Mariano Rivera: The Duke of Deception

Mo Rivera's active career ERA of 2.22 is now 11th best, all time.

Mariano Rivera may well be the quietest speaking baseball superstar of all time, but that’s OK. His greatness isn’t measured by words, but by the action results of his brilliant arm and his incredible ability to get batters out with one pitch that simply changes speeds and almost always goes exactly where Rivera wants it to go.

At age 41 and now pitching into his 17th season as a big leaguer, Rivera will be playing in his 1,000th game with his next appearance. In 20 innings of work in 2011, Mo has added another 13 save to his career total and he done it with a 1.80 ERA that has now dropped his career ERA mark to 2.22, good enough for 11th place in the top twenty lowest ERA crowd. Everyone else on this list played in the earlier decades of the 20th century, with the guy just above Rivera being Walter Johnson himself.

Earned Run AverageĀ 
All Time Leaders‘Top 20’
Name ERA (Raw ERA) Rank
Ed Walsh 1.82 (1.816) 1
Addie Joss 1.89 (1.887) 2
Jim Devlin 1.89 (1.890) 3
Jack Pfiester 2.02 (2.024) 4
Joe Wood 2.03 (2.030) 5
Mordecai Brown 2.06 (2.057) 6
John Ward 2.10 (2.102) 7
Christy Mathewson 2.13 (2.133) 8
Rube Waddell 2.16 (2.161) 9
Walter Johnson 2.17 (2.167) 10
Mariano Rivera 2.22 (5/19/11) 11
Jake Weimer 2.23 (2.231 12
Orval Overall 2.23 (2.233) 13
Tommy Bond 2.25 (2.254) 14
Will White 2.28 (2.276) 15
Babe Ruth 2.28 (2.277) 16
Ed Reulbach 2.28 (2.284) 17
Jim Scott 2.30 (2.298) 18
Red Russell 2.33 (2.334) 19
Andy Coakley 2.35 (2.350) 20

Mariano’s 13 saves from this year alone have elevated his career total to 572 – or 29 behind recently retired career saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Unless Rivera’s arm suddenly ages, or falls off, he most likely will surpass Hoffman’s 601 career saves total before the battle of the day is done.

I’ve been a Mariano Rivera fan, if not a Yankees fan, from early in his career. “Mo”, “Super Mariano”, and “The Sandman’ were all almost the inevitable nicknames for Rivera during his generation in the sun, although, he held no exclusivity on that Sandman tag. Houston fans bestowed it upon closer Billy Wagner, as well. The popularity of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica cast a broad blanket over the minds and eyes of baseball fans everywhere during the late 1990s and early 21st century. Apparently everybody who heard it thought they were the only members of the audience.

It doesn’t matter. Greatness by any name spells the same. I think Will Shakespeare said something far more eloquently about roses and it’s too bad we don’t have old Will here today to help characterize the incredible career of the great Mariano Rivera, a fellow who s well on his way to a first ballot shot into the Baseball Hall of Fame someday.

How about either “The Prince of Panama” or “The Panamanian Prince” as tags for Mariano Rivera? Have either of those been offered,? I haven’t heard them, but they work, as would “The Duke of Deception” or “The Swami of Swerve.”

I’d better stop on those offerings. I need to save a few brain cells for the remainder of a very long day.

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