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PETER ABRAHAM

A thank you note to Mariano Rivera for help with a key career decision

New Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
New Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. (matt slocum/AP)

Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher in baseball history, also excelled at giving job advice.

In 2009, when former Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan unexpectedly offered me a job, I actually asked for a few days to think about it. The Globe was my dream job, but it wasn’t an automatic decision.

I was working for The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., as their Yankees beat writer and loved it. The Yankees were the best beat in New York City, and I had become good friends with the other writers.

There also was a sense of loyalty to the Journal News, which had given me a chance to cover the majors.

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As I debated my options, there were still games to cover, and I went to Yankee Stadium the next day.

Rivera approached me in the clubhouse before the game and said, “I hear you’re thinking about leaving us.”

Related: Rivera, a unanimous selection, leads a class of four into the Hall of Fame

I still don’t know how he found out, but I laid out the pros and cons of my choice and we chatted for a few minutes.

Rivera placed his hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I don’t know what is right for you. But if you open your heart to God, you will get your answer.”

Rivera is deeply religious, which I respected even if I didn’t believe God cared much about where I worked.

But after covering the game and sleeping soundly that night, I woke up and knew I had to go to the Globe. Something just clicked that made everything clear.

Related: To Red Sox fans, Rivera was a great pitcher and a good sport

That afternoon, again in the clubhouse, Rivera called me over.

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“You decided,” he said. “I can see it in your face.”

I told him what I decided and he wished me well. Rivera played four more seasons, and every time we crossed paths, he asked how things were going in Boston and how my family was doing.

When the Hall of Fame ballot arrived in December, checking off Rivera’s name was easy because he was such a tremendous pitcher.

Now that he’s officially in the Hall, I’ll remember watching Rivera pitch and how he became an unlikely sounding board when a big decision had to be made.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.