Jason Varitek Retirement
March 2, 2012 by staff
Jason Varitek Retirement, Standing on the other side of home plate, looking at what could have been his spot to play this spring training at JetBlue Park, Jason Varitek instead called it a career.
Varitek, who turns 40 on April 11, declined a minor league contract from the Boston Red Sox, the team he captained for seven seasons and helped take its pitching staff to new heights as the starting catcher for 14 of his 15 seasons.
“It was probably one of the hardest weeks you could go through as a player,” Varitek said during his Thursday evening retirement news conference at his now-former team’s new spring training home. He paused twice during his speech to collect himself. “My decision wasn’t one I took lightly.”
With his parents, wife Catherine and daughters Ally, 12, Kendall, 10 and Caroline, 7, on hand, Varitek thanked them along with a litany of former teammates and coaches going back to his days as a Little League player in Altamonte Springs.
Varitek played for championships at every level: the Little League World Series, the 1990 Florida state title for Lake Brantley High School, the 1992 Olympics, the College World Series for Georgia Tech in 1994 and the World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
Varitek praised all of his former managers, singling out Jimy Williams for uplifting him at a vital time during his rookie year.
“He said, ‘Tek,’ you’re going to be a baseball player. You’re going to have a long career,’” Varitek said. “It was just the vote of confidence I needed to get me over the hump, and I’ll never forget him for it.”
Donna Varitek, Jason’s mother, said seeing her son get the game-winning hit for the high school title stood out the most.
“That was the start of everything,” she said. “The start of him becoming a man.”
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