As Mariano Rivera prepares to retire, the closer's farewell tour has become a central subplot to the season. Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader has been greeted warmly in each of his road stops, and the Yankees held a ceremony of their own to honor Rivera's illustrious career on Sunday.
Rivera will be the last active player to regularly wear uniform No. 42, with the number having been retired throughout MLB in 1997 to honor the achievements of barrier-breaking great Jackie Robinson. During his 19-year big league career, Rivera has also chiseled his own mark on the number's legacy. In honor of Rivera and his contributions, MLB.com is commemorating 42 notable moments from Rivera's career -- the 42 Days of Mo.
Mariano Rivera's next two saves were technically more important to his legacy than the one he recorded on Sept. 13, 2011.
But baseball has a thing for big round numbers.
And 600 is one heck of a big round number.
Rivera earned his 600th save -- making him one of only two players in Major League history, along with Trevor Hoffman, to reach the mark -- that night at Safeco Field, continuing his journey to immortality.
"It feels great; it's a great number," Rivera said afterward. "But  is the biggest. I thank God for that moment. My wife, my kids, teammates and the whole organization; all those great fans out there that support giving me the opportunity to do my job."
Two saves -- and six days -- later, Rivera overtook Hoffman as the all-time saves leader with No. 602.
But, again: big round number.
"It's an incredible accomplishment," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said afterward. "I don't know if we'll ever see it again. That's how incredible this accomplishment is, what he and Trevor Hoffman have done.
"This is a guy that I believe is the best closer that's ever been in the game."
Rivera got help from his teammates in save No. 600. He struck out Wily Mo Pena, allowed a single to Ichiro Suzuki, then whiffed Kyle Seager for the second out. Suzuki took off for second while Dustin Ackley was at the plate, but catcher Russell Martin threw to Derek Jeter at the bag to nab Suzuki for the final out.
While Rivera was more focused on the record and Martin claimed to know nothing about No. 600, Jeter raced to the mound and delivered the ball and a simple message to Rivera.
"'You're the best,' he knows that," Jeter said of what he told Rivera. "We've been close for a very, very long time. I know how important it is to him to come here and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in doing his job. And he's done his job better than anyone else."
And has continued to do so.