Retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera was unanimously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday when he became the first player to appear on all 425 ballots.
Rivera, the record-holding closing pitcher, played a total of 19 seasons with the New York Yankees, 17 of which he closed. During his 19 MLB seasons, Rivera was named an All-Star player 13 times, as well as winning five total World Series championships with his team.
The record holder, who is known as the world’s greatest closer, cares a lot more about who he is off the field than the stats he received while on it.
“Those things [the stats] mean nothing for me. I mean, doesn’t make me better or less,” Rivera told CBN News. “See, I don’t — I don’t want people to recognize me for those things. I want people to recognize me for who I am.”
And to Rivera, who he is is founded in who God is, and the gifts He has given to Rivera.
“It is because God, Christ, took those abilities and took it to a different level,” he said.
During his 19 seasons with the New York Yankees, Rivera broke two records, both of which he still holds. He holds his place as the career leader in 652 saves as well as 952 game finishes.
Now, the 49-year-old also holds the record for highest vote percentage to get into the Hall of Fame. Behind him is Ken Griffey Jr., who received 437 of 440 votes, or 99.3 percent, in 2016.
As understandable as it might be for Rivera to take personal credit for all of his achievements, he continues to give all glory to God.
“The Lord gave me the strength to do all that stuff. So, therefore, I can never speak about myself, but the Lord,” he told CBN.
When he’s not winning awards, Rivera works with his Mariano Rivera Foundation, a foundation that provides education for youth whose family can’t afford it.