Christian Ex-NY Yankee Mariano Rivera Honored by American Bible Society for Contributions to Spreading the Gospel

William RameauApr 30, 2014 01:13 PM EDT

Mariano Rivera, arguably the greatest closer in MLB history, was recently honored not because of his future MLB Hall of Fame career, but because of his impact on the Hispanic community through his Christian faith and love of Jesus.

The star baseball player received the honor at the Bible in Hispanic America event on April 24 to mark his efforts to teach about the importance of reading the Holy Scriptures to the Latin community.

Rev. Dr. Emilio A. Reyes, the Executive director of Multi-Language Ministries at American Bible Society, recently testified Rivera's positive impact on others.

"Mariano Rivera is a role model to millions of Americans in general and Hispanics in particular. He has used his platform as a baseball superstar to encourage Hispanics to turn to God's Word for direction and to help make sense of their lives. We are delighted to honor him for considerable contributions to the cause of Bible literacy," said Rev. Reyes.

Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season after spending his entire 17 year career as a member of the New York Yankees. In addition, "The Sandman" won five World Series rings in 1996, 1998-2000 and 2009 alongside Yankees captain Derek Jeter. His former teammate (Jeter) has announced this season will be his last year in baseball.

In 1998, Rivera and his wife Clara created "The Mariano Rivera Foundation" in order to help children in America and his native country Panama receive a good education and health care. His goal is to create a better life for kids in need.

Rivera is the last player in Major League Baseball history to wear a No. 42 jersey because that number was retired on April 15, 1997 to commemorate 50th anniversary of the late Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947. Like Robinson, Rivera left an irreplaceable mark in baseball on and off the field. 

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