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Konerko praises Rivera, Jeter for character, success

Konerko praises Rivera, Jeter for character, success

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CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko is 5-for-12 lifetime against the legendary Mariano Rivera, but specifically remembers just one at-bat against Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader from Aug. 8, 2006.

"I had a home run here to tie a game late," said Konerko, who homered in the ninth off Rivera during a game the White Sox won in 11 innings. "I do remember that because any time you have success off a guy, or a home run, off of a Hall of Famer like that, you remember that one. I know he's got me a few times."

Konerko, a classy, talented leader for the past 15 years with the White Sox, had praise for Rivera, the pitcher, who has dominated with an almost unhittable cutter and a perfect demeanor. But that praised extended to Yankees captain Derek Jeter because of the way they conduct their business in the New York spotlight.

"Everything you hear about [Rivera], he's a gentleman who treats his teammates great," Konerko said. "And playing in New York like Jeter, those guys are constantly watched and have to deal with so much more than the rest of the league, so to make it through all the years and do what they've done, it's amazing.

"They're extra good at all that stuff. And physically getting the job done on the field. It's one thing to carry yourself well but also get the job done at a high level, to put all that together, those guys are Hall of Famers at different levels. What they have to do is just different. There's nothing like New York."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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