Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig today honored recently retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. The presentation was made at a press conference prior to Game Two of the World Series this evening.
This marks only the 13th time that Major League Baseball has ever bestowed the Award, which was created in 1998 to recognize achievements and contributions of historical significance. Rivera is the first recipient of the Award since Ken Griffey, Jr. was honored in 2011.
Rivera, who played for the Yankees for his entire 19-year career (1995-2013), posted a Major League-record 652 saves and was a key member of five World Series Championship teams (1996, 1998-2000, 2009). The 13-time American League All-Star, who also set a new Major League record with 952 games finished, was among the top three in voting for the A.L. Cy Young Award on four occasions. One of the most consistent and dominant relievers in Major League history, the Panama native went 82-60 with a 2.21 ERA in 1,115 games. In 1,283.2 innings, he collected 1,173 strikeouts and just 286 walks. The 1999 World Series MVP and 2003 ALCS MVP led the Majors in saves on three occasions (1999, 2001, 2004) and recorded at least 28 saves in 15 consecutive seasons (1997-2011), including a career-best 53 saves in 2004. Rivera, who was voted the All-Star Game MVP in his final Midsummer Classic earlier this summer at Citi Field, went 8-1 during his career in the Postseason with a 0.70 ERA and 42 saves in 96 games. His 42 career Postseason saves, including 11 in the World Series, are both Major League records, and his 24 World Series games pitched are the most all time. The 0.70 career Postseason ERA is the lowest of all time (minimum 30.0 innings pitched) and his 96 games pitched are the most of any pitcher in Major League history. From Game 1 of the 1998 ALDS through Game 3 of the 2000 ALCS, Rivera held opponents scoreless in 33.1 consecutive Postseason innings, representing the longest Postseason scoreless stretch by any pitcher in baseball history. A great ambassador of the game, Rivera was the last Major League player to wear the number 42, which was retired throughout Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997. Rivera had his number officially retired by the Yankees along with a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park during a pre-game ceremony on September 22nd.
Commissioner Selig said: "Mariano Rivera will forever hold a special place in baseball history as the all-time saves leader and an anchor of five World Series championship teams. Throughout his illustrious career, he has represented his family, his country, the Yankees and all of Major League Baseball with the utmost class and dignity. It is wholly appropriate that Mariano was the last Major League player to wear Jackie Robinson's sacred number 42. I am pleased that our entire sport can pause on our greatest stage to thank him and his family for all of his contributions to our national pastime."
The trophy, which stands 12 inches tall, has a sterling silver base with a baseball mounted at the top. The words "Commissioner's Historic Achievement" are engraved around the base of the trophy with the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter logo above the type.