David Ortiz Reflects On Facing Mariano Rivera Ahead Of Hall Of Fame Vote


Jan 21, 2019

Mariano Rivera was a constant thorn in the side of the Red Sox and Boston fans everywhere for a long, long time.

But the New York Yankees legendary closer was on the other side of perhaps the single biggest base hit in Red Sox history, a game-tying single off the bat of Bill Mueller in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series as Boston went on to break an 86-year championship drought.

Over time, Rivera was seen less as the boogeyman in Boston and more a source of genuine admiration from even the most boisterous Sox fans because of the closer’s professionalism and ability. Sox fans gave him a rousing ovation in his final game at Fenway Park in 2013.

Rivera is a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when ballots are announced Tuesday, and could come close to being the first-ever unanimous selection.

David Ortiz was 13 of 38 (.342) against the revered right-hander in his career with four extra-base hits, but praised Rivera as one of the toughest pitchers he ever had to face, and called No. 42 one of the greatest players of all time.

“Mariano wasn’t fun to face. He was nasty,” Ortiz told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. “You knew what was coming but that didn’t mean you could hit it. You’d be waiting for it and it would disappear. Like I said, nasty.

“Mariano is one of the greatest players of all time without a doubt and the best closer ever, in my opinion,” Ortiz added. “I don’t think there will be one person mad that Mariano is in the Hall of Fame, not even a Red Sox fan. That guy was special and he was even better as a human being. I’m so glad to see him going to the Hall.”

At this point, we’re not sure how someone could possibly not vote for Rivera.

Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images
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