Ben Whedon on September 16, 2019
President Donald Trump played Metallica’s 1991 hit “Enter Sandman” to welcome former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera to the White House Monday.
The president presented Rivera with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony. Rivera used the song’s opening riff as walk-on music during his career in baseball.
Trump praised Rivera’s many accomplishments during his baseball career. “It’s a big argument: Is he the greatest pitcher or the greatest reliever?” Trump asked, according to an official transcript. “Well, the reliever we won. But there’s a real question he may be the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball: Mariano Rivera.”
Trump went on to give a detailed account of Rivera’s career.
“In his second season with the Yankees, Mariano delivered 130 strikeouts in less than 108 innings. While facing 425 batters, he allowed only one home run,” he said. “With an [earned run average] of 2.09, the Yankees made him a closer for the 1997 season.”
He discussed Rivera’s three straight World Series wins. “In 1998, 1999, and 2000 World Series Championships, Mariano closed out three consecutive World Series victories and delivered 14 strikeouts and 7 saves. He gave up only 2 runs to 59 batters,” Trump said.
Trump closed his remarks before handing over the podium to Rivera. “Mariano Rivera has made extraordinary contributions to American sports, culture, and society,” Trump said. “He is the most dominant relief pitcher in the history of baseball. And more than that, he has lived the American dream and shines as an example of American greatness for all to see.”
Rivera kept his own remarks brief, thanking Trump and praising his country. “I’m proud to be an American. So, thank God for that,” he said.
Rivera was the first MLB player ever to be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, according to CBS.
Rivera’s tenure with the Yankees lasted 19 years, during which he earned the nickname “The Closer,” according to CBS. He holds the current record for most career saves in Major League Baseball.
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Sorry Cy Young was the best pitcher.
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