Yankees' star relief pitcher Mariano Rivera
, who is a Pentecostal Christian, is the New York Board of Rabbis
' "Man of the Year" for his philanthropic contributions to the city and his native Panama.
The board will present the 43-year-old athlete with the award later this year. Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the board, will then escort the Yankee closer on a 10-day tour of Israel.
Potasnik told the New York Post
the dates for the tour have yet to be set, but it will be after the "two holy seasons," referring to the Jewish High Holidays and the Yankees' regular season, both of which conclude in September.
Potasnik joined Rivera on Saturday at a pre-Super Bowl charity auction at his local Pentecostal church in New Rochelle.
Rivera didn't mention the award at this weekend's fundraiser, though he was overheard discussing the issues the team currently faces with another guest.
"We need a lot of prayer, and I pray a lot. Our biggest competition is ourselves. You have to shed that ego at the door and all push for the same goal," Rivera reportedly said.
Referencing the team's disappointing performance at the end of last season, Rivera admitted, "The hitting wasn’t there, but pitching is the name of the game."
Nicknamed "Mo," Rivera has racked up more than 600 saves as a relief pitcher during his 18-year career with the Yankees, striking out more than 1,100 players in the process. Despite tearing his ACL last year, he reportedly signed a one-year contract with the Yankees for $10 million in November.
Though it has not been confirmed, Rivera has alluded to retiring at the end of next season.
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