I often measure time in sports by the age of my kids. My boys are 28 and 24. My youngest can't remember a time before this season that Tom Brady didn't play for the New England Patriots or Dustin Pedroia for the Boston Red Sox. Except for a few lemons, most Red Sox seasons have been gems, and the Patriots have had quite a run, at least during my kids' lifetimes.

When I look back over the years since my kids were born, all of the Boston sports teams have been blessed with some pretty awesome talent. The Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox were able to field some amazing teams with many standout players. Among them, Dustin Pedroia, who spent his entire 17-year career in Boston.

Always scrappy, Pedey competed for air and attention in a much taller world with David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Veritek, Curt Schilling, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Jonny Gomes, and so many other Red Sox legends. He was a competitor. The first to arrive at the ballpark and the last to go home, Pedroia was a small guy, but he had heart and always something to prove. He worked hard, perhaps to make up for what he lacked in size. He didn't have to.

Pedroia is a three-time World Series winner, a champion.

To watch Dustin Pedroia play second base was a treat. WBSM's former News Director and lifelong Red Sox fan Jim Phillips posted to Facebook on Monday, "Pedroia played hard every day. He played the game the way it is meant to be played. It's a real shame his career was cut short. I'm 72 years old. He is the best Red Sox second baseman in my lifetime." That's quite an endorsement, coming from Jim.

Dustin Pedroia made watching baseball fun. He excelled at making the difficult look easy. He often played injured. As a result, he was never able to stay fully healthy. Pedroia gave everything, including his body to the team and the fans. And they loved him right back.

I can't wait to see Pedroia's No. 15 hanging on the right-field facade with the eight others –  Wade Boggs, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Johnny Pesky, and Jim Rice – whose numbers have been retired.

Thanks, for the memories, Pedey.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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