When a player of Mariano Rivera‘s stature announces his retirement from the game, it is customary for the teams that he has played against, to present retirement gifts when the player has his final game at that team’s stadium. It is kind of like a giant retirement tour, in which all in the baseball world will honor the last player to ever wear the #42 and the greatest closer of all-time.
And while these gifts could range from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from creative items to treasured memorabilia, none are likely to top the gift Rivera received from the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
Presented by Manager Rod Gardenhire, Justin Morneau and fellow closer Glen Perkins, the Twins gifted the 43-year-old Rivera with what they called, “The Chair of Broken Dreams.”
Inscribed with two Twins’ logos and designed entirely out of broken bats, including many that Rivera himself had shattered, the gift was brilliantly clever, creative and appropriate all at the same time.
Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, the 18-year-veteran Rivera has saved an astounding 635 of 675 games, which is the most of all-time. Remarkably for the most part, Rivera has done this with a pitch known famously around the league as his signature cutter.
Rivera’s cutter is the best baseball has ever seen by far and while this New York Yankee did not invent the pitch, he certainly has perfected it. His is faster than most cutters and has more break then you would expect. As a result, Rivera has broken a lot, and that is a lot of bats over the years.
So what to do with those broken bats, namely the bats of former and current Twins’ stars, Chuck Knoblauch, Kirby Puckett, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Morneau?
Why, make a rocking chair of course!
And that is exactly what Gardenhire envisioned as he planned what could go down in history as the best retirement gift ever given to a player.
After all now that Rivera is retiring, he will find time to relax in a rocking chair that brings to mind just how dominant he was in the course of his career, which if you ask me is pretty darn cool.
Well played Minnesota, well played.