Mariano Rivera surely would love to add to his postseason save total this fall, helping the Yankees on one more October run before his retirement tour reaches its conclusion.
But if he doesn't, well, at least there would be something poetic about Rivera's final career statistics. He would finish with 42 postseason saves, having reached that number on Oct. 15, 2010, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Rangers.
Forty-two is a stunning number, 25 more than his closest competitor, Brad Lidge.
It's also a highly appropriate number for the last man to wear it on his back. Those digits, of course, long have been retired across Major League Baseball to honor Robinson, but the players already wearing 42 at the time were allowed to keep it. Once Rivera retires, the number only will be seen on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day.
"It's a privilege, an honor to wear No. 42," Rivera said on Jackie Robinson Day a few years ago. "Especially because of what Jackie represents for us."
The night that Rivera reached 42, it didn't seem like he would get a chance to pitch. The Rangers rocked CC Sabathia for five runs in four innings, but the New York bullpen settled things down, and the Yankees engineered a five-run eighth to take the lead at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
Rivera came on for the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single to Mitch Moreland, who advanced to second on a sacrifice. The Rangers had two chances to bring home the tying run, but Rivera wouldn't let them. Michael Young struck out, and Josh Hamilton grounded to third, completing one of Rivera's six scoreless appearances during the 2010 postseason.
"It never gets old," Rivera told the Cleveland Plain Dealer before the series began. "When you have an opportunity to get here, it never gets old. A lot of great players have never had this opportunity.
"I take every shot in the playoffs like it's the first one. I don't know when I will be doing this again. ... I will never take it for granted."
And indeed, Rivera might not get another opportunity.
If he doesn't, he will still finish with a record 0.70 ERA across 141 postseason innings. Rivera has converted 42 of his 47 save chances in the most pressure-packed of settings, getting more than three outs to earn 31 of those saves.