Native of Panama, relief pitcher for the New York Yankees since 1995. Originally worked middle relief as a setup man for former Yankee closer John Wetteland. Rivera assumed the role of closer after the 1996 season.
As the closer, it's Rivera's job to enter the game in the late innings, normally when the
Yankees have a lead. Using his merciless fastball, Rivera's task is at best to strike out the batters he faces, or at worst force them to hit his pitches into easy pop fly or ground ball outs.
Rivera's fastball is normally referred to as a cutter, as the pitch is so fast, so hard and has so much movement, it often rides inside to the batter's hands, literally cutting into the grain of the bat and causing it to shatter or break when the hitter swings. The power in his fastball is contrasted by his thin frame (6'2", 170 pounds). Despite his size, Rivera's fastball is routinely clocked at over 95 mph.
When pitching at Yankee Stadium, Rivera enters the game to the sound of Metallica's Enter Sandman. Appropriate, in that the goal is for him to put the other team to sleep.
Rivera retired from the Yankees as a player at the conclusion of the 2014 major league season.
On 22 January 2019, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) announced that their voting writers had unanimously elected Rivera into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Rivera was the first player in major league history to be selected unanimously on every voting ballot. Rivera will be inducted into the Hall on 21 July 2019.