Mariano Rivera has less than six weeks to write a Hall of Fame induction speech, but he is not sweating it — yet.
“The speech is going all right,” the former Yankees closer and first unanimous Hall selection told Newsday on Tuesday. “I haven’t had time to think about it. When it approaches, maybe I’ll start thinking.”
He does have a theme planned, though. It will be about others.
“I want to address obviously teammates, my boss, Mr. George, the Steinbrenner family, all the people who have supported me,” he said. “Obviously my wife, my kids, and the fans. That’s going to be what the speech is about.”
Rivera said he has not focused on his induction because he has been busy, notably with a fundraising effort for the Mariano Rivera Foundation aimed at building a learning center for about 60 youths in need in New Rochelle.
On Tuesday he appeared in Manhattan to promote an eBay site that is auctioning some personal mementos to raise money for the project.
Was it difficult to part with them? “The cause is so great, it’s OK,” he said. “I still have some stuff that is meaningful, but the cause is greater than that. To me, it’s worth it.”
He also was promoting a new “eBay Baseball Card Hall of Fame” that gathers the 10 best-selling players in the site’s history in one place.
It includes Rivera, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie Smith, Nolan Ryan and the biggest seller of all — Ken Griffey Jr.
At 49, Rivera said he still loves the game but never has looked back after retiring following the 2013 season.
“I’ll love the game until I die, but I don’t miss it to participate,” he said. “What I’m doing I’m giving my hundred percent. It’s different from baseball but kind of like the same effect, touching lives. Saving games, now saving lives.”
Rivera still lives in Westchester County and follows the Yankees closely. He said he has been “surprised” by their early season success in the face of heavy injuries.
“We have talent, but man, those men have stepped up, big time,” he said. “I believe if that was me and I was injured I would take my time — really, really, take my time — and be sure I’m 100 percent when I come back.
“If it would be the other way around the players might push themselves to come back too soon.”
Like the rest of the baseball community and beyond, Rivera was shocked by the shooting of former Red Sox star David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
“It’s sad what happened,” Rivera said. “All we’re doing is praying for his recovery and praying he’ll be OK. The rest we’ll have to deal with after. He has a good heart. He’s a great human being, great person, great player.”