Mariano Rivera has been called baseball’s greatest closer. He retired from Major League Baseball last season with more career saves than any pitcher. In other words, his pitching skills (mostly in the 9th inning to get the final outs) were responsible for preserving 652 victories over 19 seasons for the New York Yankees.
Rivera has now written a memoir about his life called The Closer. In it he reveals how faith and family helped bring him to the greatest stage in baseball — and, with his playing days behind him, how he plans to inspire others.
It’s all about faith — not only in baseball, but just normal life. My faith in the Lord is everything. … When he speaks about the worst loss of his otherwise fabulous career he remembers, “That’s why I was able to walk out of circumstances like losing Game 7 of the World Series. I was fine. You know why? Because I gave everything that I had. And if it wasn’t for me that day, well, it wasn’t. But I wasn’t going to second-guess my faith or ability.”
Today, Mariano has traded the cathedral of Yankee Stadium for the humbler confines of Refugio de Esperanza (Refuge of Hope), a small evangelical Christian church in New Rochelle, New York, that he founded and restored, with his wife Clara, who serves as pastor. Together they’re fulfilling a new dream. “Baseball was just the avenue that the Lord used so I can provide for my family,” says Rivera. “I believe that He brought me here to touch people’s lives. That’s the real job.”