FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Longtime Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra retired from baseball on Wednesday morning, signing a one-day contract with the Red Sox in order to retire as a member of the team.
"I've always had a recurring dream, to be able to retire in a Red Sox uniform," Garciaparra said at a press conference at City of Palms Park. "Thanks to Mr. [John] Henry, Mr. [Tom] Werner, Mr. [Larry] Lucchino and Theo [Epstein], today I get to fulfill that dream and retire as a Red Sox.
"Earlier today, I did sign a minor league contract to be a part of the organization once again. I was getting choked up then, and I'm getting choked up now. I've got the chills.
"But to be able to have that dream come true, I really just can't put into words because of what this organization has always meant to me, meant to my family, the fans. I always tell people Red Sox Nation is bigger than any nation out there, and to be able to tell people that I came back home to be back to Red Sox Nation is truly a thrill."
Garciaparra will join ESPN as a baseball analyst. He will be seen primarily on Baseball Tonight but will also serve as an occasional game analyst.
The 36-year-old Garciaparra spent the first nine seasons of his 14-year career in Boston, where he developed into a fan favorite, a perennial All-Star and the best shortstop in team history. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1997 and won batting titles in back-to-back seasons in 1999 and 2000. His career average with the Red Sox stands at .323, with 178 homers and 690 RBIs.
He stressed Wednesday that fan support was one of the biggest reasons why it was so important to him to retire in a Red Sox uniform.
"Everywhere I go I get so many [Red Sox fans] come to me and tell me 'Thank you. We miss you. We still love you,'" Garciaparra said. "And it's so genuine and the feeling is mutual. Hopefully from my actions throughout my career in that uniform and hopefully my actions today again tell them what it means to me."
Lucchino echoed those sentiments from the team's perspective.
"We welcome you home," Lucchino said at the press conference. "It gives us enormous pride to recognize the respect you have to the organization, the connection you feel to the organization, the connection you feel to our fans and Fenway Park, and I'm here to fell you the feelings are mutual. When the history of the Boston Red Sox is written again, there will be a very large and important chapter devoted to Nomar Garciaparra."