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Mariano Rivera (left) and Phil Mickelson
Rivera: Kathy Willens/AP; Mickelson: Matt Dunham/AP
Mariano Rivera (left) and Phil Mickelson

Old men can win

Sports | Two ‘aging’ professionals show how to win with style and character

Issue: "Blind exiled brave," Aug. 10, 2013

New York Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera made his 13th and final All-Star Game appearance July 16, pitching a perfect inning and winning the Most Valuable Player trophy. As Rivera walked onto the field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the crowd of 45,186 at Citi Field in New York gave him a two-minute standing ovation. Rivera’s All-Star teammates stayed off the field as he warmed up, allowing the Panamanian star to soak in the moment.

“Amazing,” Rivera said after the game. “I can’t describe it. I have no words for it. It’s been a wonderful night, the whole event.” 

Rivera during his time in Major League Baseball pitched nine career All-Star innings without allowing an earned run. At 43 baseball’s oldest active player, he announced in March he would retire at the end of the season. He says he plans to work in evangelical ministry in Panama. Rivera’s MLB-record 639 saves and his five World Championships will undoubtedly send him to baseball’s Hall of Fame, but he has said, “God has put me in a special place to talk about Him. It really has nothing to do with baseball. I’m here to talk about Him. Him alone.”

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Phil Mickelson, 43, was down by five strokes entering the final round of the British Open on the morning of July 21. “Lefty” faced difficult weather elements at Muirfield Golf Links in Scotland and a playing field that included four-time British Open winner Tiger Woods and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott. To win, Mickelson would have to play one of the best rounds of golf in his life.

That’s exactly what he did. A final-round score of 66 enabled Mickelson to pass the eight men in front of him and capture golf’s oldest trophy, the Claret Jug. He birdied four of his final six holes and shot a 32 on the back nine to win the championship. “It was the round of my life,” Mickelson said. The California native has now captured three of golf’s four major championships—the British Open (2013), the Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), and the PGA Championship (2005). 

The U.S. Open is the only championship which still eludes Mickelson; he has finished in second place at the event six times. Only five golfers have ever achieved a career Grand Slam: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Gene Sarazen.

Just five weeks ago, Mickelson lost the U.S. Open to England’s Justin Rose by one shot. “After a few days of sulking I was able to reassess and see that I was playing some of the best golf of my career and that I didn’t want to let a tournament that got away affect these future events. … I used it as a motivating factor to work a little harder.”

Hot sellers

Russell Wilson
Al Bello/Getty Images
Russell Wilson

A list of the hottest-selling NFL and baseball jerseys includes those of several who profess Christ. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is second on the list, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is third, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is fourth, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sixth. On the MLB list, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera are first and second. One notable absence from the NFL list is Tim Tebow, whose jersey topped the list for several months in 2010 when the Denver Broncos drafted him. 

Zachary Abate
Zachary Abate

Zachary is a sports fanatic working as a WORLD intern out of Purcellville, Va. He currently studies at Patrick Henry College.

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