First baseman Sean Casey announced his retirement this afternoon on a conference call with reporters, ending his 12-year career after his lone season with the Red Sox. Casey played just one season and had a mere 199 at-bats with Boston, but he left a lasting imprint here, like everywhere else he played, with his infamously talkative and friendly demeanor.
Casey believes he could still play as a bench player, but he decided spending more time with his family and becoming an analyst for the MLB Network would be better than one more season as a role player. He raved about his season as a Red Sox, and he seemed open to returning. But he figured once the Sox signed Mark Kotsay that his time here had concluded. He batted .322 with the Sox, productive at the plate but limited by a nagging neck ailment and defensive shortcomings.
“Boston was probably one of my favorite years of my career, just being a part of the Boston Red Sox was unbelievable,” Casey said. “This decision really had more to do with seeing my kids. It just felt like it was becoming time to be home more.The tough part about it is that baseball has been so good to me, and it’s been everything I thought it would be and more. It’s been the ultimate dream for me.”
Casey finishes his career as a three-time All-Star and a .300 hitter — .302, to be exact — but he likely will be remembered more for his attitude. He relentlessly chatted up opposing hitters at first base. During his first spring training with the Cincinnati Reds, Casey walked into the media room and introduced himself, without prompting, to every reporter there. Fans in Cincinnati, where he spent eight seasons, have lobbied for him to return ever since the club traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“It means a lot to me that I’m looked at, if I was a nice guy or a good guy in the game,” Casey said. “And I was also a pretty good player, that’s a pretty good combination. I’m as proud of the way I was able to be with teammates as I was of the things I did on the field.”
Casey also stepped into his role as an analyst, taking on Boston’s situation with Jason Varitek.
“I’d be shocked if ‘Tek doesn’t come back to Boston,” Casey said. “The fans love him there. The guys in that clubhouse love ‘Tek. I can’t imagine Jason Varitek putting on a uniform besides the Boston Red Sox. I saw him a few weeks ago. I know he wants to come back to the Boston Red Sox. So I hope they get that done. I think it would be good for both sides, no doubt about it, especially that pitching staff.”