About Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera was born in Panama City, Panama, on November 29, 1969. As a young man, Rivera played soccer and baseball with his friends on the beach during low tide. Without the means to buy baseball equipment, for games, they substituted cardboard milk cartons for gloves, tree branches for bats, and fashioned balls by taping worn-out baseballs and wads of shredded fishing nets. Rivera used this makeshift equipment until his father bought him his first leather glove when he was 12 years old. Mariano married his childhood sweetheart, Clara Diaz. The Rivera’s were blessed with three sons, Mariano, Jafet and Jaziel.
Rivera was signed by the Yankees organization in Panama in 1990 and debuted in the major leagues in 1995. Initially a starting pitcher, he was converted to a relief pitcher late in his rookie year. After a breakthrough season in 1996 as a setup man, he became the Yankees’ closer in 1997. In the following seasons, he established himself as one of baseball’s top relievers, leading the major leagues in saves in 1999, 2001, and 2004. He was a key contributor to the Yankees’ success in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. An accomplished postseason performer, he is regarded within baseball as one of the most dominant relievers in major league history. His accomplishments are many. Among them, he was named the 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the 2003 AL Championship Series MVP, and he holds several postseason records. He is considered to be a strong candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame once he is eligible.
Rivera has been involved in philanthropic causes and plans to dedicate his retirement years to helping others.