Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera retired in 2013 after playing 19 years at the major-league level. He finished his career with a 2.21 averaged ERA and 1,115 games played.
What made Rivera so dominant was his cutter, separating him from other pitchers and utilizing it frequently to strike out opposing batters. Rivera struck out 1173 total hitters over his career, earning 13 All-Star appearances.
Via Instagram, Rivera describes how he held his cutter and what made it so deadly.
â€œYou put pressure on the middle finger, and you finish strong. You have to put pressure on the middle finger. Once you put pressure on it, youâ€™ll do what youâ€™re supposed to do, finish. This is real important, guys. If this pitch goes with a breaking ball rotation, thatâ€™s no good. That means youâ€™re throwing a slider or any breaking pitch. This pitch has to have a four-seam fastball rotation.â€ Rivera adds that you donâ€™t have to â€œgrip this pitch too hard.â€
â€œItâ€™s something special, guys,â€ he said. â€œIt will change your career if you throw this pitch the way I throw. Iâ€™ll be No. 1. Youâ€™ll be No. 2.â€
â€œI remember being called to the big leagues. I was so excited, I was calling everybody from home. It was a special day though. I was in California and I was facing the Anaheim Angels,â€ Rivera stated.
â€œI got my butt kicked though. That was my debut. I got my butt kicked,” Rivera expressed, continuing on to add that he lasted 3.1 innings, earning five strikeouts but allowing eight hits, three walks, and five runs in a 10-0 loss.