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Wetteland skips trip to make Mo ceremony

"I wasn't going to miss today. Period," John Wetteland said about the Rangers' tribute to Mariano Rivera. "I love Mo to death. We had a lot of great moments." Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

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 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 signed with the Rangers as a free agent after the 1996 season, 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 641 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."

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