Mariano Rivera Surprises Washington Heights Nursing Home

Nikki Gaskins

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY — The coronavirus pandemic isn't stopping former New York Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, from safely spreading a little holiday cheer.

The 51-year-old, who played professional baseball for 19 seasons with the Yankees before hanging up his towel in 2013, paid a surprise visit to Isabella Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in Washington Heights this week. Rivera visited the nursing home with his friend, Dr. Ramon Tallaj.

For the safety of the residents, the pair kept their distance and never actually went inside the nursing home facility to any seniors face-to-face. Instead, they carefully followed social distancing guidelines and Facetimed with residents instead.

According to Page Six, some of the residents didn't have the slightest clue who Rivera was — but the former pro-baseball player took it all in good stride.

"Mariano? Mariano who?” one senior reportedly said to Rivera during the video call, the digital outlet reported.

“It’s Mariano Rivera from the Yankees!” the former pitcher is said to have replied.

“I don’t recognize you. You’re bald! What the hell happened to you? Is that really you?,” the resident said.

Rivera, who was a good sport, then responded, “Yes, I had to shave my head because I’m going bald. This is the way I wear my hair now.”

Rivera and Tallaj, who founded the Somos Community Care medical network, were at the nursing home visiting frontline workers and residents alike in support of the Gift For Grandparents Wishlist Drive on Amazon.

This article originally appeared on the Washington Heights-Inwood Patch