The retirements of Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera

9/30/13 in MLB   |   gmarchesej   |   5 respect

Sep 26, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (left) and starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (left, center) come out to take out relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (right, center) in the 9th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY SportsI have been witnessing history for the past week, really longer then that watching the New York Yankees.  The New York Yankees of course are the most famous team in all of sports.  I have been watching the Yankees basically from birth.  I grew up in the 1980s when the Yankees weren’t very good; they had some good players but no postseason.  The Yankees started changing around 1993 and finally made it back to the postseason in 1995. 

The main reason the Yankees were so good from 1995 until present day was mainly because of a core set of guys.  The core four as they are affectionately called now consisted of Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. I like to say and Bernie.  Bernie Williams retired first as he was the oldest, Jorge Posada retired a couple of years ago.  This year we are witnessing the end of two great careers at the same time.  Mariano Rivera announced his retirement way back in the spring, he has been on a farewell tour all season long.  Pettitte although he knew all year that this would be it didn’t announce it until last week.  He had been out to dinner with Rivera in Toronto and Rivera told him to go ahead and announce it.  Pettitte made his final home start of his career on Sunday, which was Mariano Rivera day.  The two of them will always be intertwined and this was extra special. 

Rivera faced four batters and retired them all and we learned on Saturday that he was done pitching forever.  He stated on Saturday he had been pitching with “extreme soreness” in his arm down the stretch and wouldn’t be pitching in the last couple of games in Houston.  It is fitting that Pettitte would make his final start of his career on Saturday night in Houston where he is from.  Pettitte lives about 20 minutes away from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. 

The three remaining core four guys shared a great moment on Thursday night when Rivera exited for the last time at Yankee Stadium.  It turned out to be too perfect and his last appearance ever in a major league game.  The Yankees have been great for a long time and these guys are a huge reason why.  The Yankees probably don’t win five championships without Rivera.  Rivera made a legend out of himself in October.  He was great in the regular season but even greater in the postseason.  He finished his career with more men walking on the moon then scoring upon him in the postseason.  If you are keeping track it is 12 men on the moon and 11 men scoring on Rivera when it counted the most.  Pettitte retires with the third most wins in Yankees history; remember he left for Houston for three years otherwise he would be first.  Pettitte had that famous glare from under his cap.  He was never the most talented but another big game pitcher and he was always the game three pitcher.  Pettitte helped the Yankees win so many of those big games that Rivera would end up saving.  Derek Jeter will be back next year but he is nearing the end also, Posada left a couple of years ago and they are still searching for a suitable replacement.

The Yankees will never be the same without these guys and it is very sad seeing the end of greatness.  The Yankees will go on and probably continue to win but it just won’t be the same without these legends.  It will be very hard to see that many guys come up through the system and especially be so successful and for so long again. 
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