Monday, June 29, 2009

Even in Boston, they knew Mo was something special

This quote comes via Kevin Kennedy's talk show on Sirius XM radio (With thanks to Andrew Fitzpatrick):

“I’ll never forget this as long as I live, it’s a true story: we’re in New York, the old Yankee Stadium, Rivera comes in and he just blows it by Mo Vaughn, [Jose] Canseco, Reggie Jefferson, whoever. He went through us in the seventh and eighth inning like he was facing little leaguers. And you’re talking about the [1995 AL] MVP [in Vaughn]. I’ll never forget after the eighth inning, I think he struck out Mo, and I saw Derek [Jeter] cover his glove over his mouth and Rivera happened to get the ball and look at him, and Derek just kind of shook his head and laughed. Now, he covered his mouth out of respect because he wasn’t laughing at the Red Sox. He was laughing like, ‘I can’t believe how good this guy is, how dominant this guy is. I’m glad I’m not facing him.’ It was a respectful thing. I knew what Derek was doing. It wasn’t about, ‘Oh, we’ve got you guys.’ It wasn’t about that. I’ll never forget that, watching that from the visiting dugout, and I’m thinking the same thing on the bench. Now, all these years later, did I know Rivera would have 500 saves and be able to do this for, you know, 15 years in a row? No, but I did know there was something special we were watching that year in ’96.” "

Kennedy and Jeff Joyce hold their show, Inside Pitch weekdays, 1-4 PM on the MLB Home Plate Channel--XM channel 175, Sirius 210.

The best writing I've ever seen on Rivera is in the first chapter of Birth of a Dynasty in which Joel Sherman muses simply that the Yankees, in 1995, simply didn't know what they had in Mo...and only, if they had known...

As a fan, the best thing about Mo has been how easy he is to root for, how easy he is to like. It's not just how consistent he's been on the field, but how professional he's been off of it. Always understated, but never deprecating, there's only one other Yankee, in my mind, that has ever come across with the type of understated class that Mo has.

Lou Gehrig.