Quintessential Mo-Ments No. 26: The race is on

09/14/2013 9:04 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Jose Molina congratulates Mariano Rivera on recording career save No. 479, which moved him into second place all-time.(AP)
As it stands, 2008 was the first (and so far only) time Mariano Rivera found out what it was like to not play October baseball, but you could at least understand if he was still riding high even without a 14th straight postseason appearance.

That’s because on Sept. 15, he officially made the race for best closer ever a two-horse battle; retiring the White Sox in order on just seven pitches that night, Mo earned the penultimate save in a run of six straight appearances with one and gave himself 479 for his career – passing Lee Smith to move into second place all-time.

Trevor Hoffman was still roughly 75 saves ahead in the all-time lead, but with everyone else in his rearview mirror, Rivera’s mission was clear: 552 (and counting) or bust.

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