New York Yankees Memories: 2013 MLB All-Star Game: Enter The Sandman

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Sep 26, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) is interviewed after his final home game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Enter The Sandman

The accolades for Mariano began even before the game got started. In the clubhouse, American League Manager Jim Leyland made it clear what his priority would be on the night. That priority? Not to beat up on the National League. Not even to win the game. His motivation was simply to ensure that the greatest closer of all-time made it into the game.

As always, Mariano was appreciative and gracious. “I told them (his American League teammates) it was a privilege to play with all of them,” he said according to ESPN. “For so many years, this is my 13th year as an All-Star. For many of them, it was their first one. I told them to make sure they enjoy it because it goes by quick.”

Mike Trout was so inspired  by Mariano’s words that he led the game off with a double. Although he did not eventually come around to score, the tone was set. This was not just another exhibition game. It was the last All-Star game for a legend, and, to a man, the American League was determined to make it a memorable one. But none of them knew, at the time, just how special the night would eventually become.

Next: The Last Inning Of An All-Star career