Red Sox Legend: SS Nomar Garciaparra
The Number: 5
Nomar Garciaparra leaves behind a complicated legacy in Boston. He left town in an extremely tumultuous fashion, getting traded in July 2004 after months of failed contract negotiations and being perceived as a locker room issue and defensive liability. The Red Sox would, of course, go on to win a World Series that very same year, in large part due to the contributions of Garciaparra’s replacement, Orlando Cabrera.
Yet in the period immediately preceding the Red Sox championship runs, Garciaparra was the man in Boston. Over his nine years in Boston, Garciaparra hit an incredible .323, a total topped only by Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, and Tris Speaker.
Though he ultimately failed in his quest to end the Red Sox championship drought, he piled up the individual accolades, including a Rookie of the Year award, five top-10 MVP finishes, two batting titles, and five All-Star appearances. Along the way, Garciaparra became a beloved figure due to his Bostonian first name (Nomahhhhh) and his unyielding commitment to hitting.
Garciaparra’s Red Sox legacy is similar to his hitting-machine predecessor, Boggs. Like Nomar, Boggs departed Boston on very uneasy terms, signing with the hated Yankees and eventually helping them to the World Series title he couldn’t win with the Red Sox.
Boggs was ultimately pardoned in the eyes of Red Sox Nation (four World Series titles will do that) and had his number retired in 2016. If Boggs can be forgiven enough to receive the ultimate honor, then Garciaparra, who was much more popular during his time with the Red Sox, should obtain the same recognition.