Red Sox Nation Poll: Which Boston catcher is your favorite of all-time?

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, right, strikes New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez at Fenway Park in Boston. The two fought after Rodriguez was hit by a pitch by Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The Red Sox won, 11-10, with a 9th-inning game winning home run by Bill Mueller. (Photo by J Rogash/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, right, strikes New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez at Fenway Park in Boston. The two fought after Rodriguez was hit by a pitch by Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The Red Sox won, 11-10, with a 9th-inning game winning home run by Bill Mueller. (Photo by J Rogash/Getty Images) /
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Polling the Nation: Who’s your favorite Red Sox catcher?

On Tuesday I put out a poll to Red Sox Nation asking them which catcher was their favorite. When making my picks for the options I tried to go with generational backstops. This led me to four simple choices: Carlton Fisk (1969-80), Rich Gedman (1980-90), Jason Varitek (1997-11), and Christian Vazquez (2014-19).

Obviously there were other catchers in the mix during those times. Tek always had Mirabelli there to back him up and to catch Wakefield. Hell, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was a big player during the 2013 World Series championship run. But when I looked at the list, these four, at least for recent history, stood out above the rest.

The four catchers that I chose span the distance of half a century worth of defensive wizardry and pitching staff management. Again, I know there are more that could be on this list and some may even say Vazqy isn’t there yet, but this is my poll, so deal with it!

As responses came in, the scales began to tip in the direction of a certain beloved backstop that never shied away from a fight. When all was said and done, despite valiant efforts from his catching comrades, it was a blowout for the man simply known as “Tek.”

Jason Varitek voted as favorite Red Sox catcher by BoSox Nation

I can’t say that I was ultimately surprised by this outcome as I myself voted for Varitek. With an astounding 53% of the vote, it wasn’t even a contest. If this was boxing or MMA it would be the definition of a 10-8 round. Pudge did give Tek a bit of a fight but it’s hard to not vote for the guy that punched A-Rod in the face.

When I put together the list of catchers I tried to get one from each generation. For my father, he’d likely lean toward Fisk as he was a kid during his playing time in Boston. If you were a fan in the 80s then I bet Geddy is your guy.  As for me, It’s Varitek as he was not only the catcher but captain for much of my life, I’m 32. Then for some kids, it’s going to be Vazquez, especially as he continues to grow into his role.

Though Fisk is a Red Sox legend, he actually spent more time wearing a different pair of socks and playing in Chicago. Once Gedman’s time in Boston was finished he wasn’t long for the baseball world as his career would be over in just two more seasons. Vazquez is just five years into his Boston tenure but has already proven to be one of the best defensive catchers in the league. With his offensive explosion in 2019, he has the real potential to be one of the best in franchise history.

When all is said and done though, we’re here to talk about the Captain, and no, I don’t mean that guy from the Yankees. Varitek is not just my favorite Red Sox catcher, but he’s one of my favorite Sox players of all-time. That may sound odd as he was never the most charismatic or explosive at the dish, but his consistency and the respect he garnered speaks volumes.

He was the first catcher in history to have caught four no-hitters from four different pitchers. Granted, he now shares that honor with Carlos Ruiz, but he was still the first to do it. He was one of only 18 captains in Red Sox history. Oh yeah, he won a pair of World Series rings as well. I guess that’s kind of cool too.

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Not only did he play his entire 15-year professional career in Boston, but he’s still involved with the team. After retiring from his playing career he took a role as a special assistant to then-GM Ben Cherington. He continues to fulfill that role by working with current CBO Chaim Bloom. You can always see Tek suited up in the dugout for every home game as well as on the field for practice.

To me, that speaks to how much he loves the game still to this very day. As a front-office man he could be sitting in a box somewhere watching the game but he’d rather be down in the trenches with his team. Because at the end of the day, this still feels like his team. He continues to mentor younger players and work with them to try and get every drop of potential out of them.

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It’s hard to not see why he ran away with this poll despite the stiff competition running against him. In the end, Jason Varitek will go down as one of the most beloved Red Sox players in history. Not just for what he does on the field but also for what he does for the community through his charity efforts. I couldn’t think of a better guy to win than Tek.