Let’s face it. We Boston sports fans are pretty sensitive. We don’t like feeling like we’ve been broken up with. We don’t like feeling like our city isn’t good enough. We feel a range of emotions when our longtime star athletes leave us, either by trade or free agency. Sometimes we’re OK with it. Sometimes we’re not. Paul Pierce played 15 seasons for the Celtics through bad times and good, and now that he’s been traded to the Nets, the popular sentiment is we’ll miss him but we get it—and he doesn’t owe us anything. Look through to see if other Boston athlete breakups have gone as well. Next
Wade Boggs played third base for the Red Sox from 1982-1992. Never beloved. Never appreciated for his penchant for getting on base before that was in. But we Boston fans get extra insulted, and perhaps a bit jealous, when our star athletes choose New York teams over us. We get especially testy when they win championships with said Evil Empires. And we get downright vengeful when said previous Boston stars ride police horses around their stadiums. Bad breakup for sure.
Where would the New England Patriots franchise be without Adam Vinatieri’s foot? Seriously. The kicker was a Patriot from 1996 to 2005, and it didn’t go down well when he picked the archrival Colts to depart to in free agency. A certain Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and squad of Patriots legends can claim credit in turning the franchise around. But without Vinatieri’s clutch, seemingly imposible, field goals this team could very well still be championship-less. Come to think of it, the team hasn’t won since he left. Pretty distasteful breakup. Next
Ray Bourque played for the Bruins from 1979 to 1999 when the team meandered through a chamionship drought. When you’re one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history, you deserve a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. And when Bourque did after he was traded to the Avalanche, fans rejoiced for his success. He didn’t rub it in our faces (no horse riding involved). In fact, he shared it with us. It’s a breakup that was for the best.
Drew Bledsoe was a consummate professional for the Patriots from 1993 to 2001. Who likes giving up their job to a young stud? But he handled it with class and got to take home a championship ring when all was said and done. We found something better (i.e. Tom Brady), but we always appreciated Bledsoe and that he gave us his best—even if it drove us nuts how long he’d hold the ball. We wished him success with his new teams—just not when he played the Patriots. Sort of an “it’s not you, it’s me” breakup. Next
Carlton Fisk came so close to glory in 1975, and fans wanted a World Series win as much for them as for him and all the other Boston greats who missed the top prize since the last time in 1918. But it wasn’t to be. And after a 1971 to 1980 run with Boston, he left to be a great catcher somewhere else. An “it is what it is” breakup.
The Nomar Garciaparra breakup is still pretty fresh. You know the story: general manager Theo Epstein trades a once beloved homegrown batting champion and the Red Sox go on to win their first championship in 86 years. A “we’re-better-off-without-you” break up.
Luis Tiant played for the Red Sox from 1971 to 1978, and we got to know the Cuban righthander as a workhorse and a warrior. Did he have to go to the Yankees when his Boston tour was up? Even that is excusable for someone known affectionately as El Tiante as he’s reunited with the Fenway Family. A we’re still friends breakup.
Ben Coates’ 1991 to 1999 tenure included one shot at a championship. But he was released by the Patriots in 1999. The tight end had the last laugh, though, winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens. He got there a year before New England did. Ultimately, a win-win breakup.
10/11/98 Globe staff Jim Davis story/ sports Patriots Vs kansas City Chiefs. Patriots Ben Coates. TotalPats TotalPats08 Next
Manny Ramirez was one wacky (and possibly synthetically enhanced) dude for the Red Sox from 2001 to 2008. But could they have broken The Curse without the slugger? At the end, it was time to part ways as he was sent to the Dodgers—a place that has become a Boston dumping ground for problem stars. That was clear. A very necessary breakup—but thanks for the trophies.
It’s too bad one of the best hockey players in NHL history couldn’t have ended his career in Boston. But it wasn’t to be. Contract questions and an injured knee complicated things. And so the star, who spent 1966 to 1976 in Boston and brought the city the Stanley Cup in 1970, was gone to wind down his career in Chicago. There aren’t many breakups that end in a statue, but Orr earned that and more.
OPS photo by dan goshtigian bobby orr heads for the net Next
The ideal scenario would have been for Robert Parish, who played for the Celtics from 1980 to 1994, to retire as a Celtic like his legendary partners Larry Bird and Kevin McHale did. But sometimes the ideal doesn’t work out, as Parish finished his career in Charlotte and Chicago. Not so much a breakup as a moving on. And the Celtics were happy to retire this Hall of Famer’s jersey. Next
Has there been a worse breakup of a longtime star and Boston than how the Red Sox and Roger Clemens parted ways? The Rocket played for the Red Sox from 1984 to 1996, but you know how it ended. Not good stuff. Not then. Not now. A “take your Cy Youngs and Yankee championships and shove it” breakup. Back to the beginning
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