15. Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield retire
Two longtime fixtures on Yawkey Way decided to call it quits in Fort Myers last spring.
Jason Varitek, a two-time World Series champion, three-time All-Star and Red Sox team captain, announced his retirement at JetBlue Park two-weeks after 200-game winner and renowned knuckleballer Tim Wakefield ended his 19-year career.
A member of the Red Sox from 1997 to 2011 after coming over with Derek Lowe in a one-sided trade with the Mariners, the most famous Boston catcher not named Carlton Fisk batted .256 with 193 home runs and 757 RBIs.
"After months of deliberating what to do, I've decided that it's best for me and family that I retire, that I retire a Red Sock,'' Varitek said during an emotional farewell.
Varitek finished his Red Sox career ninth in team history in games played (1,546), doubles (306) and extra-base hits (513). He is 10th in plate appearances (5,839) and RBIs (757), and one big glove in A-Rod’s face during a memorable 2004 Yankees-Red Sox showdown at Fenway Park.
Wakefield, who spent his final 17 seasons with the Red Sox, going 186-168, pitched the most innings (3,006) and made the most starts (430) in team history. He was second in games pitched (590) and strikeouts (2,046).
After the Pirates castaway was picked up by the Red Sox in 1995, Wakefield was called up to Boston and ripped off 14–1 record through 17 games — 6 of which were complete games — to go along with a 1.65 ERA. He ended his first-year year in Boston 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA, helping the Red Sox win the AL East title while capturing the Comeback Player of the Year award.
The 45-year-old Wakefield retired seven wins shy of breaking the franchise record of 192 held by Cy Young and Roger Clemens. In Red Sox history, only Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19), and Dwight Evans (19) played more years with the team.
“I’m still a competitor,” Wakefield said after hanging up his cleats. “But ultimately I think this is what was best for the Red Sox and I think this is what’s best for my family and, to be honest with you, seven wins isn’t going to make me a different person or a better man.”
The 40-year-old Varitek is currently an assistant to Boston GM Ben Cherington, while Wakefield has served time as a studio analyst for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN.