MLB New York Yankees

Top 5 Coolest Gifts Given to Mariano Rivera on His Retirement Tour

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Top 5 Coolest Gifts Given to Mariano Rivera on His Retirement Tour

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

On March 9, 2013, the New York Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera announced that he would retire from the game of baseball at the end of the 2013 season.

After 19 seasons, 13 All-Star Game appearances, five World Series rings and one World Series MVP award, Rivera can hang up his cleats at the end of this year knowing that he had a good run.

Who am I kidding? The most common opinion among baseball fans is that Rivera is the greatest MLB closer of all-time. With a career 2.20 ERA and a WHIP of 1.00, Rivera’s dominating performance has stretched across three U.S. Presidents and three decades. And those are just his regular season numbers. In the postseason, Rivera has a shut-down 0.70 ERA in almost 100 games pitched. Even at 43 years of age, Rivera has pitched extremely well, boasting a 1.73 ERA and 32 saves in his final season.

As one of the most respected players in baseball, Rivera has continued to show his class and style in his farewell tour of MLB. At the beginning of the season, Rivera set out to do something special at each stadium the Yankees traveled to in 2013. From visiting veterans and active duty soldiers to delivering a pizza to a 25-year stadium mail-room employee to answering questions from and taking pictures with grounds crews, ushers and custodians, Rivera’s swansong has been a journey to take note of and remember.

As cool as it has been to see Rivera take time out to give back to the fans of baseball, it has been even cooler to see what baseball has given back to him. Almost all of the teams the storied pitcher has gone to pitch against this season have honored him before, during, or after games. This list is the top five coolest and most creative gifts given to Rivera along his expedition to the end.

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Google+.

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No. 5 Delta Airlines – 757 Aircraft Dedication

Via Delta Official Twitter Page

On July 12, Rivera had a 757 airplane dedicated in his honor by Delta Airlines. Most athletes get plaques or statues dedicated to them, but Rivera got an entire jumbo jet! What a way to end a career.

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No. 4 New York Mets – Ceremonial First Pitch

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

This has got to be one for the record books. The New York Mets invited Rivera to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the second game of the Subway Series. I doubt that there has ever been an active player to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the opposing team’s stadium.

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No. 3 Detroit Tigers – Dirt Sample and Photo Collage

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Although this gift does not seem like all that much, it is actually a very cool and creative gesture. The Detroit Tigers gave Rivera pictures of himself pitching at both Tiger Stadium as well as Comerica Park. They also added samples of the dirt that came straight from the respective pitching mounds. This was a truly thoughtful and honorable gift to give to the deserving Rivera.

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No. 2 Minnesota Twins – Chair of Broken Dreams

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins' gift easily wins the award for most ingenuity. The organization had a rocking chair made by putting together broken bats and had it engraved with “Chair of Broken Dreams.” Whoever thought of this gift needs to get some serious kudos and a promotion. Well played, Twins. Well played.

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No. 1 Cleveland Indians – “Enter Sandman” Gold Record

Via Cleveland Indians Official Twitter Page

“Enter Sandman” is the Metallica song that has been played for years whenever Rivera comes in to close a game. As Rivera came out to this song in the bottom of the eighth inning at the 2013 All-Star Game, the crowd exploded in cheers and there was a long, standing ovation without a single other All-Star standing on the field.

A simple tip of his cap and a wave to the crowd was all Rivera could muster as he soaked up his last All-Star Game before retirement. This was one of the most respectful and beautiful moments of baseball I have ever witnessed. When Rivera traveled to face the Cleveland Indians, the team gifted him a gold record of “Enter Sandman” in a classy and respectful move.