This really is one of the coolest things ever. Via Steve Politi -
The inspiration for the most unique retirement gift in baseball history came on a routine road trip this spring.
Ron Gardenhire, manager of the Minnesota Twins, was faced with an odd dilemma – figuring out how to honor a player who had tormented his franchise for nearly two decades – and his idea started as a question.
“How about something with broken bats?” he asked a few team employees, before coming up with that perfect something. “Maybe a piece of furniture or something – like a rocking chair.”
So the process began, and in case you had any doubts of just how respected Mariano Rivera is in baseball, the story of the “Chair of Broken Dreams” should put them to rest for good.
It wasn’t enough for the Twins to hand Rivera an autographed jersey or something and send him on the way. They had to have something memorable. They had to have something perfect.
They had to have the rocking chair. The team started to collect broken bats from current players, but when that didn’t seem like enough, it dug through its archives to find a few from former stars.
Joe Mauer has a bat on the chair. So do Torii Hunter and the late Kirby Puckett. “I can’t tell you that Mariano broke them all himself,” said Dustin Morse, the team’s director of communications and a member of what the Twins called Team Rivera, “but he might have.”
The bats were sent to a local furniture builder, and his progress was monitored closely. Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau helped pick out a leather seat. No detail was overlooked, and that effort paid off at Target Field on Tuesday when Rivera laughed like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning when he saw it.
“This,” Rivera said, “has been more than I expected.”