Chili Davis wanted to make sure Mariano Rivera knew what he meant to Davis’ two seasons with the Yankees.

“I told him he was a class act,’’ said the A’s hitting coach who played with Rivera and won World Series titles in 1998 and 1999. “The two years I had there were awesome. Him, (Andy) Pettitte, (Derek) Jeter and (David) Cone, they were all professional. I needed to be with professionals before I retired.’’

Davis, who retired after the 1999 season at 39, shook his head that Rivera, who was tied with Baltimore’s Jim Johnson for the AL saves lead with 23 going into yesterday’s action, would leave at this point.

“I told him if I was leading the league in hitting, I wouldn’t retire,’’ said Davis, who played 19 years, hit .274 and had 2,380 hits.

Rivera, whose foundation the A’s donated $10,420 to in a pre-game ceremony at home plate, appreciated Davis seeking him out.

“He was a veteran guy when he got here, and I have a tremendous respect for him for how he played the game and how he was off the field,’’ Rivera said. “He is enjoying what he is doing now but he said he wished he had stayed longer as a player.’’

Manager Joe Girardi has been impressed by opposing teams honoring Rivera on his last tour of the big leagues.

“They are honoring what he meant to the game, not the New York Yankees,’’ Girardi said before the Yankees’ 3-2, 18-inning loss to the A’s Thursday. “He is a humble player and the greatest all-time [closer].’’