On Monday, former Red Sox catcher and 2013 World Series champion Jarrod Saltalamacchia announced his retirement after 12 major league seasons.
Salty, as he was lovingly referred to, spent time with seven different ball clubs over his career, breaking in with the Braves in 2007 before going to the Rangers, Red Sox, Marlins, DiamondBacks, Tigers, Blue Jays, before going back to Detroit for one final pitstop this past season.
Although Saltalamacchia was a well traveled man, we will forever be remember, at least in this city, as the Red Sox backstop for the better part of three and a half years. After being acquired at the deadline in 2010, Salty would remain the teams primary catcher from 2011 until his departure after the 2013 season. Saltalamacchia had his best power season of his career in 2012, where he slugged .454 and clubbed 25 home runs, a career high. The next year, Salty would have his best overall season of his career, hitting .273 with a career best .804 OPS with 14 home runs across 121 games.
Saltalamacchia fit in perfectly with the 2013 club. With his wild hair and scruffy beard, he was a key part of the #GetBeard crew that made that team so memorable. Although he struggled in the postseason, Salty got his one moment to shine. One inning after the dramatic David Ortiz game tying grand slam in the eighth inning of game two of the ALCS, Salty sealed the game with an, often overshadowed, walk off single to tie the series at a game a piece.
I know this may sound sacrilegious, but I honestly remember this image more fondly than the Ortiz home run, and it’s a moment i’ll likely never forget.
Later on in the fall classic, Salty would etch his name into the history books again by being partly responsible for the obstruction call that ended game three but let’s not think about that.
Salty would depart for Miami after the 2013 season, but personally will forever hold a spot in my heart as one of my favorite Sox players to root for in my early teens.
As Dennis Eckersley would say “Look at that moss!”
May Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s hair flow forever.
Here’s to a happy retirement.
Photo by The Boston Globe