Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, Gabe Kapler, Jason Varitek, Mark Bellhorn, Pokey Reese, and Pedro Martinez. That was the starting line up for the 2004 Boston Red Sox on Opening Day. This season, Ortiz is the only one coming back in a Boston jersey, and that’s because nobody else wanted him.
In 1997, Varitek was part of the best trade in Red Sox history, he and Derek Lowe came to Boston from Seattle for the transient relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Slocumb lasted just one year with the Mariners but Tek and D Lowe were an integral part of the 2004 World Series Championship team. Varitek stayed on until just yesterday, capping a sad month for the Fenway Faithful.
On my other blog I wrote about Wakefield retiring, and how this season is just not going to be the same without him, Epstein, and Francona. Well, add Capn’ Crunch to the list of long time Sox players not suiting up for opening day. That’s life, people retire but it’s sad to see the team that broke the 86 year curse is fading away. Of the 04 team, just Youk and Big Pop-up remain.
It is sad to see Varitek go, as a former catcher I always thought of Varitek as my favorite player growing up. Hopefully he sticks around as a bench coach or something, I have a feeling he will be in a dugout very soon, a la Crash Davis in Bull Durham. Below is a few pictures that I think illustrate some of the finer points in Tek’s career. Especially Heidi Watney.