NESN – Dustin Pedroia is calling it a career. The Boston Red Sox second baseman announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Monday. Pedroia, who dealt with knee injuries over the latter part of his career, played in just nine games over the last three seasons. He did not play in 2020.
“Dustin is so much more than his American League Most Valuable Player award, his All-Star Game selections, and the Gold Gloves he amassed throughout his impressive 17-year career in our organization,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a press release.
“Dustin came to represent the kind of grit, passion, and competitive drive that resonates with baseball fans everywhere and especially with Red Sox fans. He played the game he loves in service to our club, its principles and in pursuit of championships. Most of all we are forever grateful to him for what he brought to our club and to our region as an important role model showing all of us how much one can accomplish with determination and hard work.”
We all knew this day was coming and is something that had been discussed more openly in the last couple of years as Pedroia battled debilitating knee injuries. Once I heard Jerry Remy during a game tell the story of Pedroia asking him what kind of flooring he had in his house because the hardwood was killing his knees I knew his playing days were likely over. He is one of the greatest players in Red Sox history and will almost certainly have his number 15 retired as a 4x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove winner, 1x Silver Slugger, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, an MVP award, and three World Series rings.
As a career .299 career hitter with all the aforementioned hardware, Pedroia’s retirement is bittersweet because it’s another Nomar “what could’ve been” story. Like Nomar a decade before him, if Pedroia didn’t get hurt and have his career derailed by constant injuries he could’ve been a legitimate Hall of Famer. If you ask me I will forever say fuck Manny Machado for the dirty slide that basically ended Pedroia’s career, but Pedey has never (publicly) faulted Machado and has even been quite open about how he’d rather play his ass off and risk his body than half ass it just to add a few years to his career.
Can't help but think back to a conversation I had with Pedroia five years ago about the dangers of playing 2B. He knew his career could be jeopardized by the most vulnerable position outside of catcher. He accepted that. https://t.co/dISz0YovIY pic.twitter.com/S86ER4Cbp4— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 1, 2021
It all started with the Machado dirtbag slide in Pedroia’s already surgically repaired left knee in April 2017, but there was also the Jose Abreu collision in May 2017 that sent him to the DL, when he went back on the DL in August 2017 I was spooked, then he had another knee surgery in October 2017, he returned in 2018 but was back on the DL by June, in July 2018 we asked Is This the End for Dustin Pedroia, he then returned for Opening Day in 2019, and then by September 2019 it was pretty clear Pedroia was done.
But I don’t want you to leave this blog pissed off lamenting the past because I want to celebrate not only his greatness on the field, but how genuinely awesome a dude Dustin Pedroia is so here are a few of my favorite stories.
“Yeah, he’s one of a kind,” Roberts says. “He and I work out at the same place in Arizona in the off-season, and I’ve seen him call out NFL players during Ping-Pong games, asking them when they’re starting Jenny Craig. He told Brady Quinn, who is a monster, a physical specimen, ‘I’m going to rip this ball right off your throat.’ He’s a piece of work.”
"I'm the guy who took Jeff Francis onto the Mass Pike." – Dustin Pedroia when stopped by security before Game 3 of the 2007 World Series 😂— MLB Vault (@MLBVault) August 17, 2020
Happy 37th Birthday, Pedey. pic.twitter.com/egCOtY9xKZ
But clearly he is a player that is not only beloved by fans, but he is revered by teammates including the all-time greats like Big Papi.
Just talked to David Ortiz about Pedroia retirement: 'He showed the whole planet it wasn't about height, it was about balls … If I had to pick one player to pay to watch it was Dustin Pedroia'— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) February 1, 2021
And in a statement from former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon comes a quote that I may just have to slap on a t-shirt: “Diamonds are forever and so is Dustin Pedroia.”
Jonathan Papelbon has basically disappeared from public life since retiring in 2016.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 1, 2021
His comment on Dustin Pedroia via the Red Sox: pic.twitter.com/QItpOUHCFu
Above all Dustin Pedroia was a hilarious, hard working, regular ass dude which is why he was beloved in the city of Boston. In a career full of A+ soundbites, I leave you with just a few of his classic stories.
In 2010, when David Ortiz was hitting .149 and people were calling him washed and that he should retire, Pedroia jumped to his defense— joon (@joonlee) February 1, 2021
"Couple years ago, I had 60 at-bats, I was hitting .170 and everyone was ready to kill me too. What happened?"
"Laser Show." pic.twitter.com/v8SPO83YcZ
Nobody will ever have a better .@MLBTheShow commerical than Dustin Pedroia.— Tyler Milliken (@tylermilliken_) February 1, 2021
It blew my mind as a kid to see my favorite player on the cover of my favorite game.
He’s one of the main reasons I fell in love with the game of baseball.#RedSox | #DirtyWaterpic.twitter.com/KhB8keAg20
I could post a ton of Pedroia highlights but this might be my favorite Pedey moment pic.twitter.com/KO3krweOdR— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) February 1, 2021