42 For 42: Mariano Rivera’s 34th Greatest Moment – Mo Goes Undrafted In 1992 Expansion Draft
Mariano Rivera is one of the faces of the New York Yankees, and has been since the 1990s. But that may have never been the case if he hadn’t been undrafted in the 1992 Major League Baseball expansion draft, the number 34 moment of our countdown.
In November of 1992, the brand new Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies were given the opportunity to take their pick from other Major League Baseball franchises in an expansion draft. Each team was able to protect 15 players from their 40 man rosters, with the rest of the roster and minor league rosters up for grabs. Rivera, a few years from breaking into the majors, went unprotected.
The first pick for the Rockies was pitcher David Nied, and the first pick for the Marlins was outfielder Nigel Wilson. Nied only lasted in the majors until 1995, while Wilson was out of the league by 1996. By 1996, Rivera had won his first of five World Series rings.
Another interesting fact from the expansion draft was that Trevor Hoffman, arguably the second best closer of all time, was the first eventual All-Star taken in the expansion draft at pick number eight by the Marlins.
Clearly it was too early to know that Mariano Rivera was going to be such a star, but had he been chosen by the Marlins or Rockies in the 1992 MLB Expansion Draft, Mo may not have won five championships, may not be baseball’s all-time saves king, and definitely would not be one of the greatest Yankees of all time.
This is yet another moment in the career of Mariano Rivera that shows he was destined to play for the greatest franchise in baseball and to do the great things that he’s done during his storied career.