The good word from Mike Lowell

CHICAGO -- A little word association with Boston Red Sox infielder Mike Lowell as he begins his last week as a ballplayer after 13 seasons in the big leagues:


"My dad. I think he showed me the right way to be as a baseball player, but I think he showed me a better way to be a person."


"I think it's a privilege, a privilege. Not to undermine other teams, but two of the uniforms I've worn had unsurpassed tradition, and the other was the town I grew up in. I think I was pretty lucky in all of those aspects."


"I think I fulfilled it. I remember my mom would tell me, 'If you ever go to a new church, you get three wishes, you say three Hail Marys.' One of those was always, 'God, I want to be a major league baseball player.' That worked out."


"Well, I'd say my wife, just because she's been with me on everything related to my career, from the rough start with the cancer to all the joys to all the politicking. She's been there from A to Z. Not that other people haven't, but she's with me at home, she's with me on the daily grind."


"I don't know if it's so much a prank, but Mike Redmond taking flips naked with high-top spikes on to break out of a losing streak has to be one of the greatest. We [the Marlins] won five in a row, put us right back in the wild-card chase in '03."


"I've had a lot of good ones, man. I think in the short time that I played with him, Alex Cora really stands out. And I really, really like everything about Dustin Pedroia. I think those are two. Cora, because we have a lot in common at the point in our lives and our age, and Dustin because I feel like he's had to prove people wrong his whole life, really, and he's not only done it but excelled."


"In life or in baseball? I would say when I found out my daughter was going to be a healthy child because there were a lot of obstacles, the chances with the cancer of not being able to have kids. So, naturally, healthy, yeah that was great. [Bleep], you're making me cry.

"Baseball joy, I would say holding the World Series MVP trophy with my wife and my brother on Coors Field. I don't think you can script that one."


"Besides the ground ball two days ago? I would say the 2008 series with Anaheim with my hip. I don't think I've ever had to dig deeper, trying to mask something that was not possible to mask."


"I think that entails a lot. I owe a lot, believe it or not, to Mick Kelleher, the first-base coach of the Yankees. He was a minor league rover and he worked with me a lot and I had the stereotype that I could hit in the big leagues but I couldn't play defense. That was the word in my first big league camp, what's this prospect all about. We think he can hit but we're not sure he can play defense, so why rush him when the Yankees had so much offense.

"So to end my career known as someone who plays third base very well defensively is very, very satisfying."

Funny man

"A lot of 'em. I'll go with Ryan Dempster, Kevin Millar, Mike Redmond, [Jonathan] Papelbon, and on the bus, David Ortiz, but none of you can ever know what he says."


"I would say 2005, but I think I learned so much from it I think it helped me in the end. For me personally I don't think I have a disappointment in the sense that I regret doing something a certain way. I really don't. I wish 2005 would have been better because I think we had a team that could have gone to the postseason if I'd had a good year."


"I'd say 2006 was very rewarding after everybody told me I could no longer hit in the big leagues. I think winning Game 6 and 7 in Chicago [in 2003 with the Marlins] was unbelievable. I mean, not that other games weren't, but that was the first taste I had of knowing that we were on the brink and going to the World Series. That was a joy I don't think I've ever felt. Josh Beckett tagging out Posada and Papelbon making the last strikeout [in the 2007 World Series], I don't think that's a thing you put into words."


"I would say that the talent I was blessed with, I maximized, I maxed it out. I think I'm very proud of that."

On Saturday, the Red Sox plan to honor Lowell with a "Thanks, Mike" day. Lowell was asked if he could choose the people with whom he could look back at his career and celebrate, who would they be.

"My parents, my two brothers, my sister, my wife, my two kids and my 10 best friends, and they know who they are."

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He has covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.