On Tuesday morning, Zdeno Chara announced that he’d signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins so that he could retire from the NHL with them.
Chara began his playing career with the New York Islanders and also played for the Ottawa Senators before joining the Bruins in 2006. After 14 seasons with the team, all as their captain, he departed for the Washington Capitals and a final season with the Islanders. But in his statement on Tuesday, Chara declared that he was “honored” to “officially finish [his] career with the team that has meant so much” to him and his family.
One-day contracts are a technicality, but the decision is a lovely gesture that shows a player’s affinity and bond with the franchise and fans. Of all the teams Chara played for, the Bruins are the ones he wants to be with before he hangs up his skates.
These deals occasionally happen in Major League Baseball, too. In 2010, Boston Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra signed a one-day to retire with his former team. Shane Victorino, a key figure in Boston’s 2013 championship, returned to his beloved Phillies for the final day of his career. Hideki Matsui reunited with the Yankees for the ceremonial farewell in 2013.
With that in mind, here are four more players who should’ve retired with the Sox, if only for one day…
If someone ever builds a working time machine, it would be interesting to go back and tell Harry Frazee what’s going to happen to the Sox after he sells Babe Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees. Maybe if he knew that the deal would ignite an 86-year championship drought full of heartache and suffering, he wouldn’t do it (though that opens up a whole can of worms about 2004 and David Ortiz, so let’s not think too hard on the specifics.)
But really, what the Sox should’ve done was bring Ruth back for the end of his career. Ruth desperately wanted to be the Yankees’ player-manager, but they passed him over for the position multiple times. The Sox did reportedly consider trying to hire him, but it never came to fruition.
In the early 1930s, Ruth’s relationship with the Yankees soured due to his continued campaigning to replace manager Joe McCarthy. y February 1935, the Yankees had agreed to trade him to the Boston Braves, who told Ruth they wanted to make him their manager.
Really, the Braves wanted to use Ruth as more of an attraction to draw a crowd. His assistant manager title was mostly vanity, and he barely played. By June 2nd, he’d officially retired.
Why didn’t the Sox try to bring him home? In 1935, they had a new owner richer than any other in the league and happy to spend money to turn the team around. It would’ve been less than two decades since their last championship, which can hardly be considered a drought by the 86-year standard they’d end up setting. Maybe by reuniting with Ruth, they could’ve avoided the curse altogether.