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Quintessential Mo-Ments No. 1: The Saga Begins

08/21/2013 9:01 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

A fresh-faced 20-year-old Mariano Rivera was unleashed upon the Minors in 1990.(Bowman Baseball Cards)
On February 17, 1990, the Yankees signed a 20-year-old international free agent named Mariano Rivera - and that summer, he gave the baseball world a taste of the dominance that was to come.

Pitching for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees, Mo was nearly untouchable in his 22 appearances that summer; he went 5-1 with a 0.17 ERA and 0.462 WHIP, recorded the first and only save of his Minor League career, struck out 58 batters against just seven walks in 52 innings, and punctuated the campaign with a seven-inning no-hitter on the season's final day that allowed him to qualify for (and obviously win) the league's ERA crown.

Sure, it was "only" Rookie ball, but given the nature of the beast, it wouldn't be surprising if nearly a quarter-century later, the guy who scored the lone earned run Rivera allowed that summer claims that moment as his biggest career highlight.

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