The last of the World Series ring ceremonies was short but sweet Friday at Wrigley Field — a contrast to how important the recipient was.
“Aroldis Chapman was one of the most important guys we had,’’ said manager Joe Maddon of the closer acquired in midseason who returned to the Yankees as a free agent last winter. I’ve said before, we wouldn’t have done it without him.’’
Chapman proved his worth as a closer again as he preserved the Yankees’ 3-2 comeback victory for his seventh save of the season.
Hours earlier, he received his ring from president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and Maddon while his former teammates applauded and hugged him.
“I always understood coming here and winning a championship would be something that would be special,’’ Chapman said. “I understood that they gave up a lot of players for me, but I didn’t want to add extra pressure to myself. I just wanted to do my job.
“This means a lot. As a ballplayer, everyone wants to win a championship. That’s the goal. Now I’m excited to be part of this [Yankees] team. This is where I wanted to be as a free agent. We have a lot of young guys. It’s a fight now because we want to win a championship here.’’
Former All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro didn’t get a ring, as he was traded to the Yankees before last season. But he was all smiles in his return, praising his former teammates’ success.
“I love this field. I have good memories in this ballpark,’’ he said. “I feel happy for the city and my ex- teammates. I was in my first playoffs here.’’
The crowd applauded Castro’s first at-bat as his Cubs’ walk-up song played, and the video board posted a welcome sign for him in his Cubs uniform.
Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.