Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera attend hunger outreach benefit in Danbury, Ct. on Jan. 18
Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams, lent their names and fame to the Speak Out Against Hunger benefit at The Matrix on Saturday.
Rivera, a pitcher, retired from the New York Yankees in 2013 after 19 seasons. Williams retired from the Yankees in 2007 after 16 seasons playing center field.
Both men have deep religious beliefs, and it is that sense of religious community that drives their commitment to charitable outreach. Saturday found them at a benefit for the Hillside Food Outreach.
"I had 19 years in the big leagues, but was always moving toward my new career of spiritual outreach," said Rivera, whose church, Refugio de Esperanza, is in New Rochelle, N.Y.
"Every time you see a sports figure doing this kind of thing, it is wonderful," Rivera said. "It's an honor and a privilege to be touching life in another way."
Williams noted that "a lot of players have a hard time adjusting to life after baseball. You do have to change grooves. I was blessed to be able to shift gears into music and Mariano had a plan as well."
Both men said they were doing exactly what they wanted to be doing at this point in their lives.
Williams, a jazz guitarist, has recorded several albums and published a book in 2011, "Rhythm of The Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance."
"I'm doing exactly what I want to do," Rivera said. "No second thoughts at all. I'm done with baseball."
"There was a chance I'd play Houston (in the last series of the 2013 season), but my knees are all beat up. I knew I wouldn't be able to run and catch a fly ball. I want to remember my last game was in Yankee Stadium. I love the game of baseball. I'd never play unless I could give it my all," Rivera added, speaking of the end of his Yankee career." image above by Tyler Sizemore, caption,
"Former New York Yankees Bernie Williams, left, and Mariano Rivera laugh during dinner at the Speak Out Against Hunger benefit for the Hillside Food Outreach at the Matrix Conference & Banquet Center in Danbury, Conn. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. The event was hosted by former Yankee player and Grammy-nominated jazz musician Bernie Williams with special guest Mariano Rivera."
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