Red Sox: What if Heathcliff Slocumb never got traded?
Jason Varitek in Boston
Varitek was the second member of the Slocumb trade. With no MLB experience under his belt, the Red Sox took a chance with the young backstop. His first major league at-bat resulted in a single. So far, so good.
In 1997, with the Sox on top of the Tigers, a young Tek took a Kevin Jarvis offering to left field. This was just the beginning of what would blossom into a very fruitful relationship between Varitek and the Red Sox.
After eight years on the club, the Red Sox bestowed Tek with the Captain role denoted by the ‘C’ on his jersey. It was the first captain since Jim Rice held the title until his retirement in 1989. Tek held the position as captain until his retirement in 2011. There have only been five players selected to be Captain since 1925.
Varitek wasn’t known for being a huge power threat, although he did take part in many memorable games and held several records while being a member of the Sox. Below is a nice list of his accomplishments. Tek will also be remembered for two famous games against the rival Yankees.
There was the game when the Red Sox hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, ending perfectly so with their Captain swatting the last one deep over the Monster in left field. Lastly, who could forget the famous 2004 game in which Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez were going at it throwing punches. Many felt that it was that game that re-invigorated the spark in the longest rivalry in baseball.
- Record for catching the most no-hitters in baseball
- Holds the record for catching the most games for the Red Sox with 1,488 games
- Has the most postseason home runs as a catcher with 11
- Played in the most postseason games in Red Sox history
- The 3rd Red Sox catcher to win the Gold Glove, joining Carlton Fisk and Tony Pena
- First Red Sox catcher to receive the Gold Glove Award since Pena in 1991
- Three-time All-Star (2003, 2005, & 2008)
- Two-time World Series Champion (2004 & 2007)
As one can see, Tek meant everything to Red Sox baseball for over 10 years. Tek compiled above average numbers but it was his defense and play calling that made him vital to the team. He was a key piece in helping the Sox break the 86-year old curse in 2004 when they won the World Series. Three years later he helped them do it again. Tek’s best season came in 2003 when he hit 25 home runs, had 85 RBI’s hit .273 and had 123 hits.
Jason Varitek’s career numbers in Boston
Batting Average: .256
Home Runs: 193
Runs Batted In: 757
Runs Scored: 664