TAMPA — The lakefront home of New York Yankees pitching great Mariano Rivera hit the market Wednesday for $3.5 million.
Rivera, arguably the greatest relief pitcher of all time, had the house in the gated Avila community custom built in 2004 for $710,000. He and his wife, Clara, stayed in it during spring training and once considered making it their retirement home, listing agent Jennifer Pichette-Fieo said.
"It’s been a part-time home,'' she said. "But they live in New York and decided they’re not going to come to Florida so they’re selling it.''
Situated on Lake Sloan, the seven-bedroom, seven-bath, 9,250-square-foot house has its own gated entry into a brick courtyard. Amenities include a pool with a waterfall, a gym, a billiard room with built-in bar and a theater with movie-style seating.
Born in Panama, Rivera, now 49, made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 1995 as a starting pitcher before permanently converting to a relief pitcher in his rookie year. Nicknamed "Mo'' and "Sandman,'' he led the major leagues in saves in 1999, 2001 and 2004; was the 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player; and set numerous records including for most regular season career saves (652). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player unanimously elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Working with church-based institutions, Rivera’s nonprofit Mariano Rivera Foundation distributes more than $500,000 annually to underprivileged children in the United States and Panama. Rivera has been a celebrity spokesperson for Nike, Skechers footwear and other companies, donating his endorsement earnings to his foundation. In 2011, the marketing firm Nielsen ranked him as the second most marketable player in baseball behind only Yankee teammate Derek Jeter.