After announcing his retirement from baseball earlier this year, the Boston Red Sox honored second baseman Dustin Pedroia with a ceremony at Fenway Park before their game on June 25th. Pedroia was drafted by the Red Sox in 2004 as a second-round pick. He made his major league debut in 2006 and played for Boston for the rest of his career. During his time on the team, he was a four-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove Winner, along with Rookie of the Year in 2007 and American League MVP in 2008. He was also with the team for three World Series Championships.
During the ceremony, several of Pedroia’s former coaches, teammates, and managers – including Tim Wakefield, Jacoby Elsbury, Terry Francona, and David Ross – showed up at Fenway or sent in videos congratulating him on his career. One notable video was sent in by former teammate David Ortiz who echoed other messages in describing Pedroia’s work ethic and passion for baseball. The tributes described how he was always eager to learn more about the sport, put in long hours of practice, and help others improve both on and off the field.
Although Pedroia had great statistics while playing for the Red Sox, his dedication and love for the game set him apart from other players and made him a fan favorite. By always being the first player to the field, giving his best effort while playing, and working to improve himself and his team, his personality and passion clearly came through. To demonstrate their appreciation, the Red Sox announced at the ceremony that the typical three-year waiting period and vote to be eligible for induction into the Red Sox Hall of Fame would be waived for Pedroia due to his contributions and devotion to the team. He will be inducted into the class of 2022.
As a player, Pedroia tried to prove people wrong and be better than expected. This season, many of the current Red Sox players, and the team as a whole, are following this mentality. Before the season started, many experts projected the Red Sox would win around 80 to 85 games. However, if they keep winning at the pace they are right now, they would end up with 100 wins. This is an impressive jump considering their last-place finish in 2020. Not only is the team having an overachieving season, but many of the players are also as well. Third baseman Rafael Devers is having a great season as a clutch hitter and strong fielder after a rough season last year in which he led the major leagues in errors. This year, he has 19 home runs so far and is a top contender to play in the All-Star game. Right fielder Hunter Renfroe is also having an impressive season with 11 outfield assists, which is more assists than 19 entire teams have. Although Pedroia’s retirement means the end of his playing days, there is no doubt that fans will continue to see his impact on the team for many seasons in the future.