Nathan Wurtzel, on Mariano Rivera’s upcoming induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame (which was unanimous):
On April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball retired the uniform number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson but allowed contemporary players wearing it to finish their careers without changing numbers. After 2003, Rivera was the lone player wearing 42 during his final 10 seasons, always understanding the responsibility he took on by volunteering to be the last man to wear the number. At the end of his career, he joined Robinson’s widow Rachel and daughter Sharon to unveil a plaque honoring Robinson at Yankee Stadium.
Dude was not a machine. A machine would have been easier to outwit. If you weren’t playing for the Yankees, you hated to see him on the mound — and you probably got misty-eyed when he left it for the last time. Getting a hit off of this guy meant something. So I can’t think of a better choice for being the last guy in the league to wear Jackie Robinson’s number, offhand.