Carlos Gomez earned the last spot in an exclusive fraternity. The 27-year-old center fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers became the final batter to face Mariano Rivera in an All-Star Game. In the bottom of the eighth in the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field, Gomez saw six pitches from the sport's most accomplished end game specialist, all of them cutters. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Gomez rolled a ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Making his ninth All-Star appearance in his 19-year career, the 43-year-old Rivera took the mound before the home eighth. With the best players in baseball as appreciative and awestruck as the record crowd at Citi Field, the once foreboding "Enter Sandman" resounded like a celebratory hymn (complete with a rendition from Tim McCarver of FOX) as players on both sides applauded. American League players waited to take their defensive positions, allowing Rivera to soak up the moment. Meanwhile, National Leaguers crowded along the rail of the dugout to catch a glimpse of the greatest closer in history.
"It was tough. It was special," Rivera said after the game, via The Associated Press. "Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout, managers, coaches, players, priceless."
Once play resumed, Rivera showed everyone that his impending retirement is a matter of choice rather than necessity. Once again relying on his famous cut fastball, Rivera set the NL down in order, needing just 16 pitches in a flawless frame. Gomez, Jean Segura and Allen Craig were the final three batters to face Rivera, all of them saw only cutters.
"That's one of the moments I'll never forget," Craig said, via MLB.com. "That was probably one of the coolest at-bats I've had in my career. I saw some cutters. Shocking, right? Then more cutters."
These three players joined a select group of players to have faced Rivera in the All-Star Game. His 13 selections are the most ever by a relief pitcher yet he has maintained a 0.00 ERA.
Charles Johnson had the honor of being the first batter to face Rivera on the All-Star stage. In the top of the ninth inning of the 1997 Midsummer Classic, Johnson dug into the batter's box at Jacobs Field. Facing a then 27-year-old Rivera, Johnson struck out. Rivera then retired Mark Grace and Moises Alou to save a 3-1 win for the Junior Loop. From 1997 through 2013, Rivera allowed just one unearned run to the game's more feared sluggers and metronomic hitters, recording eight saves.
From Johnson to Gomez, here are all batters that Rivera faced in his All-Star Game career.