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By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor - Archive - Email
End of an era in the Bronx
(L-R) Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte & Derek Jeter This chapter in Yankees' history closed when Mariano Rivera walked off the mound Thursday.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Mariano Rivera's career wasn't the only thing that ended on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

The New York Yankees' nearly two-decade run of dominance also came to a close.

Honestly, it's been decaying for a while now, but seeing Rivera walk off the field cemented the fact that things are never going to be the same in the Bronx.

The heralded "Core Four" of Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter, is down to one and the face of the franchise is now a player in Robinson Cano, who is reportedly seeking over $300 million this coming winter as a free agent.

In case you were wondering, Rivera has earned just under $170 million over the course of his amazing 19-year career.

ESPN's Buster Olney wrote a book centered around the fact that the Yankees' dynasty ended the night that Rivera blew the save in Game 7 of the World Series in Arizona back in 2001.

He was wrong, it died on Thursday.

Jeter is now the only one left. And as much credit as Jeter gets and as loved as he is, it's always been Rivera who has been the driving force behind the Yankees' success. The Yankees will certainly find an everyday shortstop long before they find a closer who will be as dominant for over as long of a period of time as Rivera.

Yes, this chapter in Yankees' history closed when Rivera walked off the mound after being embraced by the also-retiring Andy Pettitte and Jeter.

You want another clue? The Yankees are going to be cutting payroll next year!

It's a shame that for a pitcher whose legacy was defined with the way he played in October, Rivera won't be pitching this postseason. Instead, he closes his career against an Astros team that is in the midst of its worst- ever season and one that last week produced a 0.0 in television ratings.

You won't hear too many complaints from Rivera, who has pitched in the postseason 16 times in his remarkable 19 year career.

And boy did he pitch.

As impressive as the 652 regular-season saves are for Rivera, it's the 42 that he has in the postseason that separates himself from just about anyone who has ever pitched in October.

Comparing Rivera to anyone in the postseason is ridiculous. It's his domain. He's appeared in 96 games and has pitched to a 0.70 ERA. He's so good that his blown saves have become actual events. He has thrown 141 postseason innings with just one loss.

That's right, one loss. He's about the closest thing to automatic as there has been.

Rivera will likely pitch at some point in Houston this weekend, probably on Sunday when the Astros are set to honor him in a ceremony that will also include former teammate Roger Clemens, as well as Joe Torre.

In fact New York manager Joe Girardi hinted that baseball's all-time saves leader may play some center field, something Rivera has stated that wanted to do before his career was over.

"In my mind, thinking that he's going to want to pitch, it would be a situation that I might bring him in (in) the eighth to play the outfield and close him out in the ninth if we have that opportunity," Girardi said of having Rivera play the field.

Either way, after he closes the door on his legendary career in Houston, his next stop will be Cooperstown. And it's not a matter of if, it'll be a matter of how close he was to being the first-ever unanimous selection.

They say that every time you go to a ballpark you are going to see something you've never seen before. Well anyone who has seen Rivera pitch can certainly say that because you will never see another pitcher like him.

Ever.


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