Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield were both, deservingly, inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
There were two other guys, but one of them is the devil incarnate (Larry Lucchino) and the other played for the Sox from 1923-1929 (Ira Flagstead).
Let’s be real though, what we care most about is Tek and Wake making it in, as they should. If you had to pick a handful of players who truly represent the Boston Red Sox then chances are Tek and Wake would be two of them. What’s even more incredible though is that the battery mates originally made their way to the Sox in what ended up being some of the most underrated moves in Boston history.
Wakefield came to Boston as a 28-year-old reliever/starter who had a two-year gap in his MLB resume, while Varitek was a prospect thrown in to the Sox in a deal with the Mariners. Wake ended up being one of the most winningest pitchers in Red Sox history (186-168 with a 4.43 ERA in a BoSox uniform) while Varitek played his entire career in Boston, was named captain (one of three in the MLB and most recent for the Sox) and caught four no hitters.
Oh yeah and he did this:
Oh yeah and both lead the Sox to guts and glory with two World Series rings alongside numerous other post season appearances.
Seeing both of them retire came as a big blow to me as a Sox fan. I grew up with these guys, watched them develop into All Stars and eventual World Series winners. Simply put they were our heroes both on and off the field.
I’ll admit, Lucchino did quite a bit to turn the Sox around and put them into a position to become the win-machine that they were. He also contributed to the complete breakdown of the clubhouse while throwing Terry Francona under the bus AND pushing the Sox to chase after high-priced hasbeens but whatever, I guess I can admit he did some good things too.
Ira Flagstead though, that doesn’t make much sense. He was a solid fielding outfielder with a penchant for double plays, and a decent hitter, but that’s about it.
As the winter-pace slows down to a crawl and Spring Training feels farther away than ever, it’s nice to have something like this to celebrate and remind ourselves of the not-too-distant past. Guys like Tek and Wake made the Sox fun to watch and easy to root for, while losing them was tough I think we have a good core of hard working ballplayers to look forward to watching for years to come.