When discussing catcher Jason Varitek's career with the Red Sox - who will retire Thursday - this is pretty much all you need to remember: He b-slapped A-Rod when the team was 9 1/2 games out in 2004.
The rest is history. Word of Tek's retirement broke courtesy of the Globe's Peter Abraham on Monday, even though the catcher retired for practical purposes about three years ago. His captaincy was a bad joke at the end, but given the wreckage of 2011, his offenses were far lesser then those of the beer-swilling pitching staff. Varitek gave the Red Sox the lead for good in their last playoff victory, caught 16 innings in a single game (my 2nd most-impressive Tek moment) and called four no-hitters. He would have had a fifth if Schilling didn't shake him off back in 2007. He stuck around too long, but who doesn't.
Thanks for the memories.
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