Boston's Varitek to retire Thursday
By THE SPORTS XCHANGE
|Boston Red Sox base runner Jason Varitek celebrates with teammates after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto June 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)
Red Sox captain and veteran catcher Jason Varitek will announce his retirement Thursday, according to the Boston Globe.
Varitek was the goateed-rock of the recent run of success for the Red Sox. Coming to Boston from Seattle in a lopsided 1997 trade — along with Derek Lowe for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb — Varitek took over as Boston’s every day catcher in 1999.
He was renowned for his handling of pitching staffs and work ethic. Varitek commonly stated that his first job was to prepare pitchers, then worry about himself. He has caught four no-hitters, a Major League record.
Varitek, 39, was a switch-hitter and three-time All-Star. He also won the Silver Slugger award for his position in 2005, the same year he won a Gold Glove.
He was key in Boston’s 2004 and 2007 World Series-winning seasons. He once famously shoved New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez in the face, igniting a benches-clearing brawl midway through the 2004 season.
In 2005, Varitek was named just the fourth Boston captain since 1923. Jimmie Foxx, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice were the others.
Varitek finishes his career with a .256 average, 193 home runs and 757 RBIs. No one has caught more games or appeared in more postseason games for the Red Sox.