On Monday Quinnipiac freshman Mariano Rivera Jr. sat in Yankee Stadium hoping to see his father, Mariano Rivera, make history and become the all-time saves leader.
Early on, it didn’t look like Rivera would have a chance at setting the record, as the Yankees had a 5-0 lead, which does not constitute a save situation.
But after the Minnesota Twins scored four runs, the game became a save situation and Rivera was on the mound in the ninth to strike out Chris Parmelee for record-breaking save number 602 in a 6-4 Yankees win.
“Toward the end I thought that he was going to have a chance and the excitement started building up,” Rivera Jr. said. “Just the joy of seeing my father reaching that goal, it was a proud moment for him and I was very proud for him. I’m very thankful that I was actually there to support him and I think he was happy that I was there along with my brothers and my mom.”
Rivera grew up watching his father break records and win championships, quickly becoming a legend in the Yankee community, as well as making a lasting impact in major league baseball.
The fact that Rivera is now the sole record-holder means a great deal to Rivera Jr.
“I’ve always said that my father is the best no matter what. The numbers didn’t prove it but now finally the numbers can back that up. That’s just such a reassuring feeling now,” Rivera said.
Rivera was just 3 years old when his father made his major league debut.
Fifteen years, 602 saves, plus 42 postseason saves later, it’s the most recent accomplishments that Rivera will remember most.
“Obviously [Monday] when he broke the record, and when he got his 500th save. That was a big milestone in his career,” Rivera said. “I remember everybody going up to him giving him high fives. It was just a day everybody was real happy for him.”
Now that his father is the all-time saves leader, Rivera Jr. has received support from plenty of friends and family.
But he’s also seen tremendous outpouring support in the social network realm.
Shortly after his father recorded the historic save, Rivera updated his Facebook status, which read, “Yesss!!!! That a boy dad! New leader congrats great accomplishment 🙂 ♥.”
Within four hours, the status already had 245 “likes.”
“It’s always blowing up, people requesting me and liking everything,” Rivera said. “But it’s not a big deal to me. It’s just people like my stuff more. It gets annoying sometimes. I get so many friend requests I don’t even go through it I just accept people. But it’s alright.”
Rivera is also a pitcher himself. According to Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley, he is on the team’s preseason roster, which won’t be finalized until Oct. 1. He is looking forward to being a part of the team.
“So far it’s been an amazing time for me. I’ve been working very hard with the team. We’re helping each other out and learning from each other. It’s been a good time,” Rivera said.
But before Quinnipiac baseball season begins, he hopes he will be seeing his dad saving the final out in the World Series.
“The Yankees are a great organization and they’ve proven themselves to get better and better and the season goes on,” Rivera said. “I hope pretty soon to see them win another World Series and my dad win one too.”