BOSTON (CBS) — If you ask any baseball fan over the last twenty years who they would turn to if they needed the final three outs of a game, chances are they would answer Mariano Rivera.
But if you ask the future Hall of Famer who he would like to be playing second base behind him in such a situation, his answer may surprise you.
Rivera writes in his soon-to-be-released autobiography, “The Closer,” that he wouldn’t go with former teammate Robinson Cano, but Boston’s Dustin Pedroia.
“Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for 27 outs. It’s a special thing to see,” Rivera writes of Pedroia, later adding, “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”
While Rivera praises Cano’s overall talent, he doesn’t think Cano possesses the same on-field fire as Pedroia.
“This guy has so much talent I don’t know where to start. There is no doubt that he is a Hall of Fame caliber (player). It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best,” Rivera said of his former teammate in an excerpt of the book in the New York Daily News.
“You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”
Maybe one reason Rivera is such a big fan of Pedroia: the Boston second baseman was just 1-for-12 with 5 strikeouts in his career against Rivera.
Gresh & Zolak discussed the topic with CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman Tuesday afternoon, listen below for his take: