Sunday, July 21, 2019

Boone Marveled By Rivera's Ability To "Just completely turn the page"

Mariano Rivera (r.) with fellow inductees Mike Mussina (c.) and Edgar Martinez (l.) in January. Photo by Jason Schott.

Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in history who won five World Series championships with the Yankees, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday as the first unanimous selection ever.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone played the final three months of the 2003 season for the Bronx Bombers, and he shares a very big moment in the team's illustrious history with Rivera.

In the seventh game of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, Rivera pitched three scoreless innings after the Yankees tied it in the eighth and Boone hit a walk-off home run to left field in the 11th inning to win the pennant.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone. Photo by Jason Schott.

On Saturday, Boone spoke about what stood out about Rivera when he was his teammate, "All the things that are written about him or spoken about him, just his good nature, unaffected by all that goes on around you and that can be a distraction in this game. The ability to - in that role, obviously - to just completely turn the page, the athlete that he is, and I remember when I got traded here at the deadline in '03, he went through a stretch where he might have blown a couple of saves, or I don't know, had a couple of tough outings, and I remember even hearing some boos for Mariano, and I was like 'wow,' and then he went on probably about a two-and-a-half month tear after that, and was just the lights-out closer that he pretty much was his entire career.

"Just all the things you hear about him, and even now, when you see him now and get to be around him a little bit, and just how gracious he is, but all underlining just this almost perfect competitor, the ability to deal with everything that goes on in a Major League season, within a game and balance that with being a great competitor."

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