September 16, 2019 / 8:10 PM / 4 months ago

Trump awards Medal of Freedom to Rivera

U.S. President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

President Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to record-setting reliever Mariano Rivera on Monday.

The longtime New York Yankees closer received the nation’s highest civilian honor two months after he entered Cooperstown as the first unanimously elected Hall of Famer.

“He is the most dominant relief pitcher in the history of baseball, and more than that, he has lived the American dream and shines as an example of American greatness for all to see,” Trump said.

Rivera, 49, racked up a record 652 saves over 19 seasons with the Yankees (1995-2013). He made 13 All-Star teams and won five World Series championships in the Bronx.

Born in Panama, Rivera became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015. He currently serves as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, and has served on the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission.

“I’m proud to be an American,” Rivera said during his brief remarks Monday. “For that, I thank God.”

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre joined members of Rivera’s family for the ceremony at the White House.

—Field Level Media

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