When you’ve watched an athlete for long enough, especially one as consistently excellent over such a long time as Mariano Rivera – not to mention someone I, growing up in the general vicinity of New York, could watch basically every day – it gets easy to take for granted that they are who they are…and easy to forget that they weren’t always like that. In Rivera’s case, he didn’t grow up with much: reinforced in the video above, where he shows viewers how to make a baseball glove out of cardboard.
It’s clearly something he has experience doing, and perhaps a certain nostalgic fondness for (though the way he rushes to dissuade young players who can afford better equipment from using cardboard gloves brings home just how much better he has it now). And among major leaguers, Rivera’s far, far from alone, upbringing-wise (this also goes a long way toward explaining why he’s selling these to benefit his foundation/kids like he was). Such a big part of the Mariano Rivera legend is how routine he’s made his achievements look – it’s a little jarring to be reminded of how remarkable a rise it was for him to get to this point – and every other major leaguer who grew up like him.