Rays starting pitcher — 2.76 ERA in 2013
“From a baseball standpoint, he’s been everything. He’s the one who got me into it, taught me everything he knew. Got me with instructors who knew more than he did when I surpassed his info. Beyond that, as my major league career’s unfolded, he’s always been that stable, calming voice, never being too high or too low on everything. When it’s a bad game, he definitely takes positives out of stuff.
“He showed me the way to handle adversity and deal with the struggles throughout my life (especially after Alex’s mother died of a stroke in 2005). I knew he was always there for me when I needed him.”
JACKIE BRADLEY JR.
Red Sox center fielder — First-round pick in 2011
“He’s one of the biggest supporters there are out there. He does so much for me, my brother and my sister as well. Just being there, being able to talk through things when need-be and he’s a hard worker. That’s what I’ve always known him as — a guy who hustles any way he can to get by.
“He actually played baseball till high school but actually played basketball in college. He said back in his time everybody wanted to be Dr. J (Julius Erving). So that kind of influenced his life. He played at Fayetteville State, a college in North Carolina. But he’s always loved baseball, loved everything about it. That was, I guess, probably one of his one regrets. He said he wished he had played baseball because he felt like he could have gotten a little farther.”
Rays Right Fielder— 2013 AL Rookie of the Year
“The biggest thing is he was very honest in how I played the game. If I went 2 for 4, he’d want to know what happened the other two at-bats. I really respect that. I really appreciated that as I got older. I really didn’t understand it at the time.”