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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Save the exaggeration, please

Reporting today on the 500th save thrown by New York Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera, ESPN called the rightie reliever "the best closer of all time."


Rivera doesn't hold the record for most career saves. (That distinction belongs to Trevor Hoffman, who has 571 and is still playing.)

Rivera doesn't hold the record for most saves in a single season. (His best season was 2004, when he had 53 saves. Four pitchers have done better, with Francisco Rodriguez topping the list at 62, accomplished last year with the Angels.)

And Rivera is one of the few pitchers, if not the only one, in the history of Major League Baseball to blow a save - and cost his team the championship - in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series (in 2001 vs. the Diamondbacks).

Is Rivera a great pitcher? Of course.

Will he be enshrined in Cooperstown one day? You can count on it.

But is he the "best closer of all time"? No. Not even if ESPN says he is.



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