There’s been lots of action in baseball in the past week or so. In recent MLB breaking news Dustin Pedroia, a fan favorite in Boston, has decided to hang up the cleats. After years of dealing with injury and barely playing in the Majors at all since 2017, the 37-year-old second baseman has announced his formal retirement from baseball:
With this, the career of one of the more memorable Red Sox from the franchise’s 21st-century renaissance comes to a close, and Pedroia will leave behind quite the pair of shoes to fill. It’s no stretch to describe him as one of the best and most productive players ever to wear a Red Sox uniform and his hustle and tenacity will not be forgotten anytime soon.
MLB Breaking News: A Quick Look Back on Dustin Pedroia’s Career
Originally drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Arizona State University, Pedroia tore his way through the Minor Leagues, putting up a .970 OPS across Low-A and High-A in the same year he was drafted as a shortstop, then an OPS of .837 across Double-A and Triple-A in 2005 as he made his transition to the right side of the infield. And after an OPS of .810 in 2006, Boston called him
Pedroia would make his MLB debut on August 22nd in L.A. against the Angels, collecting his first hit that same day. The 22-year-old struggled in his first cup of coffee in the Majors, however, hitting just .191/.258/.303. But those struggles wouldn’t be for long.
Pedroia won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, hitting .317/.380/.442 and playing good defense at second. The Red Sox would make it all the way to the World Series and Pedroia helped establish the mood of the series right away, homering to lead off the bottom half of the first inning in Game 1.
The Red Sox would go on to sweep the Rockies, of course, giving Boston their second World Series ring in four years after having to wait 86 years for one. Their second baseman would follow his excellent rookie campaign with an even better 2008, slashing .326/.376/.493, putting up a stellar 6.4 fWAR and making his first All-Star team. He also won his first Gold Glove and topped it all off with an AL MVP trophy. To this day Pedroia is one of a handful of players to win Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in back-to-back seasons, with names like Cal Ripken Jr., Ryan Howard, and others.
From 2009 to 2016, Pedroia would remain one of the more consistent players in baseball, slashing .297/.365/.440, walking almost as often as he struck out and playing excellent defense at second base en route. He’d collect three more Gold Gloves and All-Star nods and finished inside top-10 in MVP voting twice, and he also played a big part in the Red Sox winning another ring in 2013. But this run of excellence would come to a sudden stop on April 21st, 2017:
Now, whether Manny Machado‘s slide was dirty or not is not something I care to write to about right now, so have that discussion inside your brain. What’s undisputed is Pedroia had already been under the knife in October 2016 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and the contact made with Machado in that particular play caused him to play hobbled during the entirety of 2017. He missed time in August of that same year and played in just nine games across 2018 and 2019. He was never the same.
MLB Breaking News: Pedroia’s Legacy
If you go by fWAR, Pedroia’s 46.6 mark as a Red Sox ranks 9th best in franchise history. He’s also 8th all-time in hits (1806) and 6th in stolen bases (138) for the Boston franchise. But more than numbers, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Pedroia represented the hustle, attitude, and style of play Red Sox fans loved to see from players wearing the iconic uniform.
Among my favorite Pedroia plays is this ridiculous diving play to rob Miguel Tejada and preserve Clay Buchholz‘s no-no. I’m no Red Sox fan but if I had to pick one play that sums up Dustin Pedroia, this would be it:
Along with his hustle and two-way ability, Pedroia will be remembered fondly as a key on-field contributor to two World Series rings, and he was in the dugout when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in 2018 as well. All in all, a wonderful career, Mr. Pedroia. The injury possibly robbed you of a chance at a Cooperstown plaque, but your legacy will be remembered forever by fans and rivals alike. A tip of the cap from me and from everybody else.
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