This is a post I never thought I would actually have to write.  But now that the New York Yankees have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, it is safe to say without jinxing the team that Mariano Rivera has pitched his final pitch at Yankee Stadium, his pinstripe #42 has been retired (for a second time) and becomes one of the very few active players to ever have their numbers retired in a sport.  No player will ever wear the #42 again, but let’s face it, no one could wear it as well as Mo did.

Watching Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite go out to take Mo out of last night’s game was one of the most heart-breaking but beautiful things I have ever witnessed in sports.  This was all to celebrate what has been the most dominant and Hall of Fame worthy career any closer has ever put forward.

This season was always dedicated to Mariano as far as the Yankees (and basically all of the MLB) were concerned.  Whenever the Yankees visited an opponent for the final time this year, they would celebrate his career and most teams gave him parting gifts that ranged from a rocking chair made of broken bats to the actual mound from the visiting bullpen of Fenway Park where he warmed up countless times only to dominate the Red Sox.

Now, as much as it pains me to do this, we have to come to the realization that Mariano’s career is over (aside from a possible stint in centerfield against the lowly Houston Astros this weekend).  He has pitched his last meaningful pitch and it is time to reflect on a man who truly defined class and became the worlds best closer with one pitch, and one location.  Let’s take a look at his accomplishments, and then I can go cry in a corner and sulk now that I have to think about the Yankees without #42.

Mariano Rivera Career Stats:

Saves: 652 (1st all time)
ERA: 2.21 (1st among active relief pitchers)
Strikeouts: 1,173 (1st among active relief pitchers)
Games Pitched: 1,115 (4th all time)
All-Star Game Appearances: 13 (T-20 all time)
Postseason ERA: 0.70 (1st all time)

Bottom line: Maybe the easiest choice for a first ballot Hall of Famer ever.

Congrats Mo on the ridiculously amazing career.  Way to go out on top, classy as all hell.

And now, two words I never wanted to have to say:

Exit Sandman.