Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez's custom-made shoes, worn on the night of May 25, 2016, would’ve made for an enticing collector’s item. Fashioned with a No. 400 to commemorate the 34-year-old closer’s milestone achievement in becoming the sixth MLB pitcher to record 400 saves, and a Venezuelan flag to pay homage to his heritage, they were the talk of the clubhouse following his momentous night. The shoes, which were customized by a designer in Puerto Rico, were even triggered to light up in the No. 400 after the benchmark was set.
Too bad someone special already has dibs on them.
Rodriguez’s mother, Isabel.
The 73-year-old matriarch, who still lives back home in Venezuela, is actually his paternal grandmother, but she is who raised Rodriguez, so if she wants the shoes, she’s getting the shoes.
"The only reason I'm here is because of her,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com.
The day following his 400th save, Rodriguez fielded an excited phone call from her, though she didn’t hesitate to pepper him with questions and needle him about his performance.
“[She said] You’re going to give me a heart attack. Why didn’t you strike out three guys in a row? Why did you let someone get on base?” Rodriguez said, laughing.
But she was proud. Extremely proud.
"She’s my biggest coach."