Among the more than 40,000 third-dimensional artifacts on display at the Major League Hall of Fame Museum, one of them stands out with a lot of emotion on this weekend of exaltation.
It is a ball that belonged to the late Roy Halladay and shows the mark of the fingers of the Panamanian Mariano Rivera, when the latter taught the then pitcher of the Blue Jays how to best catch his straight cut, during the break for the Game of the Stars in 2008.
"When you go to the All-Star Games, always talk to the guys," Rivera said Saturday. "Then I started to talk with Halladay, and he asked me how a cut line was thrown and if I could teach him".
We all know what happened next.
"He did very well," said Rivera.
"And my teammates [in the Yankees] got mad at me."
Mariano Rivera was generous with his time and knowledge, always lending a hand to other pitchers. So, when the late Roy Halladay sought advice on how to refine his cutter, Rivera obliged. This weekend, both men will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) July 18, 2019
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Halladay was still a member of the Blue Jays, rivals of the American League East Bombers, when Mariano showed him how to throw his cutter, and Toronto's right starter used this pitching more often in 2008.
The cut line helped Halladay put the finishing touches on a hall worthy Hall of Fame that, sadly, Halladay will not be able to live with Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith and Harold Baines when they all give their speech of exaltation in the Temple of the Immortals. Halladay died in November 2017 after his plane crashed near the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico.
That was Mariano. A humble boy from Puerto Caimito, Panama who only cared to share his knowledge and skills with the other pitchers, regardless of which team they belonged to.
And that's why this Sunday his name will go forever to immortality. Like that of his then division rival.