(The title of this post is said in the same way Jason Street and Tim Riggins say “Texas Forever” in Friday Night Lights.)
Today Dustin “Pedey” “Laser Show” “The Muddy Chicken” Pedroia announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after 14 seasons, all played with the Boston Red Sox.
When I saw the news alert on my phone, it felt like my childhood was disappearing a bit. I followed baseball growing up—I knew who Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero were—but didn’t pick a team to follow until I was in middle school, so around 2007. Pedey was one of the first Sox players I was really obsessed with (before I found Jacoby Ellsbury), and that entire 2007 World Series-winning team made me fall in love with baseball.
He was just so scrappy, and I’m pretty sure he would have just lived in Fenway Park if they let him so that he could be the first and last player at the park. The dude threw his body around during every play at second base; there was never a game when his entire uniform wasn’t dirty.
“A couple of years ago, I had 60 at-bats, and I was hitting .170, and everyone was ready to kill me, too. And what happened? Laser show. So, relax.”Dustin Pedroia
Another thing Pedey was known for was his attitude. I’ll always remember the story from the 2007 season when he got stopped by security trying to enter Coors Field for the World Series. He told security he played for the Red Sox, and when they didn’t believe him, he said, “Go ask Jeff Francis [pitcher for the Colorado Rockies] who the f— I am.” Yes, he shot off his mouth a lot, but I really think he was a leader in that clubhouse. Jason Varitek was the Captain, and you know David Ortiz ran the whole show up until his retirement in 2016, but I think the players listened to Pedey.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen Pedey since the 2017 season. As I’ve noted before, I’ve never been a fan of Manny Machado, and every Sox fan remembers the Machado slide into second when he cleated Pedey in the back of the calf. That play basically led Pedey down a rabbit hole of trouble with his knee (although he had battled other injuries and even played through them, like a torn UCL in his thumb during the entire 2013 season) and bounced between the disabled list and the Sox minor league teams for rehabbing. Pedey tried so hard to get back to the majors and put on that Red Sox uniform again, but, ultimately, that didn’t happen.
It’s crazy to me to see players from my childhood retiring. I felt the same way when Papi retired and the Red Sox retired his jersey number. It seemed like for the longest time, anyone who was retiring played in the 1990s and I didn’t necessarily watch but knew about. But now it’s players I know and love leaving the game, and I don’t know if I can handle it. Reading this article with a list of tweet reactions to the news makes me happy, though.
Dustin Pedroia Statistics:
- 2007 AL Rookie of the Year
- 2008 MVP
- 4x Gold Glover
- 4x All Star
- 3x World Series Champion
- .299 AVG
- .365 OBP
- 140 HR
- 394 2B
- 725 RBI
- 922 R
- 138 SB
- 549 XBH
- 2,649 TB
In Red Sox history, he ranks among the top 10 all-time in hits, doubles, rubs, steals, extra-base hits, total bases, and at-bats.
So I hope that Pedey enjoys his retirement, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in a special assistant role for the Red Sox. I mean, he’d be joining the company of Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Tim Wakefield. Thanks for all of the memories, Pedey!