Morning Sports Update

‘Forever in my heart’: Here’s Dennis Eckersley’s NESN sign-off

"This is a special, special day and I will never, ever forget it."

Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Eckersley reacts to getting applause from the fans at Fenway Park. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Red Sox defeated the Rays 6-3 on Wednesday in the 2022 regular season finale. Boston finished the year with a 78-84 record.

Also on Wednesday, the Bruins and Celtics played preseason games. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4, while the Celtics lost to the Raptors, 125-119.

Dennis Eckersley signs off: Though it was a disappointing end to the season for the Red Sox, Wednesday’s season finale produced some emotional moments for fans, players, and as it turned out, those in the broadcast booth.

For Dennis Eckersley, Wednesday represented the final game in what’s been nearly a half-century in professional baseball as a player and commentator. Having announced in August that he would be retiring from the NESN booth, Eckersley savored and celebrated his final game.

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When it came to the very end of the broadcast, an emotional Eckersley signed off with a touching message.

“Thank you Boston. Thank you New England for having me,” he said. “Forever in my heart, and I’ll be back. But this is a special, special day and I will never, ever forget it. Thank you Red Sox, thank you very much. And NESN, and all the gang, have a good one. I will.”

Afterward, Eckersley shook hands with each of his colleagues as he left Fenway Park.

Trivia: Since 1990, only two pitchers in Major League Baseball have won the Cy Young Award in years where they pitched fewer than 100 innings (with the exception of the shortened 2020 season). Dennis Eckersley was the first, winning in 1992. Who was the second?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was traded to the Red Sox on July 31, 2007, but pitched only 18.2 (largely disastrous) innings with Boston, compiling a 6.75 ERA.

More from Boston.com:

The list of “Eckisms” from over the years:

Building a “Pat Patriot” helmet: The Patriots will use throwback uniforms (including these helmets) in Week 5 against the Lions. New England will also use the throwback uniforms against the Bills on Dec. 1.

Joe Mazzulla’s postgame press conference:

On this day: In 1993, Michael Jordan announced that he was retiring from professional basketball. Coming off an incredible three-peat of championships with the Bulls (as well as a central part in the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team”), Jordan felt he had no more mountains to climb in the sport.

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Still, despite the prediction from his agent, David Falk, that the retirement was for good, the 30-year-old NBA legend in his own time left the door decidedly open on a future comeback.

“I don’t believe in never,” Jordan told reporters at a packed press conference. “I’m just saying that five years down the line, if the urge comes back, and if David Stern lets me back in the league, I will come back.”

Stern, hearing Jordan’s “five years remark,” quipped that he was already trying to “negotiate him down to three.”

Jordan ended up returning in March, 1995 (a shorter timeline than even Stern had hoped for). Following his brief attempt to play baseball, Jordan recommitted himself to playing for the Bulls. Though he took some time to get back in the swing of things, Chicago eventually achieved a second three-peat.

Michael Jordan retires 1993

Daily highlight: J.D. Martinez’s second home run of the Red Sox regular season finale from Wednesday’s win.

Trivia answer: Eric Gagne

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