Dustin Pedroia gets his Red Sox farewell at Fenway Park
In a moment I think all of us were hoping would happen during this season has been officially announced by the Red Sox. This afternoon, the organization made it known that they would be honoring the recently retired Dustin Pedroia on Friday, June 25th at Fenway Park. Two things will make this night extra special for the longtime second baseman, the Yankees will be in town and Fenway will be sold out and rocking.
When it was thought that his retirement was a possibility last year it was a unanimous feeling that his final goodbye to his playing career would be wasted on an empty park. Now that the world is seemingly inching back toward normalcy and Massachusetts is back to full capacity for events, this is the perfect time to put it on the calendar. The Yanks coming to town for the first time in 2021 already lends itself to a guaranteed sell-out, but add that Pedey charm, and that place will set noise records.
Pedey made his debut with the club at the end of 2006 but really burst onto the season during the 2007 season. Things didn’t get off to a hot start for the Boston legend and many fans were calling for him to be replaced by teammate, Alex Cora. AC as always handled the situation with class and made sure the organization knew that Pedroia was the future and they needed to stick with him during his slump.
Cora’s belief in the rookie paid off as Dustin would finish the season with a .317/.380/.442/.823 line with 8 homers, 39 doubles, 50 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. He’d cap off the year by raising the Commissioner’s Trophy as well as the Rookie of the Year Award. It really was a storybook way to kick off his career but the Laser Show wasn’t done. If 2007 was a home firework display then 2008 was the Fourth of July at Disneyland.
Pedroia would dominate in 2008 and it wasn’t even close at all. His .326/.376/.493/.869 totals were off the charts while leading the AL in runs (118) and the entire MLB in Hits (213) and Doubles (54). He would also improve upon his 2007 totals by crushing 17 homers, knocking in 83 runs, and swiping 20 bags. The Dirt Dog was the runaway for the AL MVP while also earning Silver Slugger and Golden Glove honors. This season would also see him achieve his first of four All-Star nods.
When it comes down to his spot in history he ranks second ALL-TIME among Red Sox second basemen. The only man above him in the rankings is Bobby Doerr which is some damn fine company to be with. While it’s not clear if he’ll be making his way to Cooperstown, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his number eventually retired at Fenway Park with the rest of the organization’s greats.
He would be a key factor in winning two World Series championships and depending on who you talk to, a third if you count 2018. While he barely played that season he was still a voice and presence within the organization. He may not feel that he earned that third championship ring but he absolutely did in my eyes thanks to his mentorship. Whether he was on or off the field he has always been a voice that can make those around him listen and become better.
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What makes the timing of this ceremony even better is that he was an absolute beast when the Yankees were in the other dugout. His career .294/.356/.422/.778 numbers against the Yankees are pretty damn good. He’d also crush 46 doubles and 12 homers while knocking in 75 runs and stealing 10 bags. The only team that he performed better against in the AL East was the Baltimore Orioles, which should come as no surprise.
Essentially having “Dustin Pedroia Day” on a night where his team’s biggest rival is in town is poetic. While his career didn’t end in the way he would’ve liked he’ll at least get to go out on more time against the Yankees. Having Fenway Park jam-packed with fans hanging from the rafters is the perfect way to say goodbye to Pedey and his time with the Red Sox. The only way it could get any better would be for Boston to stomp New York that weekend but we have to take that one inning at a time.
Dustin Pedroia was everything that is good and right about the game of baseball. He played every single out as if it was the last he’ll ever be on the field for. Unfortunately, it’s that very same style of play that sped up his time in the game and cut his career far shorter than it ever should’ve ended. Knowing that he’s happy and healthy with his family eases the pain for Red Sox Nation but I’m sure we all would love to see him covered in dirt, grinding out at-bats, and putting on a laser show just one more time.