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Jason Varitek

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#33 Jason Varitek
Jason varitek
Boston Red Sox - Catcher
Bats: Both Throws: Right
Height: 6'2 Weight: 230 lbs
Born on April 11, 1972 in Rochester, Michigan
MLB Debut
September 24, 1997 for the Boston Red Sox
Draft
Picked no. 14th overall in round 1 of the 1994 draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Career Statistics
Updated April 24, 2009
Average     .262
Home Runs     175
RBIs     705
Teams
  • Boston Red Sox (1997-)
Career Highlights and Awards
  • 1x Silver Slugger (2005)
  • 3x All-Star (2003, 2005, 2008)
  • 1x Gold Glove Winner (2005)
  • 2x World Series Champion (2004, 2007)
  • Red Sox Team Captain (2005-)

Jason Andrew Varitek, born April 11 1972) is an American baseball catcher, currently playing for the Boston Red Sox. After being traded as a minor league prospect by the Seattle Mariners, Varitek has played his entire major league career for the Boston Red Sox. A two time all-star and Gold Glove Award winner at catcher, Varitek was an integral part of the 2004 World Series and 2007 World Series Championship teams. In 2005, he was named the captain of the Red Sox, the fourth player given the honor. He is a switch-hitter. His nickname is "'Tek" or "The Captain." Varitek is large and durable at 6'2" and 230 pounds.

Achieving high success at every level, Varitek is one of only two players in the history of the sport to have played in the World Championship game of the Little League World Series, in the National Championship game of the College World Series, and in the Major League World Series (Ed Vosberg is the other). Varitek stands alone as the only baseball player in history to have played in the three aforementioned World Series along with playing on the Olympic Baseball team, and in the World Baseball Classic. As well, his Lake Brantley High School baseball team won the Florida State Championship his senior year in 1990 and was named the number one high school baseball team in the land by a USA Today poll.[1]

Little League careerEdit

File:Variteklittleleagueworldseries.jpg

Varitek was born in Rochester, Michigan. He played in the 1984 Little League World Series, leading his Altamonte Springs, Florida team to victory in the United States Championship bracket in a 4-2 victory over Southport, Indiana. Yet, the national champions fell in the world championship game to the international champion from Seoul, South Korea, by a score of 6-2.[2] Varitek played shortstop, third base, and catcher in his three LLWS games, performing well defensively, but was hitless going 0 for 7 with two walks and a run scored.[3]

High school and collegeEdit

While in high school, Varitek was a third baseman and catcher for the Lake Brantley High School baseball team in Altamonte Springs, FL. The Patriots' usual catcher was Jerry Thurston, himself a pro prospect. In 1990, the Patriots won the state championship.[4] He was also a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team and won the Dick Howser Trophy for National Collegiate Player of the Year. He was also named Baseball America's 1993 College Player of the Year; he appeared in 3 games for the U.S. team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Varitek attended Georgia Tech, where he helped lead the Yellow Jackets baseball team to the 1994 College World Series championships, along with teammates Nomar Garciaparra and Jay Payton. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in management and is the only Tech baseball player to have his number (33) retired.

Early professional careerEdit

Varitek played two summers in the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Hyannis Mets. In 1993, he hit .371 while winning both the league batting championship and MVP. He was drafted 21st overall in the first round by the Minnesota Twins in 1993,[5] but opted to return for his senior year of college. Following graduation, Varitek signed with agent Scott Boras and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 1994 amateur draft, with the 14th pick overall.[6] A pioneer of the loopholes in the draft process, Varitek signed with the St. Paul Saints in the independent Northern League[7] before agreeing to terms with the Mariners, and consequently did not enter the Mariners' minor league system until 1995. When he finally did join the franchise, Varitek was sent to the AA affiliate Port City Roosters where he first met pitcher and longtime teammate Derek Lowe. He was traded with Lowe to the Red Sox during the 1997 season, in return for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb, often cited as one of the best trades in the Red Sox's favor in recent history.

Major league careerEdit

1998 rookie year - 2001Edit

Varitek was called up for a single game on September 24, 1997, collecting a single in his only at bat. The next season, Varitek split time with incumbent catcher Scott Hatteberg playing in 86 games.[8] Varitek showed signs of things to come in the 1998 season and with a strong spring training following the season, Varitek ensured himself the starting role. 1999 was a breakout year for the young catcher; he played 144 games in that season while hitting for a .269 average, with 20 home runs, and 76 RBIs.[8] 1999 also gave Varitek his first taste of the playoffs. Varitek went 5-21 with 3 RBI in the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians[9]Template:Verify credibility and 4-20 with 1 RBI in the ALCS against the New York Yankees.[10]Template:Verify credibility Varitek looked forward to building on his success from the year before, but in 2000 he did not show the same potential and had a disappointing offensive output. He hit just .248 with only 10 home runs and 65 RBI.[8] Prior to the 2001 season, Varitek signed a 3 year $14.9 million contract with the Red Sox, and off to a hot start before he was sidelined for the season with a broken left elbow after he dove to catch a foul ball on June 7. The play went on to be a top Web Gem for the month of July in 2001. Varitek finished the season with a .293 average, 7 home runs, and 25 RBI in just 51 games played.[8]

2002 and 2003Edit

Varitek returned to the Red Sox lineup full-time in the 2002 season. The return did not go smoothly, however, as Varitek struggled to find himself at the plate. Despite not reaching his full offensive potential,[8] pitchers and coaches alike began to notice how much Varitek's preparation and knowledge of the game was helping the pitchers. His study habits and extra hours of work with pitchers would soon become his defining attribute and make him a household name around the league. Varitek and the Red Sox entered the 2003 season with a renewed fire to reach the playoffs after missing in the previous three years. Varitek instantly became a leader in the working class clubhouse featuring new faces such as Kevin Millar, David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, and Todd Walker along with original players Trot Nixon and Lou Merloni. 2003 was Varitek's best year to date and earned his first all-star selection after the fans voted him on with the All-Star Final Vote. He was hitting .296 with 15 HRs and 51 RBIs[11] going into the all-star break and finished the season off with a solid .273 average, 25 HRs and 85 RBIs,[8] all career highs. Varitek also led the Red Sox to a Wild Card berth and their first playoff appearance since 1999.

2004 and the World SeriesEdit

In 2004, Varitek compiled a career-high .296 batting average with 18 home runs and 73 RBI. During a nationally televised game on July 24, 2004, Varitek shoved his glove into the face of Yankees' Alex Rodriguez to protect Bronson Arroyo, causing a bench-clearing brawl. Though he was ejected (along with Rodriguez) from the game following the incident, the moment sparked Boston to an 11-10 come from behind victory. It is also sometimes regarded as the turning point in the Red Sox season, as they posted MLB's best record after the melee. The Red Sox culminated the season with their first World Series championship in 86 years. Having played in this World Series, Varitek became the second player to have played in the Little League World Series, College World Series, and Major League World Series. At the end of the year, Varitek became a free agent and signed a 4-year, $40-million contract with the Red Sox.

Free agency and promotion to CaptainEdit

After Varitek's re-signing, the Red Sox appointed him to be the third team captain since 1923, after Carl Yastrzemski (1969-1983) and Jim Rice (1986-1989). There are currently only two other captains in Major League Baseball: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox.

According to baseball media, Varitek is valued as a catcher for his ability to work with pitchers, using scouting reports and video footage to plan each game. He also won his first Gold Glove Award, his first Silver Slugger, and his second All-Star selection in 2005.

In 2006, Varitek represented the United States in the World Baseball Classic. He made the most of his playing time, hitting a grand slam home run against Team Canada allowing Team USA to move from 8-2, to 8-6. Team Canada, however, kept the lead in the upset victory.

On July 18, 2006, Varitek played his 991st game at catcher for the Boston Red Sox, breaking Carlton Fisk's club record. That game was a home game vs. Kansas City, during which Varitek's achievement was recognized before the top of the 5th inning (after the game was official and couldn't be cancelled due to weather). Varitek received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Fenway Park for a few moments before play began. On July 31, 2006, Varitek was injured rounding the bases in a 9-8 victory over the Cleveland Indians (his 1000th Career Game as catcher), but said he believed the initial injury to the knee occurred while he was blocking home plate to make the tag against the Angels Mike Napoli on July 29, 2006. He had surgery on August 3, 2006 to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. Varitek returned to the Red Sox lineup on September 4, following a short rehabilitation assignment in Pawtucket.

On September 19, 2006, Jason was honored during a pre-game ceremony as the first Red Sox catcher to catch 1,000 games. The Red Sox Captain was presented with a special award by Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk, who held the Boston club record with 990 career games caught before Varitek surpassed that total on July 18 versus Kansas City. The Sox backstop caught his 1000th game on July 31 and by the evening of the ceremony had appeared in 1,009 games behind the plate. That same night, Jason also received the 2006 Red Sox Heart and Hustle Award from the local chapter of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which is presented to a player exemplifying the values, tradition, and spirit of the game of baseball.

In 2007, Varitek and the Red Sox returned to the World Series once again, winning for the second time in four years. During the season, Varitek enjoyed a couple of personal highlights, reaching his 1000th career hit and, on September 1, catching rookie Clay Buchholz's no-hitter. Varitek became just the twelfth catcher in Major League history to catch three separate no-hitters, having been behind the plate for previous no-no's by Derek Lowe and Hideo Nomo.

Following the 2008 season, Varitek became a free agent. Following the advice of his agent, Scott Boras, Varitek declined the Red Sox' offer of arbitration, which likely would have gotten him a contract around $10 million for the upcoming season, as Boras believed he could get Varitek something in the range of 4-years, $40 million. However, the was no market for Varitek's services, due to his status as a Type-A free agent, as well as his considerable offensive decline over the past few seasons. On January 31, Varitek signed a one-year, $5 million deal with a team option for 2010. If the team should choose to void the option, Varitek could pick up his own option, which would give him a salary of $3 million for 2010, with an additional $2 million in performance-based incentives. Varitek's playing time was reduced in the last two months of 2009, when the Red Soxc acquired Vincent Martinez from Cleveland as a catcher-1st baseman. Martinez was named the regular catcher for 2010, and Jason Varitek remained with the Red Sox as a back-up catcher.

In honor of being captain, Jason released Captain Cabernet, a charity wine with proceeds benefiting Pitching In For Kids and Children's Hospital Boston.

StatisticsEdit

Jason Varitek (Updated as of October 28, 2007) [12]
Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA
Career 1199 3978 536 1063 246 13 148 611 25 .267

Personal lifeEdit

Varitek married Karen Mullinax in 1997. They have three daughters: Alexandra Rose (born January 14, 2000), Kendall Anne (born September 30, 2001) and Caroline Morgan (born June 13, 2005). On July 28, 2008, Jason filed for divorce from Karen. In addition, his brother Justin Varitek is a member of the Rollins College baseball team coaching staff.[13]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Awards
Preceded by:
Darren Dreifort
Rotary Smith Award
1994
Succeeded by:
Mark Kotsay
Preceded by:
Brooks Kieschnick
Dick Howser Trophy
1994
Succeeded by:
Todd Helton
Preceded by:
Darren Dreifort
Golden Spikes Award
1994
Succeeded by:
Mark Kotsay
Preceded by:
Iván Rodríguez
Gold Glove
2005
Succeeded by:
Iván Rodríguez
Preceded by:
Víctor Martínez
Silver Slugger
2005
Succeeded by:
Joe Mauer

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