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Varitek had been extended an invitation to spring training with the Red Sox on a minor league contract, but with three catchers ahead of him on the depth – plus 196 other reasons for Varitek not to return – he decided to join Tim Wakefield in retirement.
Varitek will reportedly remain with the organization in another role.
Drafted in the first round in 1994 out of Georgia Tech, Varitek joined the team in 1997 when the Red Sox traded washed-up closer Heathcliff Slocumb to the Seattle Mariners for the catcher and battery-mate Derek Lowe.
Varitek would go on to become the long-term Boston backstop for the next decade and a half, hitting .256 and slugging .776 with 193 home runs over his career. In franchise history, Varitek ranks in the top-ten in games played (1,546), plate appearances (5,839), doubles (306), extra-base hits (513), and RBIs (757).
Even more so than his bat, Varitek was known for his expert handling of the Red Sox pitching staff and game calling from behind the plate. Though he only had one Gold Glove to show for it, he did catch a record four no-hitters over his career: Hideo Nomo (2001), Lowe (2002), Clay Buchholz (2007), and Jon Lester (2008). He certainly deserves credit for helping develop the young front-end of the pitching staff the Red Sox now boast.
With his fifteen seasons, Varitek joins prestigious company as one of the longest tenured players to wear only the Red Sox uniform. He trails only Carl Yastrzemski (23 seasons), Ted Williams (19), and Jim Rice (16) in that category.
Varitek also spent six of those years as team captain (2005-11), the first Red Sox player to wear the capital “C” on the front of his jersey since Yastrzemski.