Jason Varitek and the Red Sox Way

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Jason Varitek was first drafted by the Minnesota Twins with the 21st pick in the 1993 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech. Varitek opted to say goodbye to the Minnesota Twins and returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season. For his 1994 season, Varitek helped Georgia Tech, alongside future Red Sox teammate Nomar Garciaparra, make the title game, unfortunately losing to the University of Oklahoma.

Varitek was also awarded the Dick Howser Trophy and was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year. Varitek is also the only Yellowjackets baseball player to have his number retired. During the 1994 draft, Varitek was taken with the 14th pick by the Seattle Mariners.

Thanks Heathcliff

In 1997 one of the most lopsided trades maybe in the history of Major League Baseball occurred when Jason Varitek and pitcher Derek Lowe were traded to the Boston Red Sox for relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Slocumb finished the 1997 season with a 5.16 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 0.2 fWAR, and 10 saves. Not exactly what Seattle was looking for, not to mention the players Seattle lost in the trade.

Derek Lowe’s Red Sox résumé consisted of a no-hitter, caught by Varitek, 85 games saved, an American League-leading 42 saves in 2000, two all-star appearances, 58 wins, including 21 wins in 2002, a third-place Cy Yong finish in 2002, and not to mention how valuable he was to the 2004 Red Sox championship run. Lowe had a 3-0 record, and a 1.86 ERA in the 2004 playoffs, the deciding pitcher in all three Red Sox series-clinching games.

Jason Varitek, well, he pretty much solidified himself as arguably the most important Red Sox catcher behind only Carlton Fisk in the history of the franchise. Jason Varitek made his MLB debut on September 24, 1997, but did not take over full-time catching duties until the 1999 season. Over the span of 15 seasons with the Red Sox, Varitek played in 1,546 games, accumulated 1,307 hits, 306 doubles, 193 home runs, batted .256/.341/.453 with an OPS of .776 and a wRC+ of 99.

Varitek’s true talent was behind the plate and in the clubhouse. For his career Varitek amassed a 47.5 dWAR, winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 2005. Varitek finished top 30 in MVP voting three times, made three All-Star appearances, won two World Series as a player, and caught an MLB record four no-hitters.

Varitek Today

Jason Varitek retired on September 25, 2011, after playing every single Major League Baseball game in the same uniform. Jason Varitek still wears the same uniform, and still makes Fenway Park his home. In September 2012 Varitek was hired by then-GM Ben Cherington as a special assistant to the GM. In 2020 Varitek was named as a uniformed coaching role, a title known as Player Information Coach.

Varitek has made over $63M playing baseball, he doesn’t coach for the money, he clearly coaches because baseball is what he loves, and his heart is forever in Boston. There is not a Red Sox fan alive that does not love and admire the man that so proudly wore the “C” on his chest. Jason Varitek embodies everything that it means to be a player for the Boston Red Sox, and the fact that even today fans get to watch him in the dugout is a true pleasure.

Here’s a fun fact: Jason Varitek has played in the Little League World Series, College World Series, and well, the World Series, World Series.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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