NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a big day for future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
Pinstripe pride was on display as the city honored the famed closer, who retired last year, by renaming the street outside Yankee Stadium on Monday. The sign for Rivera Avenue is at the corner of 161st Street and what used to be River Avenue.
“This is way, way, way beyond baseball, definitely. It has nothing to do with baseball. I think it’s how you treat people, how you respect others and you receive the same love and respect back,” Rivera told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “Amazing. I mean, I never thought something like this would happen.”
Rivera was joined at the ceremony by Yankees fans, elected officials, local Bronx community organizations and representatives from his foundation.
“His philanthropic actions with respect to his foundation, his record-breaking career all add up to someone in New York that we should honor and this is a great way to do it,” Tom Ferrara, CEO of Future Value Associates in Pound Ridge, told 1010 WINS. Ferrara petitioned the city to get the name changed.
“Between the number of saves he’s had, the number of games he’s finished, but more importantly for the person and character that he is and brings to the community,” Ferrara said. “It was a combination of his success on the field and frankly off the field, and we felt that it deserved some recognition.”
With his fierce competitiveness, unshakeable confidence and famous cutter, which baffled hitters, Rivera was as close to a sure thing as there ever was in baseball.
A member of the Yankees “core four,” along with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, Rivera was part of a fabled group that helped the Yankees win four World Series championship in five years from 1996 to 2000. He finished his 19-year career with a league record 652 saves and five World Series rings.
“You guys, the fans made this possible,” Rivera said. “I didn’t do nothing. I just tried to do my job. You guys worked harder than me.”
The fans on hand Monday were thrilled.
“He’s my idol,” one person told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.
“He represents the best of what Latino hertiage represents in baseball,” another fan said.
“What Babe Ruth did for hitting, Mariano Rivera did for closing,” Upper East Side resident Hector Montalvo said.
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