Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How To Say Goodbye To Your Captain: Jason Varitek's Best Moments

It was inevitable. Varitek wasn't going to play forever, and I knew it. My hope was that I'd never have to watch him play for another team. Well, with the announcement that he is going to retire on Thursday, the Captain has granted me one last wish. He played his entire major league career as a member of the Red Sox, and he should leave the game as a member of the Red Sox. I hate to think he'll be gone, but if he has to leave, this is the way to do it.

I wouldn't care about baseball if it weren't for Tek. He was the hook that drew me in, and it will be hard for me to love this team as much without him on it. A touch dramatic? Sure. But that's what I'm all about. In honor of Varitek's 15 years with the Sox, I wanted to recount some of the legacy he leaves behind and highlight just what a significant part of the Red Sox organization he's become. This is going to be long-winded, so here's your chance to get out now.....

Ok. Too late. Let's do this.

  • Tek is the only player from Georgia Tech to have his number (33) retired.
  • He is the only player in history to play in/on the Little League World Series, the college World Series, the Olympic baseball team, and Major League World Series

  • There have been 1645 players in the Red Sox organization since 1901. There have been 19 team captains in that time span. Only one other catcher has been made captain in team history (Deacon McGuire in 1908), and he only lasted one season as the captain.

  • Since 1923, there have been four team captains: Foxx (1940-1942), Yastrzemski (1969-1983), Rice (1985-1989), and Varitek (2005-2011). Yaz was the only captain in history who served a longer tenure than Tek.

  • Jason is the only Red Sox catcher to ever have caught 1,000 games, his 1,000 being played on July 31, 2006. He finishes with 1,418 games as a catcher and 1,546 total games (the other 128 games were split between DH'ing and pinch hitting)

  • He has played in more postseason games than any other Sox player in history. He has played in 63 games over the course of 14 series.
  • Jason has the most post-season home runs for a catcher in history with 11. Johnny Bench and Javier Lopez each hit 10.
  • He has the most opening day starts for a catcher in team history, starting in 10 straight opening days (2000-2009)

  • Tek is the only catcher in MLB history to have caught 4 no-hitters (Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester)
  • Devern Hansack's rain-shorted game on October 1st, 2006 could have possibly been #5 for Tek.
  • He has also caught 8 one-hitters and  20 two-hitters.

  • Appearances on Sox All-time lists include
    • 9th for games played (1546)
    • 9th for doubles (306)
    • 10th for RBI's (757)

    • 9th for extra base hits (513)
    • 9th for sac flies (43)
    • 10th for intentional walks (59)

    • 4th for strikeouts (1216)
    • 4th for hit by pitches (61)

  • His professional resume includes:
    • three All-Star appearances
    • 2005 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards
    • Two World Series rings (but you all knew that)

  • From 1997 to August 1999, Tek wore #47
    • Since then, he's donned that old familiar #33 that we know so well.

  • Jason hit his first grand slam on August 5, 2005. His second one didn't technically count towards his career stats as it happened on March 8, 2006 during the World Baseball classic. His third came against the Yankees on April 25, 2009.

  • Back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs have occurred only seven times in major league history. Tek became part of this phenomenon on April 22, 2007 against the Yankees, being the fourth player in a row to hit a home run (other players were Manny Ramirez, JD Drew, and Mike Lowell)

  • Tek has only been ejected from a game five times in his career. The most memorable one?
  • He is the only Red Sox player to feed his glove to Alex Rodriguez.

For all the moments we've shared... the good times and the not so good times... for the professionalism, for the game calling, for all you've brought to your team, I salute you, Jason Varitek. Thank you for all those summer evenings we've spent together at Fenway. I truly hope to see #33 hanging from the Fenway facade, but if it never comes to be, we'll always have the memories. You'll always be the captain to me.

1 comment:

sportsattitudes said...

I love seeing guys play their entire career in one place. Very nice tribute to the Captain.