DETROIT -- If Robin Ventura has his way, the only time he will see former teammate Mariano Rivera on the field over the next three days at U.S. Cellular Field is when the Yankees closer is honored by the White Sox prior to Tuesday night's contest.
"He's had a great career, been a great teammate and I think he's a good example for a lot of people to follow because he does a lot of good stuff," said Ventura of Rivera. "A better person than he is a player."
According to White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert, the team will present Rivera with what it hopes is a funny gift and another more touching gift in honor of the all-time saves leader's impending retirement at the end of the 2013 season. The goal was to have the gifts connected to Rivera's experience at U.S. Cellular Field and Comiskey Park, where Rivera made his debut as a starter on July 4, 1995.
Rivera worked eight innings and struck out 11 more than 18 years ago, while allowing two hits in picking up the victory. He has found his success in another area of pitching thanks to 643 saves, with 41 coming against the White Sox and 21 at U.S. Cellular, to go with his 0.96 ERA during 31 games at this South Side locale.
There also will be a group of 12 to 13 people visiting privately with Rivera before batting practice Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, as this unique meet and greet arranged by Rivera and the Yankees continues at each of his final stops.
"We've selected a representative group of people that will mean something to him, representing who the White Sox are," Reifert said. "It's a group of different people that will get a kick out of meeting and talking with Mariano. It really is a neat gesture."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.