Mariano Rivera will formally become a Yankees icon Sunday when he is honored with a plaque in Monument Park. That will complete a busy weekend of ceremonies for the club, during which Rivera will have been the only person involved in all three.
Because of his status as one of the most popular teammates, he was chosen to escort Alex Rodriguez’s two daughters to the field for A-Rod’s high-profile farewell Friday night. On Saturday, he was part of the tribute to the 1996 World Series championship team. On Sunday, the spotlight will be all on him before the Yankees’ game against the Rays.
He said Saturday that he used to joke with Joe Torre about the prospect of his right arm falling off because the manager put him in ballgames so often. But he added that he would not be in Monument Park if not for Torre.
“I remember I was struggling and he called me to the office and said, ‘As long as I’m here, you will be my closer,’ ” said Rivera, arguably the greatest finisher in major-league history. “We all knew that if I kept struggling like that, I wouldn’t be his closer. At the same time, that was the only thing I needed to hear.”