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Twins present Rivera with specially crafted chair

Twins present Rivera with specially crafted chair

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Twins present Rivera with specially crafted chair

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was named the "Chair of Broken Dreams."

Built out of broken bats once used by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Kirby Puckett, among others, the rocking chair was presented by the Twins to Mariano Rivera to commemorate his pending retirement.

As they laughed over the gift, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire -- who came up with the idea back in April -- noted that most of the bats were broken at the hand of Rivera himself. The Twins also donated $10,000 to the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which is working on a building a church in New Rochelle, N.Y.

"He's kind of done it all the right way," Gardenhire said of Rivera. "When you talk about respect of the game, he'll be right up there at the top. He's a player you respect, and the way he's gone about it. A classy individual."

Rivera has made life hard on the Twins in the 54 games he's pitched against them. Over his 33 saves through July 1, he has allowed only 11 runs on 44 hits and struck out 67.

"I'll miss him as far as what he meant to the game and to the Yankees," general manager Terry Ryan said. "I'm not going to miss watching him carve us up.

"God bless that man. He's been a tremendous closer, but it's not going to break my heart to see him go off into the sunset."

When Rivera heard about Ryan's comments, he laughed and said he was simply doing his job.

"It's a job that I have to do," Rivera said. "I'm satisfied with my job, but I tell you the truth, though, there's been a lot of good games here and good battles."

Although Rivera's numbers against the Twins stand out, he never had one particular player who gave him issues except for the time Paul Molitor hit him on the leg, a pain he still feels, or so he joked.

Prior to Tuesday's game, and as he's done at every park he's visited this season for the final time -- Rivera held an invitation-only affair through which he and attendees were able to chat.

He met a woman who worked with Twins ticket-holders and learned how she became a baseball fan after years of not liking the game. Now she's worked within the sport for 20 years.

"It's wonderful to hear a thing like that," Rivera said. "I [was] more than grateful to meet her and to listen to her."

With retirement looming, Rivera said, his "farewell" tour has led to experiences he never imagined.

"It has been more than what I expected," he said. "It has brought emotions that I wouldn't have expected -- wonderful people, wonderful human beings dedicated to their work, their job and their organization. And that's what we all hear about. It has been beyond what I was expecting."

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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