The Red Sox found a gem in the fourth round of the 2003 June Amateur Draft when they selected Mississippi State University right-hander Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon advanced quickly to the majors, debuting in July 2005, and settled into a setup role while also making three starts.
The following season, he won the closer’s job and was dominant, earning four straight All-Star berths and finishing second to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 Rookie of the Year balloting.
Papelbon notched six consecutive seasons with 30 or more saves, with a sub-3.00 ERA in all but one of his six years as the Boston closer.
In November 2011, Papelbon left to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent.
In parts of seven seasons with the Red Sox, Papelbon was 23-19 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.018 WHIP, an ERA+ of 197 and 509 strikeouts in 429.1 innings over 396 appearances, three of them starts.
His 219 saves are the most in franchise history, far eclipsing the old mark of 132 set by Bob Stanley.
He appeared in four postseasons for Boston, going 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 0.815 WHIP in 18 appearances, saving seven games and striking out 23 in 27 innings. He saved three of the four Red Sox wins in their sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series.
Papelbon was traded to the Washington Nationals in July 2015 and released by the Nats in August 2016. No offers came after he was released and despite no formal announcement, his career was effective over at age 35.