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Mariano Rivera: Derek Jeter should be a unanimous choice, too

Derek Jeter, right, is expected to join Mariano

Derek Jeter, right, is expected to join Mariano Rivera as an inductee in Cooperstown this summer. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

No. 2 should be No. 2.

Mariano Rivera — the first major-leaguer to be elected unanimously to baseball’s Hall of Fame — said Thursday that Derek Jeter  should be the second player to earn that honor.

The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be announced on Tuesday, and Rivera, who appeared at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville for a hearing on his proposed Port Jefferson Station auto dealership, said his former teammate deserves the distinction so far bestowed only on the game’s all-time saves leader.

“Definitely, definitely,” Rivera said in an interview after the town board approved zoning changes for the car dealership. “Jeter, he’s my brother. It will be good. He will be No. 2 — his number.”

Jeter and Rivera spent almost their entire careers as teammates, winning five World Series together. They retired one year apart and now are poised to be voted into Cooperstown in back-to-back years. After Hall of Fame voters for more than 80 years resisted electing even the likes of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron unanimously, they may do so twice in as many years.

That would be just fine with Rivera.

“Jealousy is not part of my life. As a team, we accomplished a lot of things. I always say that we had to pull for each other. As my brother, I will never be jealous of my brother,” Rivera said. “What he did and what he has done, not only for baseball specifically but out of baseball, you know, in field and off the field. Derek Jeter has obviously been one of those players who always did the right thing.”

It will be a few more days before we know Jeter’s vote total. For Rivera, though, there’s no doubt Jeter belongs in baseball’s most exclusive club.

“He already is for me,” Rivera said. “I don’t vote, but he is 100% for me.”

New York Sports