When Jason Varitek received his captain's jersey upon re-signing with the Red Sox on Christmas Eve after the 2004 World Series title, he said, "I'm extremely honored right now. ... It's something I'll wear proudly."
He truly recognized his connection with Boston fans that day, saying, "Being a Red Sox in this city just pulls a lot out of me because I think a lot of my values and a lot of the fans' values and a lot of guys that play here have the same values. They like to get dirty; fans like us to get dirty. We want to play hard and leave what we have on the field, and that's what they demand out of you here."
When Varitek retired in March at Fenway South, it was a decidedly more somber occasion, but he never lost sight of how special it was for him to play his entire major league career in Boston.
"After months of deliberating what to do, I decided that it was best for me, and my family, that I retire -- that I retire a Red Sox," he said.
As tough as the decision was, Varitek seemed to be at peace with it.
"As I walk away from this game, I can look at the man in the mirror and be proud that I gave everything I could to this game, this organization, my teammates.
"And once again I just want to say thanks."