Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 11/14/14

Tonight, the Red Sox will honor their former captain Jason Varitek at Fenway Park with a “Thanks, Tek Day.”

For year, Varitek was the heart of the Red Sox both on and off the field. Whether he was assisting young pitchers through games early in their careers or getting in the face of Alex Rodriguez, which seemingly turned the Red Sox season around in 2004, Varitek was the best of leaders. His leadership for the team led to him becoming the fourth captain in franchise history following the 2004 World Series Championship season. Also following the World Series win, Varitek become one of two players in history to win a Little League World Series, College World Series, and Major League World Series.

Varitek’s abilities behind the plate can be described with the fact that he is the only catcher in MLB history to catch four no hitters. The way Varitek was able to guide Clay Buchholtz through his 2007 no-hitter in only his second career start, shows how he was able to handle pitchers of all experience. At the plate, he was a career .256 hitter with 193 home runs. He was a critical part of the Red Sox comeback over the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, where he was 9 for 28, with seven RBIs and two home runs.

Varitek was selected to three All-Star Games (2003, 2005, and 2008) including a start in the 2005 game. In that 2005 season, Varitek won his only Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove Award. Also, in 2006 he won the Heart and Hustle Award, which is given to the player that exemplifies the true value, tradition, and spirit of the game.

Being the heart of a team that ended an 86-year title drought is an aspect that will not come up in any record book, but to Red Sox Nation, it is something that will always be associated with Varitek.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.


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