Panama is on the inside of the tongue on the left shoe.
- Nike cotton men’s short sleeve tee with reflective print.
- Nike True Fitted wool blend hat with reflective “MO42” applique on the front, NY logo and “Cortador” on the sides and Nike Swoosh on the back.