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Quintessential Mo-Ments No. 22: From grief to greatness

09/10/2013 9:04 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Hours before Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS, Mariano Rivera and wife Clara attended a family funeral in Panama.(AP)
If there was ever a time someone didn’t believe that Mariano Rivera has ice water running through his veins once he gets on the mound, one need only to point them to the day of Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS.

Rivera would incur perhaps his most infamous career blown save later in the series, but in Game 1, he was called upon in the eighth with two outs and the tying run on third. Of course, he did his job, but what many didn’t know is that he did so with a heavy heart, because earlier that day, Rivera was in Panama attending the funeral of two of his wife’s cousins.

It cost the Yankees roughly $50,000 to charter a private plane to bring Rivera back to the Bronx that same day, but in doing so, they allowed Mo to prove what his agent had said about him earlier that week: “In a high-intensity business, he's all business. He's focused. If anybody can do it, it's Mariano."

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