He came from a family where fishing was a way to make a living. And Mariano Rivera like others before him was destined for a fisherman’s hard life.

This was the dangerous work of his father Mariano Rivera Palacios. It was also what uncle Miguel Rivera did. He died in a hospital after injuries at sea.

Miguel Rivera was lashed by ropes that broke loose from a hydraulic mechanism used to reel in fishing nets. This all happened in front of young Mariano whose mouth and ribs were injured.

The death left a mark on Mariano Rivera. Better he thought to concentrate on baseball than the perils of a fisherman’s life.

“From that moment I think he became fearful” his father said. “From then on he began to practice more and go to the stadium.”

He signed with the New York Yankees two years after his uncle died. He returned to fishing at times but only when he needed money.

Alfredo Munoz a childhood friend remembers that Rivera’s dreams lay beyond the sea. He recalls Rivera saying: “I want to be somebody. I want to be great.”

And he was true to his word. He became the greatest reliever in baseball history. He spent all of his 19 seasons with the Yankees freezing batters at the plate for a generation. Now at 43 years old and with the most saves in the game the long ride ends with his retirement after this season.