The Closer: My Story
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The greatest relief pitcher of all time shares his extraordinary story of survival, love, and Baseball. In September 2013, Mariano Rivera left the field to a stadium soaked in well-deserved applause. He retired as "the best reliever in the game in history," as Relief Pitcher Trevor Hoffman puts it. Now, he tells the story of how God brought him from Puerto Caimito, Panama, to Major League Baseball in The Closer.
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 8.3 X 5.9 X .9 (inches)|
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 10/29/15.
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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.
Wayne Coffey is one of the country's most acclaimed sports journalists. A writer for the New York Daily News, he cowrote R. A. Dickey's bestselling Wherever I Wind Up and is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Boys of Winter, among other books. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife and children.
"A warmhearted, charmingly frank baseball memoir.... 'The Closer' describes such a devout, decent and admirable guy that 'Happy Father's Day' might as well be its subtitle."Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Recently retired closer Mariano Rivera talks about his journey from Panama to the Bronx, the ups and downs, his faith and so much more. The Closer -- quick, simple, to the point. Just like the way he pitched."Yankees Magazine
"Even Babe Ruth as a slugger doesn't have Rivera's kind of consensual clout.... Rivera was known as perhaps baseball's classiest act. He keeps up that reputation here.... Rivera emerges on these pages as a wordsmith.... It's the kind of baseball odyssey that leaves readers with a sense of the Homerian that later extends to the stuff of clutch strikeouts, 'Casey at the Bat'-style grandeur and fallen records."Colin Fleming, Los Angeles Times
"Over his 19-year career with the Yankees, Rivera became the all-time saves leader and won five World Series. Along the way, he conducted himself with such humility that he earned the love of his teammates, the deep respect of opponents and the admiration of fans. This memoir demonstrates why.... Will be devoured by Yankees loyalists and happily sampled by all baseball fans."Kirkus Reviews
"For readers seeking inspiration from the tale of the son of a Panamanian fisherman who rose from humble beginnings to the top of the baseball world, The Closer will satisfy.... [The book] is a reflection of Rivera -- calm, focused and workmanlike."Bob D'Angelo The Tampa Tribune
"Rivera has stepped off the pitcher's mound and picked up the pen, writing a new memoir called The Closer. He recounts his journey with humor and humility."Ben Teitelbaum, The Daily Beast
"Even if you're not a Yankees fan (or you're even a Yankees hater), you can't deny that Mariano Rivera is one of the nicest guys in the game and easily the greatest closer of all time. The Closer... is the story fans have been wanting to read for a long time and one Dad will definitely dig."Parade
Rivera "comes across as a fellow who's made the transition from poverty in Panama to spectacular wealth and success in New York without abandoning the humility that has apparently characterized him almost since childhood."Bill Littlefield, Boston Sunday Globe
"It is rare to find so humble a person as Mariano Rivera.... [A] straight-ahead look at Rivera's impoverished childhood in Panama and his improbable rise to stardom.... Yankees -- and baseball -- fans should appreciate on numerous levels."BookReporter.com
"A deeply personal tale about hard work, perseverance and an unbridled passion for baseball.... For baseball fans, and casual observers, Mr. Rivera's 19-year career is a marvel to behold. Every page of The Closer reveals another layer of this surprisingly humble man with an incredible talent he only discovered in adulthood. Yankees fans like me are eternally glad that he did, and thank him for all the wonderful memories he gave us."Michael Taube, The Washington Times
sunny island breezesa sunny island5 Stars Out Of 5June 9, 2014sunny island breezesa sunny islandQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I'm not sure why I signed up to review this book. I knew very little about baseball and nothing about Mariano Rivera. I wasn't sure why, but I'm very glad I did. Now I know a lot more about baseball, and I feel as if I know the man called the closer.
This book takes one into the heart of baseball as well as into the heart of Mariano. It tells of his love for baseball, family and God.
Here is a quote from The Closer that made my heart sit up and take notice. "It's so easy to get caught up in the problems and complications and sadness that life can confront us with, but by opening my heart to the Lord, I am filled with lightness, with appreciation for the gifts He has given me, with the ability to pay attention to what is good and not what is not good."
That, my friend, is wisdom that we should all hold in our hearts.
Thank you, Mr. Rivera, for showing us the heart of a godly man. If you were still the Yankee closer, I would be a huge Yankee fan. I wish you and Clara well as you work with the Refuge of Hope.
***A special thank you to Amy Morrow of The Barnabas Agency for providing a review copy.***
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A testimony to strong Christian faithJune 5, 2014bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5You probably know him as the closer for the Yankees. The records he holds are impressive, such as most career saves - 652. But what about the man? Who is Mariano Rivera?
He's the son of a Panamanian fisherman who once thought he might be a good mechanic. But he loved baseball, playing on the beach with a ball made of wound up net and a glove shaped from cardboard. At eighteen he was invited to play with the Panama Oeste Vaqueros (Cowboys) in Panama's top league. He liked the outfield but when the team was in a jam, he was asked to pitch. He was twenty years old.
"Throw strikes and you'll be fine," the manager says. Put in the second inning, he goes the distance and does not allow a run. He continued to help his dad, fixing nets, anticipating the mechanic's school, figuring he'll again be in the outfield in the next game.
A couple of guys from the team catch him on a Sunday. They've arranged a tryout for him with the New York Yankees. "They want to see you pitch." Two bus rides and a half hour walk, a borrowed glove, his big toe poking out of his shoe, he throws nine fastballs (the only pitch he has). He's invited back the next day and the next. Then he is offered a contract.
Rivera takes us through his fascinating career, including his fear of flying and his learning English. His fast ball is only 86 or 87 mph but he can put the ball where he wants it. He moves up, sometimes starting, sometimes relieving. He marries his sweetheart and has elbow surgery. Then the call in May of 1995. He's going to New York.
What an amazing story. Rivera has talent but he also has great faith in the Lord. "Fame is fine," he writes, "but it is not what I seek. What I seek is the light and the love of the Lord, for as He reminded me on that hot July night on the pitcher's mound in the Bronx, He is the one who has put me here." (114) He shares how his faith is essential to his life and evidenced in his pitching. His faith carried him through the wins and losses. He writes of the seventh World Series game in 2001, "So really, there is nothing to fear, no result that isn't part of the plan, for we are in the arms of the Lord. That belief is what frees me to live, and pitch, in the moment." (147)
After his baseball career, Rivera went from saving games to saving souls. He and his wife started an evangelical Christian church called Refugio de Esperanza, Refuge of Hope. He loves his new calling.
This is a great book for lovers of baseball. I felt like I was beside Rivera as he relived the pitches, the batters, the games. I was also inspired by his deep Christian faith. His memoir is a tribute to trusting God to be the best one can be.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Barnabas Agency for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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