Photo credit Keith Allison
Mariano Rivera is no stranger to a lights-out save.
While the 47-year-old Panamanian-born relief pitcher, who picked up an MLB record 652 saves and won five World Series titles during his 19-season career as a closer with the New York Yankees, will certainly land in the Hall of Fame, it’s his life after the Yankees — and here in Westchester — that makes him one of the truly great ones.
Rivera, who lives in Rye with his wife of 25 years, Clara, and their three children — Mariano Jr., Jafet, and Jaziel — is devoted to charitable work. According to Brandon Steiner, owner of Steiner Sports in New Rochelle, who has known and worked with The Sandman for years, “He’s a man of priorities and has a good sense of perspective.” He supports college scholarships for deserving students, provides backpacks and school supplies for students in need, and has invested millions to convert a century-old abandoned New Rochelle building into a congregation, Refigio de Esperanza (“Refuge of Hope”), where Clara is the pastor and a partner in his good deeds.
Rivera attributes his success to his devout faith in God. “He’s very engaged in simple, beautiful acts of kindness,” says Steiner. “I don’t know anybody who is more authentic about his love for his community, or more committed, and he expects nothing back.”