He’s part legend, part everyman and an all time pro. Jason Varitek was honored at Fenway Park today before the Red Sox played the Blue Jays. It was a great celebration for a man who was a true Red Sox, an everyday player and a leader. What was great was to see the Varitek family there—his older daughters, the baby, his wife and brothers.
He Owned Home Plate
Tek’s wife, Catherine, Tweeted, “They may swing a better bat, They may have higher stats, but no one will ever be as fitting behind home plate as the Captain was! #ThanksTek”
How true that is. Number 33 owned home plate and so it was fitting that amongst the many gifts given to Jason by the Red Sox was the home plate from which he commanded his final home game for the Red Sox.
Although the Red Sox gave Tek a lot of gifts, including a red Ford F-150 truck, a set of golf clubs and two Fenway Park seats, I can’t help but think the $25,000 donation to Children’s Hospital meant the most to the guy. His kids are healthy, but his wife is a cancer survivor and he knows firsthand what a donation like that can mean. Plus, throughout his career he did outstanding charity work for the Red Sox.
Tek Honors Us
Sure he’s the guy who got into Alex Rodriguez’s face protecting his pitcher, blocked the plate without fear as runners came barreling down on him and stepped up when the team needed someone to take charge, but there’s a side to Tek that is much more important.
It’s his connection to his kids, his caring nature for others and his devotion to good deeds. I don’t think this guy ever let his two championships and his status as one of the best catchers in the league ever go to his head.
Varitek said to the crowd yesterday, “I played here 15 years, and to come up with the words of what it has meant to me to play here and only here . . . I can’t… How do you thank an entire nation for my entire career?”
Wow, he’s thanking US for his career! That’s what makes Varitek, Tek.
Wake and Tek
Of course, Tim Wakefield, another Boston institution who was honored earlier in the season, was there. It was great to see Varitek toss the first pitch of the game to Wakefield. It was a knuckler (of course) that bounced once (of course) before Wake caught it.
What can I say? It was a great ceremony to honor a great player and man.
I know what I can say. I miss those two guys so much. Wake and Tek were always willing to do whatever it took to help the team. True pros, true ball players and real people. We need more like them.