Sept. 16 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump praised former New York Yankees relief pitcher as "maybe the greatest pitcher of all time" Monday when he presented the 13-time All Star with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
During the East Room ceremony, Trump said the "clutch pitcher" got his abilities "from God." The two entered the event to Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Rivera's entrance song during games. They exited to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York."
Rivera played all 19 seasons of his Major League Baseball career with the Yankees. Trump said Yankee Stadium is the house that Babe Ruth built and Rivera "closed out."
The 13-time All Star won five World Series during his career and was the first player to be elected unanimously into the hall of fame.
"Off the field, through the Mariano Rivera Foundation, he has helped provide children in need with an education, empowering them to achieve a better future," a statement on the White House website said. "The United States proudly honors Mariano Rivera for being a legend of the game of baseball and for his commitment to strengthening America's communities."
During the ceremony, Rivera, a Panamanian immigrant, encouraged other immigrants to learn English. It's "the first thing that we should do." He thanked Trump and first lady Melania Trump for the honor.