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He is a baseball pitcher who has played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He has served as a relief pitcher for most of his career, and since 1997, he has been the Yankees' closer. A 12-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he is Major League Baseball's all-time leader in saves and games finished. His awards include five American League Rolaids Relief Man Awards, the 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player Award, and the 2003 AL Championship Series MVP Award. He is the only reliever to win both a League Championship Series MVP Award and World Series MVP Award.
As a child, neither he nor his family attended church, and at the beginning of his baseball career, he was not a Christian. However, when his wife fell sick, he began to realize his need for Christ. He said, "Every time I was going through a hard time, somebody was there to help. It's not too often when you play in the minor leagues that a coach will tell you he will take care of your son while you stay with your wife at the hospital. My pitching coach did that, and one lady from Panama---I never knew her before---offered to stay with my wife while I was playing. Even though I had nobody here, I was never alone. That made me accept Jesus as my Savior. I knew it wasn't a coincidence. It was the Lord putting someone there for me." His pitching glove is inscribed with "Philippians 4:13", which reads, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me".
During the off season, he visits churches and Christian ministries. He financed the building of a church in his home city of Panama City. And at the end of his baseball career, he hopes to become an evangelical preacher, using his money to aid Christian missions and making philanthropic contributions through his foundation. His name is Mariano Rivera.
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