Sporting News names Rivera top pro athlete

Dec. 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has been named professional Athlete of the Year by Sporting News.

Rivera, 40, possibly the best closer in major league history, made 47 regular-season saves with a 1.76 earned-run average, then added five in the 2009 playoffs, helping the Yankees win their 27th World Series title.

He was dominant in the series victory against Philadelphia despite a painful and undisclosed rib cage injury.

"It doesn't matter now," Rivera told after the series. "It was manageable."

With 526 saves, the 10-time American League All-Star and five-time World Series winner and Milwaukee's Trevor Hoffman are the only closers ever to record at least 500 in their careers.

Rivera was the only closer last season without either a loss or blown save.

"I'm not a guy who goes looking for numbers or chasing records," Rivera told the Sporting News.

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