Mariano Rivera knows a thing or two about closing. On Saturday, he began the closing act of his career with the same grace he has used to collect more saves than any pitcher in history.

Sitting with his wife, Clara, and two of their three sons, Rivera delivered the news the world knew was coming: the 2013 season will be his last.

“Now you're hearing it from me, it’s official,” Rivera said. “After this year, I will be retired.”

The pavilion at Steinbrenner Field was standing-room only. Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte were among a group of Yankees VIPs seated to Rivera’s right during the press conference, while the rest of the team stood behind them to watch the greatest closer of all-time deliver his news.

“It’s not so easy when you come to a decision like this,” said Rivera, who admitted he had to collect himself after he looked around at his teammates assembled for the announcement. “But I would love to say that it has been a privilege and honor to wear the pinstriped uniform that I have proudly worn for so many years in good times, great times. It has been wonderful.”