That’s saying a lot, considering the league has seen excellent relievers with consistently great careers.
Rivera, however, was a tier above the rest.
It’s not an accident that he is, to this day, the only player in MLB who has been elected to the Hall of Fame unanimously, in 2019.
The Athletic’s baseball editor Marc Carig wrote a tweet to remember Mariano’s dominance, after watching Aroldis Chapman implode and nearly costing the Yankees a hard-fought win.
“Every time a closer does what Aroldis Chapman just did, I am reminded about how many times Mariano Rivera made similar situations look so uneventful,” he said.
Every time a closer does what Aroldis Chapman just did, I am reminded about how many times Mariano Rivera made similar situations look so uneventful.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) April 15, 2022
Chapman Hurt His Own Case With Walks
Indeed, Chapman is very, very good, and the numbers say his strikeout prowess is historically great, more than Rivera’s for example.
But he walked three straight hitters and had absolutely no idea where the ball was going on Thursday night.
Rivera may not have had that kind of strikeout ability, but his command and control were impeccable: he almost never hurt himself with walks, and he beat you with just one pitch; his trademark cutter.
There was an aura of greatness around Rivera, and it stemmed from his incredible confidence and the cold blood running through his veins.
He converted an MLB-record 652 saves, and was almost perfect in postseason play.
His career ERA is a microscopic 2.21, and he won five World Series with the Yankees.
Chapman is excellent, but he needs to keep his walks in check to put the Yankees in a position to succeed.