Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 7/26/13
Mlb_may_08_a317
Mariano Rivera's farewell tour has been a non-stop ceremony of memorable gift-giving.  The whimsical — a gold-record of "Enter Sandman" from the Indians — and the humorous — the Twins rocking chair made of broken bats —  but,  if you believe the soon to be retired closer,  it was a presentation from the Texas Rangers and his "mentor" that might have touched Rivera's heart the most. On Thursday, the Rangers gave Rivera a cowboy hat, a pair of cowboy boots inscribed with the Yankees logo and a check for his foundation, but it was one of the men making the presentation former Yankees closer John Wetteland who made it a special day for the retiring pitcher. “It was wonderful,” Rivera said. “It was great to see him. Him being my mentor when he was there with us, to see him again, it was great. We chat a little bit, talk about all those old times, moments.” Wetteland who delayed a fishing trip to attend Thursday’s ceremony served as the Yankees’ closer in 1995-96, leading the American League with 43 saves and winning World Series MVP honors during the Yankees’ 1996 championship season. “I wasn’t going to miss today, period,” Wetteland said. “That’s not going to happen. Obviously I love Mariano to death and there’s a lot of history there; a lot of great moments, a lot of neat things shared.” He remembers Rivera being “hittable” as a starter in 1995, but once the young pitcher joined the bullpen the following season, Wetteland knew something special was happening.  Not long after, Rivera developed his cut fastball — “The separator,” Wetteland called it. Wetteland told Rivera “not to get beat on your third-best pitch,” and that hasn’t been a problem since. Asked how it felt to see Rivera blossom, Wetteland said, “Like what I set out to do, got done.” “If you look back in retrospect, it becomes clear why we’re standing here so many years later,” Wetteland said. “I’ve never seen anybody pay such attention to detail when they’re young. “He was even talking about it out there when we were kind of having a moment; he said that when he came in, there were already lots of ‘men’ in the bullpen and he felt like a little kid. I told him, ‘You never said a word, you just sat there. But you were always watching everybody.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I was taking in everything I could.’ “When you look back from where he started and the process of how Mariano Rivera not a scared kid, but a wide-eyed kid becomes arguably and far and away the greatest closer that ever lived, you can kind of see it now.” While this summer of Yankees' injuries, struggles and the A-Rod scandal take its toll on fans, it's nice to know that Mariano Rivera is the gift that keep on giving.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker