Growing up dirt poor was not something that Mariano Rivera ever thought about in Panama. They would find ways to play games with what they could find. Making your own baseball was relatively easy to do. Rivera gives us a glimpse into his life from a child to one of the greatest closers in baseball history.
The childhood was rough with no money and lots of work. It didn’t matter what age you were, you contributed somehow to bring in money for the family. He tells us about his dad that was very rough on him. How he would beat him with a belt or other things because he couldn’t live up to his father’s expectation. Mariano asked his uncle why they were all hard on their families and the realization of what he was saying became a promise on how he would treat his children differently.
Then he goes on to how he got noticed playing baseball and the meeting with a scout. How matter-of-fact it was that he would get $500 and must move to the United States. Rivera had never traveled out of his region. He packed up with just a bag of stuff and his father and friends, including his girlfriend, which he later would marry, were crying. They believed they would never see him again.
He arrives and knows nothing about the culture and how things work in the USA. He laughs about hearing conversations about Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. He then asks who are they and his teammates are amazed. He gets through his first years and now is on his way to the Major Leagues.
Mariano has favorite stories about some of the players he faced and the competition that grew out of those one-on-one battles. He tells about his teammates and how he was always a big supporter of his teammates, such as Alex Rodriguez. His revelations about his faith and how it was with him every step of the way and how he and his wife use it in today’s society.
He tells of his last game and some of the things he instructed the brass to not do and how that came out. In the end, this is a good book by a classy individual and very good baseball player. The Closer is worth the time to read, for sure.