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