Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Wetteland makes exception for Rivera ceremony

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers Hall of Famer John Wetteland loves to fish and had a trip planned Thursday with his son. But he wasn't going to miss this day at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers honored New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before Thursday's game as part of the all-time saves leader's farewell tour. Rivera is retiring at the end of the season.

Wetteland, Rivera's teammate with the Yankees in 1995 and for the 1996 World Series championship season, and Rangers closer Joe Nathan presented Rivera with a black cowboy hat and custom-made boots with the Yankees logo and his jersey No. 42 on the back.

"I wasn't going to miss today. Period," Wetteland said. "I love Mo to death. We had a lot of great moments."

Wetteland, who became a free agent at the end of the 1996 and signed with the Rangers, said he could tell in his two seasons with Rivera that he was the Yankees' closer in waiting behind him.

But even Wetteland couldn't have predicted Rivera's 640 saves, even though looking back he better understands how he got here.

"Who could say that about anybody," Wetteland said. "You look back at it in retrospect and it becomes more clear why. I've never seen somebody pay so much attention to detail."