By Sweeny Murti

BRADENTON, Fla. (CBSNewYork) — Herb Raybourn, the Yankees scout who signed Mariano Rivera for a $2,000 bonus in 1990, died Saturday at his home in Bradenton, Florida, according to his family. Raybourn was 82.

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“I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Herb,” Rivera said in a statement. “He was a great scout and a great person. He cared about me and saw me as someone besides just a baseball player. He was there early in my career — looking out for me, whether it was driving me to the airport or offering his baseball wisdom to a young kid trying to figure this baseball life out.”

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Raybourn, a native of Panama, played collegiate baseball at Bradley University and three years professionally in the San Francisco Giants organization from 1959-61.

Herb Raybourn

Former Yankees scout Herb Raybourn

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After working, teaching and coaching in Panama after his playing career, Raybourn began his scouting career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. There he signed Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Omar Moreno — all members of the Pirates’ 1979 World Series championship team.

After working for the Kansas City Royals from 1986-89, Raybourn moved to the Yankees to become their director of Latin American operations.

Not long after, as the legend goes, Raybourn signed the 20-year-old Rivera after seeing him throw just nine pitches.

Rivera would go on to pitch 19 years for the Yankees, make 13 All-Star teams, win five World Series rings and set baseball’s all-time saves record with 652. He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.

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“I’m thankful that we were able to develop a personal relationship over the years,” Rivera said. “I send my deepest condolences to his family.”