NEW YORK (AP) - Widely acclaimed as the greatest reliever in baseball history, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees has been making a farewell tour in his last season before his announced retirement.
``I enjoy every bit of it,'' he said Monday during All-Star festivities at Citi Field.
With the 43-year-old closer set to pitch in his final All-Star game Tuesday night, a look at five gifts that opposing teams have given the career saves leader:
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CRAAACK! Rivera has made a living shattering the bats of opposing hitters, so the Minnesota Twins paid tribute in a most proper fashion: They presented him with a rocking chair built from cracked bats and inscribed it, ``Chair of Broken Dreams.'' No star was spared, either. Sheared wood once swung by Kirby Puckett, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau was used. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, All-Star closer Glen Perkins and Morneau gave it to Rivera at Target Field.
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WAVE GOODBYE: The Oakland Athletics gave Rivera a surfboard that was trimmed in A's green and gold, along with his No. 42. The team played his signature ``Enter Sandman'' at the presentation, and also handed him a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc from Groth Vineyards that had his number and a specially-engraved design.
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FIRST ... AND LAST: The crosstown Mets joined New York's fire department in honoring Rivera's last regular-season home games against them. Mets CEO Fred Wilpon gave Rivera a mounted fire hose nozzle, and New York City Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano provided a mounted call box. The team then let Rivera throw out a ceremonial first ball to Mets saves leader John Franco. A damper for Rivera, though: He threw the last pitch of the game, giving up an RBI single in the ninth inning that gave the Mets a 2-1 win.
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MO-TOWN: When the Yankees visited Detroit, manager Jim Leyland presented Rivera with a plaque showing him pitching at old Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. The plaque came with a neat touch, too - encased in it were two glass bottles containing dirt from the pitcher's mound at both ballparks. Leyland is managing the AL team at the All-Star game, and has assured everyone that Rivera will pitch at some point.
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HE'S A MONEY PITCHER: Several teams have given donations to the Mariano Rivera Foundation, with former Seattle star Edgar Martinez offering a check from the Mariners Care Foundation when the Yankees came to Safeco Field. In Kansas City, Hall of Famer George Brett and Royals general manager Dayton Moore gave Rivera a donation to the church where his wife, Clara, is the pastor.
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