500 up, 500 down ... the best ever?

Sunday, June 28 2009 @ 11:52 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

The Yankees just completed a season of dominance in New York, taking the season series from the Mets, 6-0. In that last game, Mariano Rivera trotted out of the bullpen in the eighth inning to nail down his 110th career save of more than three outs -- and, oh by the way, the 500th save of his magnificent, Cooperstown-bound career.

So here's the question ... Trevor Hoffman is still the all-time saves leader. Rich Gossage and Rollie Fingers are already in the Hall for their work in what was a different era for closers. Bruce Sutter recently joined them, perhaps representing the first real one-inning closer, or at least the natural transition from Hoyt Wilhelm and the Goose to Dennis Eckersley and Lee Smith.

But Rivera has done it on the world's biggest stage for his entire career -- none of the others mentioned were one-team guys, much less New York guys. Rivera has done it in the post-season, arguably better than anyone else ever has (with a respectful nod to Luis Gonzalez, natch).

So there's your question ... Mariano Rivera ... the greatest closer (career, not just one season or we'll get lost in the minutiae of really-goods like John Hiller and remember-him?s like Bobby Thigpen)  in major league baseball history?

And if not him, who?

Note: Rivera is quite likely to remember this game as the day he got his first career RBI more than the day he nailed down his 500th save, hey?