Just a few months after legendary New York Yankees manager Joe Torre ventured to Saratoga Springs to give one of Skidmore College’s commencement speeches, another Yankee legend is headed to the Spa City, this time to Saratoga Race Course. Mariano Rivera, who served as the Yanks’ closer for 17 seasons, winning a staggering five World Series champions with the team, will be honored at the track on opening weekend, just a week prior to his induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was the first player in the Hall’s history to be unanimously voted in.
On Friday, July 12, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will honor Rivera with a ceremony in the Winner’s Circle at Saratoga Race Course. “We’re thrilled to welcome Mariano Rivera to Saratoga Race Course for what is sure to be an exciting and memorable day for sports fans,” NYRA CEO and President David O’Rourke said in a statement. “Mariano is truly one of the most beloved and respected players of all time and his visit will only further enhance the festivities surrounding Opening Weekend.”
One hundred fans will have an opportunity to meet the 13-time All-Star closer during a luncheon in the paddock tent from 12pm-1:30pm, which will include a question-and-answer session; an auction, featuring authentic Rivera memorabilia; and photo opportunities. Luncheon tickets are $250 and are limited to the first 100 fans. (Purchase tickets here.)
Rivera, who retired in 2013, recorded a Major League Baseball record-setting 652 saves, leading the league in saves on three separate occasions. With his July induction into the Hall of Fame, Rivera will join Yankees greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth—as well as his longtime manager, Torre.