If it's after a game, the most likely first impression one gets of the Red Sox second baseman is that he's very, very dirty. Not even a clean-shaven face can take away from the fact that Pedroia usually has the dirtiest uniform on the field by the time the game is finished.
Pedroia belongs on the list of athletes who have stretched every inch of their talent in their careers. That list includes some who overcame physical limitations to be great, others who were uniquely gifted but took their gifts to another level, and still others whose hard-charging style led to wrecklessness that damaged their reputations.
Most professional athletes play hard. These are guys whose passion was palpable even in the back row of the arena, who were completely spent when the last second ticked off the clock and who fans had no doubt gave all he could give.