If a player spent significant time in the American League from 1995-2013, odds are he faced Mariano Rivera. The MLB career leader in saves (652) saw all sorts of hitters during his career, which featured five world championships, 13 All-Star Games and five AL Rolaids Relief Man Awards.

But he never saw a player like Aaron Judge.

"I'm happy to see what he has accomplished so far," Rivera says. "It's early, but it's something -- his size and indications that he could be a superstar for the New York Yankees and for the city of New York, so my hope and my prayer is that he can continue to do that and represent us in the right way."

Through June 7, Judge led MLB with 18 home runs, and his 41 RBI were good for fourth in the American League. The 6-7, 282-pound right fielder was AL Rookie of the Month for April and May (he qualifies after playing just 27 games in 2016). The Yankees, who have made the playoffs just once since 2012 (lost wild-card game in 2015), led the American League with a 32-23 record on June 7.

Rivera admits he does not watch as much baseball in retirement as he did as a player, saying of his TV habits, "If I don't watch the Yankees, I ain't watching no more baseball." However, Judge is must-see TV in New York, so when Rivera does turn on the Yankees, he says he is captivated by Judge.

One large opponent Rivera faced in his career with the Yankees was the Red Sox's David Ortiz. But Rivera says Ortiz and Judge are not even comparable.

"I haven't seen a player like that," Rivera says of Judge. "Big Papi is not that big compared to this guy. This guy is amazing. But again, I hope he stays the way he is right now, humble and just playing the game the way he's supposed to play."

Rivera is still active in the game through his promotional work for The Hartford, the presenting sponsor for the award that is in his name: The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award. On Tuesday, Rivera and The Hartford traveled to P.S. 63 Author's Academy in the Bronx to discuss fire safety with children. Accompanied by representatives from FDNY, Rivera helped kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade students learn about the value of a fire drill, how to call 911 and how to stop, drop and roll.

One teacher even played Rivera's Yankee Stadium entrance song, "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, when he came in to speak with the class.  

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