For 15 years Jason Varitek wore the Red Sox uniform with pride and was the epitome of a professional. He was everything you look for in a leader, beloved by fans and teammates alike. It’s hard to imagine the Boston Red Sox and not think of Jason Varitek.
“Tek” as he was called in Beantown was acquired in 1997 from the Seattle Mariners along with pitcher Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. Varitek had never played in the majors for Seattle so the Red Sox uniform is the only one he ever wore and he wouldn’t of had it any other way. After the 2004 season Varitek signed a four year contract to stay with Boston, it was after these negotiations that Varitek was named the Captain of the team, a position he held until last season.
While, his last few years have been mediocre at best. However, it isn’t the the last few years that baseball fans should remember but his entire career.
Varitek is probably not going to make it to Cooperstown, he’s a career .256 hitter who had a little bit of pop in his bat but home plate is where he flourished. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a guy who could call a game better than Varitek. His preparation and knowledge of hitters is something that should be revered. During his tenure in Boston Varitek was the height of class as well as being a tremendous Captain and teammate. Even when the Red Sox brought in Victor Martinez in 2009 and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2010, Varitek didn’t complain. Instead he mentored these young catchers and both have said they hate the utmost respect for his ability. In 2012 the Red Sox will miss the leadership of the Captain and catcher but all good things must come to an end.
As a Red Sox fan it was difficult watching Varitek’s press conference as this was a man I had rooted for since I was five-years-old. So am I slightly biased in this opinion of him…yes but I am not alone. Countless former teammates and players who never had the privilege to play with him comment on what a true professional he is.
For many years Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees was his rival in every way. Aside from playing for two of the most historic franchises in the game, they played the same position.
“Jason was one of those players that made the rivalry between our two teams so special. He was the type of competitor that brought out the best in everyone who was on the field with him, whether you were playing with him or against him,” Posada said. “He should be very proud of the way he represented the Red Sox organization throughout the years. He played the game with passion and dignity, and regardless of the color of his uniform I will always have a great deal of respect for the way he went about his business, day after day, and year after year.”
If that doesn’t move you then you must have a heart of stone.
“I can’t articulate how much the Red Sox mean to me,” Varitek said at his press conference.
I have to counter his argument by saying that I can’t articulate how much he meant to me and the Red Sox franchise. Thanks for the years Jason, it was an honor and a privilege to watch you for 15 season. Best of luck in all your post baseball career bring. To the Captain, I salute.