The Closer

The Closer


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The greatest relief pitcher of all time shares his extraordinary story of survival, love, and baseball.

Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn't even own his own glove. He thought he might make a good mechanic. When discovered, he had never flown in an airplane, had never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and couldn't imagine Tampa, the city where he was headed to begin a career that would become one of baseball's most iconic. What he did know: that he loved his family and his then girlfriend, Clara, that he could trust in the Lord to guide him, and that he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time.

With astonishing candor, Rivera tells the story of the championships, the bosses (including The Boss), the rivalries, and the struggles of being a Latino baseball player in the United States and of maintaining Christian values in professional athletics. The thirteen-time All-Star discusses his drive to win; the secrets behind his legendary composure; the story of how he discovered his cut fastball; the untold, pitch-by-pitch account of the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2001 World Series; and why the lowest moment of his career became one of his greatest blessings.

In The Closer, Rivera takes readers into the Yankee clubhouse, where his teammates are his brothers. But he also takes us on that jog from the bullpen to the mound, where the game — or the season — rests squarely on his shoulders. We come to understand the laserlike focus that is his hallmark, and how his faith and his family kept his feet firmly on the pitching rubber. Many of the tools he used so consistently and gracefully came from what was inside him for a very long time — his deep passion for life; his enduring commitment to Clara, whom he met in kindergarten; and his innate sense for getting out of a jam.

When Rivera retired, the whole world watched — and cheered. In The Closer, we come to an even greater appreciation of a legend built from the ground up.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316400732
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)

About the Author

Mariano Rivera is a pitcher for the New York Yankees, where he has played for 19 seasons. He is Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader and a five-time World Champion. He and his wife, Clara, have three sons and live in New York.

Table of Contents

Prologue 3

1 Fish and Consequences 13

2 Water Torture 22

3 Two Buses, Nine Pitches 34

4 Gulf Coast Revelation 41

5 Worst Cut 54

6 The Call 65

7 Relief and Belief 80

8 Shades of '27 94

9 Spirit and Summit 106

10 New York, New York 120

11 The Day the World Changed 130

12 Trophy 145

13 Plans 153

14 Losses 168

15 Cheers and Jeers 177

16 Count Me Out 183

17 Closing Time 201

18 New Digs and Old Feelings 209

19 Passages 218

20 Wounded Knee 230

21 Exit Sandman 243

Epilogue: Refuge of Hope 261

Acknowledgments 267

Index 271

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The Closer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a big baseball fan, but I watch it enough to know who Mariano Rivera is. I was very intrigued to read about his life. It is a true rags to riches story of success. Rivera is a humble man who has never let success go to his head and his story is very fulfilling to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most down to earth books ever. For all his accolades, Rivera proves himself an example to future MLB players and youth leagues,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For this life-long Yankee fan, The Closer is the perfect way to re-experience the greatest years in our team's history. And what a surprise Mariano Rivera turns out to be when you really get to know him. Yes, he's quiet and humble. But he's also tough. And smart. I just love this book. Glory days.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating:   5 of 5 stars (outstanding) Review: From humble beginnings as the son of a fisherman in Panama to becoming, according to most, the best relief pitcher in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera tells his story in “The Closer.”  This book is much like many other memoirs written by players with assistance from professional writers in that the player looks back fondly at his playing days and many of the teammates and other people who helped him become a star in his chosen sport. However, what makes this autobiography stand out is that Rivera shows that his persona as a member of the New York Yankees, humble and thankful for his talent, is who he really is as a person.  This is brought out by his frequent references to two topics that are important parts of his life.  They are his faith in the Lord and the devotion to his wife Clara. Rivera often refers to his faith as his means of dealing with awful occurrences (9/11 and the loss of two family members due to electrocution in a swimming pool), trying to come to grips with understanding others (use of PED’s for example) or even just how he keeps his work ethic and how he deals with low points of his career, such as the seventh game of the 2001 World Series.   His devotion to Clara is also evident throughout the book as well.  He does consult and pray with her for many personal issues.   One touching part that struck me was when he wanted to take a leave of absence from the Yankees on a road trip to attend his son’s elementary school graduation.  The manager, Joe Torre, didn’t want to approve but knew that he couldn’t stop Rivera if that is what he wanted to do.  Rivera turned to Clara for assistance in making the decision and thanked her for that and everything else she did for him during their marriage.  By the way – Rivera stayed with the team for the road trip. Rivera doesn’t talk a lot about controversial topics such as PED’s but when he does express an opinion in the book; he is open and honest and doesn’t care about the reaction.  The best example of this is when he stated that he would like to have Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox as the second baseman on his team.  This upset many Yankee fans – how dare a lifetime Yankee player say a RED SOX player is the best?  But Rivera just was honest in his opinion on this topic as he was with any other one. The book follows his chronological path during his youth, his tryout with the Yankees in Panama and his storied Yankee career.  He doesn’t get too detailed in recounting seasons and even skims or ignores milestones he achieved.   The game in 2011 in which he became the all time saves leader is worth two paragraphs.  Yet, he moves the reader in which he gracefully and humbly acknowledges all that he has done and praises teammates and foes alike.   Some of these passages are heart-tugging.  I admit that my eyes moistened when he recalled being removed from the game in his last Yankee Stadium appearance in 2013 by teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter.  He was sobbing in their arms on the mound and his recollection in the book of that moment is one that the reader will know is truly heartfelt and emotional. The entire book is a great read for baseball fans, especially Yankee fans.  I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to read about not only one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but also one of the best human beings to play the game as well.  Did I skim? No Pace of the book:   Excellent.  Because Rivera doesn’t break down every detail of his childhood, his personal life or each season he pitched for the Yankees, the reader will move through the book with amazing speed.   Do I recommend?   Yes.  Whether the reader is a baseball fan, one who likes to read biographies or memoirs or even just to read about someone who is true to his faith, this book will be a fine choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a huge Mariano fan! The book is very interesting & worth reading.  It was worth taking my picture with him.  My only concern of negativity with Barnes & Noble was during the picture session, you could not bring a bookbag into the store. I left mine outside (with the others) there were badges security officers outside B & N. After the picture session, I ran outside & luckily no one pilfered my bag!
zoreck More than 1 year ago
I am not a Yankee fan. I was Mets and am a fan. I was the first game. I didn't like what happened in the 70's.  Now I stated all that in order to say this. Mariano is an exceptional man period. He is a very gentle, humble, bright man who worked how to become the great pitcher he was. It also a throwback to the  days when the Yankees were respected off the field also. This book is just so good in the accounting  of how he became the man and player he was and remains. It is a book full of honor, grace, respect, manners that reflected the man and the team. It is a joy to read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big MLB fan. I dislike the Yankees but this book and Derek Jeter's book are both really good, inspiring, and good reads.
AAMPB More than 1 year ago
Lola_Ann More than 1 year ago
I bought 'The Closer' for my 21 year old son. He's a college baseball player and needless to say, a lifelong baseball fan. He loved this book and highly recommends you read.
Just_Jules More than 1 year ago
Before I go into my review, let me make it very clear that I am a die-hard METS fan. Living in NYC and having friends and family who are fans of the Yankees, I've been to many games in the Bronx. I'm in my early 50's. I just finished reading "The Closer" by Mariano Rivera. As a 51 year old who has been a life time resident of NYC, I LOVED it. Yes, it is filled with page after page of details about games that Mr. Rivera pitched in. There are locker room discussions, and private thoughts in there as well. Through the pages, you read about his connection with God, with his family and the Yankees. You feel his pain, his pride, his accomplishments, his spirituality and his humbleness.. You are there with him through it all. He grows up in this book – and not just because of his age. The experiences, the nuances are all there. While it is a book that any Yankee fan would appreciate, I think that those of us who are in our mid-forties and above, who were "with" Mariano from the beginning of his career will really love it. After reading the book, I realized that I was there at so many of the "moments" that shaped him and his career. As a New Yorker, even if you were not present at one of those moments, they were replayed for us on the evening news over and over again. Mariano Rivera is what baseball was and should be about -- the love of the game. This is a book that I think every baseball fan will enjoy and every Yankee fan will love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a true and loyal Yankee fan. I am really enjoying this book
porchswingreader More than 1 year ago
I admire Mariano so much and would have liked to have learned more about his personal life and family. After getting past the first few chapters, there was just too much detail about different games. That got to be tedious after awhile. I'm sure avid Yankee fans and baseball players get a lot more out of that than the average reader. Overall, though, well done for an athlete.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Mariano tells his amazing story with insight and humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have so much passion for reading, but reading from a legendary closer is a whole differnt thing. Mariano Rivara is one of the most humble graceful people on Earth
Jason_A_Greer More than 1 year ago
This is a refreshing sports memoir because of its simplicity and forthrightness. Mariano Rivera, five time World Series winner, All-Star, more saves than any other pitcher is a direct, competitive, upbeat and kind man, and that is what is presented in this book, co-written at the close of his long career. Born in Panama, to a working class fishing family, with realistic hopes to be a mechanic, he was discovered by a local Yankees scout and given a chance perform. Rivera's narrative is largely focused on games themselves, especially postseason games. Even at a distance of 20 years in some cases, he gives clear explanation why he chose to perform precisely as he did. There are no larger points to be made about society, events he lived through, and no scores to settle with those around the game. For instance, he spends as much text discussing how he dealt with an unruly fan at a pizzeria than he did on the events around 9/11. He spends far more time talking about other ballplayers he respects than particular mistakes people have made, especially in the PED era. A consistent theme is one of God's grace and sovereignty. Rivera is a serious Christian, who practices as a part of the Charismatic movement. His decisions as a player are shown to be driven by loyalty, diligence and consideration of others. For example, his declining to leave the team for a few days to see his son finish middle school is placed in this context. This is a good, but not great book, because the narrative can be a bit repetitive at times. This book would be of great value to young players, as his determination to stay in the moment, to prepare consistently and diligently every day, respect others giving grace, and to have fun with the moments you are given. He certainly realize he has lived a blessed life, from Panama to World Series success, but he is clear he does not believe it was because he was special, but rather guided by God's hand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the story; I have the book and also the book on CD; I listened to it while driving across WY, from UT, to Denver, CO. My husband and I then listened to it together while traveling from Washington DC to UT. I also am a lifelong Yankee fan........and Mariano Rivera is an all time favorite.
ncsam More than 1 year ago
Good book, easy read. Moves right along but be careful. You'll start to think his ego is starting to show. What he is doing is giving you the facts not ego. He always speaks kindly of all fellow players no mater who they played for. He is a very humble man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dbraden More than 1 year ago
If all record-setting Hall of Famers are like Mariano Rivera, they are not only accomplished athletes but paragons of human beings. What the reader sees in The Closer is a committed team player who never forgets his humble beginnings or his religious beliefs. Rivera's tenure with the Yankees parallels the team's ascendance in baseball after a long absence from an accustomed reign. Whether that success evolves from Mariano's outstanding ability or the convergence of several players is never discussed. We read of the Yankee's success through the development of the greatest closer in history as he recounts mainly post-season competition and in-season turning-points. This autobiography is not 270 pages of boring ball/strike counts for outs. Rivera pulls aside the curtain for glimpses at the invisible part of baseball, behind the injuries, before the spotlight shines, plans and intentions and motives that create athletic success: the recipe for team greatness. For Rivera team success trumps all and God is in charge. Both ideas flow from his love of baseball and his humility that his God-given talent is not a source of pride. In an era of athletes skirting and defying rules and demanding special privileges for their physical prowess, Mariano Rivera stands above all as a role model who might turn athletes away from one-ups-man-ship and back to sportsmanship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a baseball story. His timing allows me to remember the persons and problems facing players. He, understandably writes from his 30+ years with the Yankees. I was impressed with the fact that he is a Christian and played and respected accordingly. He couldn't speak and English when he came to the US as a teenager!! A BIGGY in itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago