March 10, 2010

Nomar: I Had A Recurring Dream Of Retiring In A Red Sox Uniform

Nomar Garciaparra:
I think last time I was in Boston when the Oakland A's came to town [last season] ... I was talking about always having a recurring dream to be able to retire in a Red Sox uniform. ... [And] today I get to retire and fulfill that dream ...
Garciaparra was actually first drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, in the 5th round of the 1991 amateur draft, but he did not sign. The Red Sox picked him in the 1st round (12th overall pick) of the 1994 amateur draft. (Jason Varitek was picked two spots later, by the Mariners.)

Nomar made his debut with the Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 31, 1996, taking over for Jeff Frye at second base in the 7th inning of an 8-0 loss to Oakland; it was the only time in his career that he played 2B.

The next day, he started at shortstop, batted 7th, and went 3-for-5, with a home run off John Wasdin. In those five trips to the plate, he saw a total of 11 pitches (the dong came on a first pitch swing)!

Garciaparra received a huge ovation before throwing out the first pitch before today's Rays-Red Sox game at City of Palms Park.

Theo Epstein, who traded Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004 -- less than three months before the team snapped its 86-year World Series drought:
I grew up a Red Sox fan and even through I was already in baseball when he became a player, I knew what he meant to Boston and to the fans. When his agent contacted us about doing this, I thought it was great. He should go out as a Red Sox because he was such a great player.
Tim Wakefield:
This is how it's supposed to happen.
In nine seasons with the Red Sox, Garciaparra batted .323, the 4th best career average in team history, with a .923 OPS and a 133 OPS+. He is fifth on the Red Sox's all-time list in slugging percentage (.553) and 11th in total bases (2,194). He won AL batting titles in 1999 (.357) and 2000 (.372).

Also: B-Ref looks at "Nomar Through 2003".

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