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Yankees honor retiring Mariano Rivera in pre-game ceremony

Sept. 22, 2013 at 2:51 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Retiring relief pitcher Mariano Rivera was honored by the New York Yankees in a ceremony Sunday prior to his final appearance at Yankee Stadium.

Rivera, a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer and all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, took the field with family members, team management as well as current and former Yankees teammates before Sunday's game against the San Francisco Giants.

"I appreciate you guys," he told the current and ex-teammates on the field, including David Cone, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada.

"The Lord has blessed me with a big family and all these guys are part of my family. I thank you guys, I love you guys. You are special."

The Yankees on Sunday retired Rivera's No. 42, adding his visage to the team's Monument Park.

"To you fans, thank you for 19 years of support," he said. "It has been a great run. You have been amazing. You have always been here, for me and the organization. I will never forget that. You will have part of my heart here in New York."

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