Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to baseball legend Mariano Rivera

The Yankees' newly inducted Hall of Famer received the nation's highest civilian honor at a White House ceremony on Monday.
Image: President Donald Trump awards former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera with the Medal of Freedom at the White House on Sept. 16, 2019.
President Donald Trump awarded former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera with the Medal of Freedom at the White House on Monday.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

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By Oluwatomike Adeboyejo

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera on Monday.

Trump praised Rivera, the first player to be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, for his storied career and achievements on the field and off it, where he has donated scholarships and school supplies to low-income communities.

Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees pitches against the Minnesota Twins in Game One of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium.Jared Wickerham / Getty Images file

“Mariano Rivera has made extraordinary contributions to American sports, culture and society," Trump said. "He is the most dominant relief pitcher in the history of baseball. And more than that, he has lived the American dream and shines as an example of American greatness for all to see."

A five-time World Series champion and 13-time All-Star, Rivera holds the Major League Baseball record for saves, with 652, in his 19-season career, all with the New York Yankees. Rivera, who earned the 1999 World Series MVP title, was the first Yankee to save 300 games.

Rivera joined a growing list of professional athletes to be awarded the nation’s highest civilian award by Trump — three within the past month alone.

He is the 12th individual to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Trump's presidency. Other recent Trump honorees have included NBA Hall of Famers Jerry West and Bob Cousy and golf great Tiger Woods.