Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees have a 3 run lead or less going into the top of the ninth inning. Metalica’s “Enter Sandman” starts to blare through the speakers. The crowd goes wild. And the ball game is officially over.
A lot of people are going to think I am crazy, but I believe that Mariano Rivera is the greatest pitcher of all time. Now before you write me off as a crazy, New York Yankees fan, at least give me a chance to explain myself.
There have been a lot of incredible pitchers in Major League Baseball – Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux, Bob Gibson, and Tom Seaver to name a few. I know my baseball history. I know that starting pitchers are considered better pitchers than relief pitchers. However, I believe that a relief pitcher, who does not hold the saves record or any other major pitching record, is the the greatest pitcher of all time.
Here are my reasons why I believe Mariano Rivera is the greatest pitcher of all time…
- He has thrown one pitch his entire career. As of today, Rivera has 69 career wins, 511 career saves, 983 career strikeouts, a career 2.28 ERA, and a career 1.01 WHIP. He has accumulated all these gaudy stats throwing one pitch – a cut fastball. Every hitter knows that pitch is coming and they still can’t hit it. He also has pinpoint control (only 249 walks in 1,067 innings pitched). Tell me another consistently dominant pitcher over a fifteen year span that has only thrown one pitch.
- He has done all this in the steroid era. Rivera has been so consistent and dominate during a time in baseball when steroids were running rampant. Since 1996 (the year Rivera entered baseball), home run records have been shattered, but Rivera has been consistently dominant. Sandy Koufax and Walter Johnson did not have to pitch to guys all jacked up on steroids and HGH.
- He is the best postseason pitcher of all time. He is the best when it matters the most. Look at his postseason stats – 8 wins, 1 loss (because of one Luis Gonzalez bloop, little girl hit in 2001 World Series), 34 saves, 0.77 ERA, 0.75 WHIP. Did I mention he has done all this with only one pitch that everybody in the stadium know is coming? Those numbers are sick.
Not to mention, Mariano Rivera is also a a devout Christian who credits God for giving him all of his talent. He is also a great guy (READ THIS LINK TO SEE WHAT HE DID FOR HIS TEAMMATES AFTER HIS 500TH CAREER SAVE).
Yep, call me crazy, but I believe that Mariano Rivera is the greatest pitcher of all time.