The reports of Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek’s retirement by no means came as a shock to the baseball world. “Tek” has consistently been the talk of retirement rumors over the last few off seasons. His declining number appearances and production have fueled those rumors. This year, Red Sox management offered him a minor – league deal, which he apparently did not accept. Nevertheless, this is going to be the first year since 1997 that Varitek will not suit up in a Red Sox uniform.
A trade on July 31, 1997 brought Jason Varitek to the Red Sox by way of the Seattle Mariners with Derek Lowe in exchange for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb. Since that time, Varitek has done a great deal to cement himself forever into Red Sox lore; which is no easy feat. Despite the fact that he has never been a player that struck fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers, there are few that have been able to handle their own pitching staff on par with “Tek”. That is where his true value could be found and is what eventually lead to him being named Captain of the squad on December 24, 2004; from that day forward, every time that he suited up for the Sox, Varitek proudly displayed the Captain’s “C” on his jersey.
In addition to being named the team captain, and holding onto the title for 7 years, Jason Varitek has placed himself in the annals of baseball (and Red Sox) history with several other accomplishments:
He is the only player to have played in a Little League World Series, College World Series, MLB World Series, Olympics and World Baseball Classic.
He has played in more postseason games than any other player in the history of the Red Sox organization.
He is the only player to catch 4 no hitters in the history of Major League Baseball.
And, finally, an honor that I’m sure only Red Sox fans will appreciate: He is the only Red Sox player to punch Alex Rodriguez in the face.
On a day where he will say goodbye to the Red Sox as a player, let’s not forget that the opportunity still exists that he comes back to join the team in some executive / coaching capacity.