The 100 Greatest in 100 Days: #22 Mariano Rivera

Giving hitters nightmares at #22 is the Sandman Mariano Rivera. Rivera is the most dominant relief pitcher in baseball history, the most dominant pitcher in postseason history, and there’s a strong argument to be made that he’s the most impactful pitcher of all time. His 652 career saves are the most in history. Only one other reliever has even reached 500 career saves. His 205 career ERA+ is the highest in history and—in one of the most remarkable statistics in all of sports—the gap between Rivera and second place is equal to the gap between second place and 314th place (min. 1,000 innings).  Rivera’s career 1.00 WHIP is the lowest since the deadball ERA. It’s hard to believe that as dominant as Rivera was in the regular season, he was significantly better in the postseason. Among players who pitched at least 40 postseason innings, Rivera’s .71 ERA and .76 WHIP are the lowest of all time and by a significant margin. His 42 postseason saves are more than the next two players on the postseason saves list combined. His 8-1 postseason record is good for a .889 winning percentage which is the best in postseason history among pitchers with at least six decisions. Rivera is #1 all-time in Baseball Reference’s postseason win probability added statistic. His 11.7 mark is more than the next three on the list combined. He’s also #1 all-time in Baseball Reference’s championship win probability added stat with a crater size gap over second place. Rivera’s postseason dominance translated into seven World Series appearances and five World Series titles for the Yankees. He was named the 1999 World Series MVP and the 2003 ALCS MVP.

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