Showing posts with label Mariano Rivera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mariano Rivera. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2015

How Bernie Williams tried to lure Juan Gonzalez from Puerto Rico to the Yankees

The New York Yankees honored their star center fielder Bernie Williams on Sunday evening at Yankee Stadium with a special ceremony to retire his number 51 and put him among the legends in Monument Park. The festivities included Williams accepting this lavish praise alongside his long standing teammates Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera from his four World Series victories with the Yankees. If Williams' parent club was willing to spend just a few extra dollars when they brought him to the United States to sign his contract some thirty years ago, that group could have easily included two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez.

Williams and Gonzalez in Puerto Rico
Yankees scout Fred Ferreira was one of George Steinbrenner's most prized eyes for spotting talent across the globe. Steinbrenner recruited Ferreira in 1981 after a team from his baseball school put up a 12-0 lead in an exhibition game against the Yankees. The Yankees owner immediately wanted the man who assembled the talented group of youngsters to be a part of the Yankees organization. A few years later, Ferreira's sharp eye would pay dividends, as he was responsible for helping to lure Bernie Williams to the United States before his 16th birthday in order for the Yankees could sign him.

While Ferreira was in the process of bringing Williams to a baseball school in Connecticut, the young Puerto Rican had requested for his cousin to come along. Surely the Yankees with all of their fortunes could find the means to bring one more player with them for an extended look.

"I told him sorry, but we couldn't afford it," Ferreira said to the Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1996. "And that's how I missed out on signing Juan Gonzalez."

Gonzalez hit 434 home runs in his career, and was ironically the MVP of the American League in 1996 and 1998, the first two years that Williams' Yankees won the World Series. Yankees fans can only imagine how much more potent their lineup would have been if it included Gonzalez's 47 and 45 home runs during those championship years.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mariano Rivera and Pelé meet for the first time at the World Cup in Brazil


Pele meets Mariano Rivera, for the first time ever
at a SUBWAY Restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
on Saturday, July 12, 2014.  
(Photo by Dado Galdieri/Invision
for SUBWAY Restaurants/AP Images)
The greatest closer in baseball history, New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera met with the world renown fútbol superstar Pelé for the first time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday July 12, 2014.

Pelé was on hand to promote Subway's healthy eating campaign prior to the World Cup finals. Rivera met with Pelé during his appearance on Subway's behalf. The two exchanged pleasantries and Pelé shared a story about how he was asked to be a kicker in the NFL while he was playing with the New York Cosmos.

Their entire exchange (in English and Spanish) are in the video below.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Video - Mariano Rivera entering the 2013 All-Star Game to Enter Sandman

Mariano Rivera / @ExamineBaseball - Twitter
Watch video of Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer ever in baseball, entering the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field to a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. Rivera, 43, pitched a scoreless 8th inning, in his 13th and final All-Star Game.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yankees limp to All-Star break after dismal first half

The Yankees are not used to being second best. They don’t like it – and they don’t particularly play the role well. So their current home just above the American League East cellar has to be disappointing to both players and management.

Going into the All-Star break, the Yankees are barely treading water (six games out of first place) and dealing with a parade of injuries. Both Alex Rodriguez and Captain Derek Jeter, their two biggest names, haven’t contributed to the team at all in recent months.

Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli are also out with significant injuries. There just aren’t enough standouts on the roster to fill their cleats adequately and keep this team in contention for a playoff berth. 

Jeter’s much-heralded return to the lineup came Thursday after rehabbing his broken left ankle through the first 91 games of the season. Unfortunately, he had to be pulled late in the game due to quad tightness. He was expected to undergo an MRI on Friday to determine if he can continue his comeback.

Jeter can be a potent weapon if he stays in good health. He blasted a single Thursday on the first pitch he faced this season and later scored a run. He also notched his first RBI this season on a ground out. Even going 1-4 on the day, he helped his team stop a three-game losing streak with an 8-4 win over the Royals Thursday.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who is six games into a 20-day rehab assignment with the Tampa Yankees minor league team, could be destined for a potential 100-game suspension related to his involvement with a Florida clinic tied to a major PED investigation.

A-Rod is trying to come back from hip surgery, and his outrageous salary structure has been a bone of contention for team management. Though GM Brian Cashman has yet to openly admit the signing was a huge mistake, Yankees brass (and a growing number of fans who buy New York Yankees tickets) seem to regret locking up the aging slugger for so long.

The Yankees will have a tough time catching the Red Sox for the divisional crown – or even lock down a wild card playoff spot – without a major miracle. That could come in the form of some blockbuster trades, but even a few bold moves might not be enough. It might take a complete collapse by the teams above them, and maybe a few key injuries hitting their competitors as the Yanks finally get healthy.

Tampa Bay and Baltimore are playing excellent baseball this year and could gain even more separation from the Yankees in the second half if nothing changes.

Unlike the surging, offensively stacked Red Sox, the Yankees’ main strength is their pitching corps. But even that crew only breaks the top 10 in ERA (3.79).

On the flip side, they rank 23rd in quality starts. Closer Mariano Rivera is doing well in his final year before retirement with 29 saves, and the team’s starters are doing the best they can without the biggest bats on the team available to provide some decent run support. C.C. Sabathia has 9 wins and 112 strikeouts to his credit, while Hiroki Kuroda leads the team in ERA (2.77) – despite a lackluster 7-6 record on 18 starts so far.

The main issue with this year’s squad is the anemic offense. Their highest ranking category is runs, where they are 19th in the league. Robinson Cano is simply carrying the team with a .299 batting average, 21 home runs, 62 RBIs, and 53 runs scored. 

The Yankees always seem to be in the trade deadline mix every year, but this time they will have to produce some serious magic. They’ll have to find a way to shore up their pitching and their batting with some players who can become immediate contributors.

There may not be enough high-caliber bats and arms available to give them what they need, though. Yankees fans might just have to get used to watching their team struggle to stay out of last place for the remainder of the season.

- Rich Bergeron

Monday, October 12, 2009

Humberto Robinson | Panamanian Pitcher Who Paved The Way For Mariano Rivera, Dies At 79

While Mariano Rivera is closing the door on games for the Yankees during the 2009 postseason, a tribute must be paid to the man who opened the door for Panamanians to play in Major League Baseball. Humberto Robinson was the first Panama native to play in the major leagues, making his debut with the Milwaukee Braves in 1955, posting a 3-1 record in 13 games that season. Robinson went on to pitch in the majors again in 1956 and then from 1958-1960 with the Braves, Indians, and Phillies. He also made multiple appearances in the Caribbean Series representing Panama, including the final one in 1960.

Sadly, Robinson passed away in a Brooklyn, New York nursing home on September 29th, 2009, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.


Robinson's death was almost exactly 50 years after his brush with a gambler's attempt to fix a late season game in 1959 while pitching for the Phillies. Robinson was approached by Harold Friedman, a former operator of a Philadelphia night spot. Friedman reportedly offered Humberto $1,500 to throw the September 22, 1959 game against the Cincinnati Redlegs. Robinson refused Friedman's proposition, which was made at a hotel the day before the game.

"I didn't want to talk about it," Robinson said.

He confided his secret with teammate Ruben Gomez, who advised him to report the situation to manager Eddie Sawyer. Robinson remained quiet, but Gomez went to Sawyer during the fifth inning of the game. Robinson performed beautifully, pitching seven innings, striking out five while only giving up three hits. He also hit a double and scored the first run of the game. He was later congratulated by Commissioner Ford Frick for quickly reporting the attempted bribe. Friedman was sentenced two-to-five years in prison for trying to fix the game.

While you are watching Rivera pitch his way into the record books this October, envision a similarly lanky Panamanian in Robinson who displayed integrity in the face of corruption and endured hoards of racial taunts to pave the way for other Panamanians to flourish in the major leagues.