FORT MYERS, Fla. ?? Jason Varitek announced his retirement Thursday, which elicited a flurry of statements from his former teammates, managers and opponents who lauded the longtime catcher's stories career with the Red Sox.
Here are some below:
Tim Wakefield: "Tek epitomizes what a true professional should be. He's been a great teammate, but more importantly he's been a better friend. The way he prepared and led the Boston Red Sox over the last 15 years has been an inspiration to all who have watched. Although his leadership will be missed, his legacy in Red Sox history will be forged forever. It has been a true honor to have played with him for this long and I wish him nothing but the best as he starts a new chapter in his life. Congratulations Tek on an unbelievable career. I'm glad we've been able to share a lot of great memories together."
Nomar Garciaparra: "Ever since I've known him, dating back to being his teammate in college, he has been a tireless worker. His preparation and endless work ethic has made him a true champion. He is a great player, great teammate, great friend and even a better man. Thanks Tek for all you have taught me."
Trot Nixon: "It's tough to see Tek go. He was a class act in the clubhouse, a leader on that team. He epitomizes what a captain is all about. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to play with him, I never saw someone worked harder. We all loved him, he was a quiet leader, but when something needed to be said he said it."
Kevin Millar: "I want to congratulate Jason Varitek, a.k.a 'Johnny Unitas flat-top hair cut' on a remarkable career and mostly for being part of the first World Series in 2004 with Sox Nation. It seems like yesterday we were in our hotel rooms on the road hitting with a pizza box going over our stances in our underwear during our struggles offensively. But above all, he's a true professional, a true teammate and, best yet, an even better person. I wish him much success in the up and coming real world and we'll see you soon with powder and an ear piece on TV."
Curt Schilling: "In my 23 years of professional baseball I never played with or against a more selfless and prepared player than Jason Varitek. The ultimate team player, never hesitating to forgo personal success for the greater good, I'm proud to call him a friend and former teammate. I wish him God's blessing and much happiness in wherever life takes him from here, he's certainly earned it."
Mike Timlin: "Tek was a rare player. His first care was that his teammates succeeded even before himself. I have never seen a player so prepared for every game, even if he wasn't playing. I learned a lot from him just by watching. I am glad to have been his teammate. Thanks for all you have done for the game Tek."
Johnny Damon: "He's a true professional and was always the most prepared. He taught me how to be a leader and showed me how to be a champion. He should be a Red Sox Hall of Famer and it was a honor and a pleasure to have been his teammate and a huge fan of his since our high school days in Central Florida. I wish him all the best in the future."
Mike Lowell: "Tek was hands down one of the best teammates I ever had. I have never come across someone who would prepare for the game more thoroughly than him. His dedication to his craft, and work ethic, were always qualities that I admired, and he was a true captain in every sense of the word. I wish him nothing but the best"
Jonathan Papelbon: "Congrats on a Hall of Fame career. I will always cherish our championship memories together. He showed me how to be a Major League Baseball player with honesty, hard work and integrity without ever having to say one word and I am forever thankful for having him as a captain and teammate."
Bill Mueller: "Jason is the consummate professional and teammate, he never waivers on who he is. He was a selfless leader and example for the entire team. He always cared about all 25 guys in the clubhouse and should serve as a role model for all baseball players present and future."
John Valentin: "Jason is a perfect example of what I think Red Sox baseball is all about: tough, gritty, passionate and most importantly, loyal. He has had an incredible run and was one of the biggest reasons why the Red Sox raised the Championship flags in '04 and '07. I can't wait until he joins us in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, it will be a well-deserved honor. He was a great teammate, a great friend and a great professional. He should hold his head high and be proud of what he accomplished. Proud like the organization he spent 15 years with, proud like his teammates, and of course, proud like the greatest fans in all of baseball, Red Sox Nation! Congratulations Tek on a special career!"
Mo Vaughn: "He made himself with hard work into greatness. Fitting he led the Sox to two World Series championships. Couldn't have happened to a better man."
Hideo Nomo: "I have great respect for Jason's 15-year career. I want to thank him for the great memories during my time with the Red Sox. I hope to see him pass down his wealth of knowledge to the younger generation."
Derek Lowe: "He's one of the hardest workers that I've ever seen at that position, as far as studying every day and taking pride in what he did. You look back and marvel at playing that position that many years and to see the stuff that he was able to see from his eyes. He should be proud of what he's been able to accomplish."
Clay Buchholz: "With Tek, we always saw a guy that was really intense on the field and baseball is his passion. He was always thinking about the little things. He caught me in my first two full seasons and he was a guy that was an awesome resource for anybody to go to if they needed help in any aspect of the game. I'll be forever in debt to him for that, I had a great time playing with him."
Jon Lester: "It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to put this uniform on with him all these years. Congratulations Tek on a great career and congratulations on a well-deserved retirement."
Jimy Williams: "I think he was born to be a catcher. I was with him when he was a rookie, I remember seeing his first major league hit. To me, he was an over-achiever, but had a great work ethic and leadership qualities. He was always goal-oriented in achieving the best. He is an outstanding person and outstanding teammate. Definitely the type of player to win championships with. Bottom line he's a baseball player."
Terry Francona: "Tek was the captain seven out of my eight years with the Red Sox. The 'C' on his chest was just a formality, he was the leader of the team with or without it. I could say a lot of things about Tek, but the most important thing was he kept everyone going in the right direction."
Dan Duquette: "Jason was a rock during his Red Sox career and a rare leader who delivered in the most important games. He knew how to get the most out of all pitchers by giving his own best effort everyday."
Jorge Posada: "Jason was one of those players that made the rivalry between our two teams so special. He was the type of competitor that brought out the best in everyone who was on the field with him, whether you were playing with him or against him. He should be very proud of the way he represented the Red Sox organization throughout the years. He played the game with passion and dignity, and regardless of the color of his uniform I will always have a great deal of respect for the way he went about his business, day after day, and year after year."
Derek Jeter: "I've always admired the way Jason played the game, and I appreciated the opportunity I had to get to know him throughout the years. He was a big part of the reason they had so much success as a team. Jason had a career that should be celebrated and I'm happy for him."