Mariano Rivera was all alone in celebrating his historic record-breaking 602nd career save.
After the iconic Yankees closer dispatched of three Twins hitters in the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 19, 2011, he was urged by his teammates to soak in the moment. On the mound. By himself.
"For the first time in my career, I am on the mound alone," Rivera said after that game. "There was nobody behind me, nobody in front of me, and I'm still surrounded by so many people. I can't describe that feeling. It was priceless. It was a moment I didn't know could be like that. I was thanking God in that moment."
Rivera, of course, has gone on to save 50 more games since the day he passed Trevor Hoffman for first place on the all-time list on that September day in the Bronx.
That sunny afternoon, Rivera retired Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmelee in succession, and even induced one of his trademark broken-bat outs.
"Definitely a special moment, 602," then-Yankees catcher Russell Martin said afterward. "All-time leader in saves, that's pretty incredible. It couldn't happen to a better guy. His work ethic, how he prepares himself every day, he's one of the greatest. He is the greatest now."
It was a milestone mixed into one of many superb seasons in Rivera's 19-year career, which will come to an end after the 2013 season. He recorded 44 saves that season -- the same number he's recorded this year, entering his final regular-season home game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, and the most since he saved a career-best 53 in 2004 -- and was an American League All-Star. The Yankees won the AL East that year before falling to the Tigers in the AL Division Series.