It’s not fair for anyone to compare Jeurys Familia to Mariano Rivera.
Rivera was a baseball god and a baseball immortal. He was something that we will never see again.
Another closer that never got his due was Sparky Lyle. He was the first great closer in the Steinbrenner Championship Era. A bull dog, who more than anyone that ever closed a baseball game was never afraid of anything or anyone.
In the 1977 playoff game against the Kansas City Royals, he was willing to pitch 4.2 innings to get the Yankees to the World Series that led us to a World Championship versus the Dodgers.
That, ladies and gentlemen, will never happen again.
By the way, Lyle won the Cy Young award that year. Not even the great Mariano Rivera did that.
What I am saying is Familia is one of the finest relief pitchers in all of baseball. He saved over 50 games and that tells me for a Major League relief pitcher, he more than did his job. He was more than dependable and always ready, willing, and able to take the ball.
Mr. Familia also happens to be one of the finest individuals in all of baseball. I have gotten to know him this year and found him to be a true gentleman. Baseball is very lucky to have him.
When he gave up that home run vs. the Giants to lose the National League Wild Card game, my heart fell to my stomach. However, let’s remember this is Major League Baseball. Rich Gossage, who happens to be in the Hall of Fame, gave up home runs in big playoff games also. That’s why they call it the Major Leagues: the very best of the very best.
Congratulations Mr. Familia on a very fine season.
Just because I said you will never be Mo or Sparky doesn’t mean you can’t become Familia.