MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Dustin Pedroia’s jersey likely will go unaltered in 2015.
While some have pointed to Pedroia as a candidate to become the next Boston Red Sox captain, the organization has yet to slap a ‘C’ on the second baseman’s chest in large part because it really isn’t necessary.
“It doesn’t require that letter on his chest to be the captain or the leader of our team — one of them,” manager John Farrell said during Friday’s Red Sox Town Hall event at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “I can say this, if you put a ‘C’ on Pedey’s jersey, he’s not going to change. He plays for the Red Sox, not the ‘C’ or the name that’s on the back.”
The Red Sox have gone without a captain since Jason Varitek retired following the 2011 season. It’s hardly unprecedented — most Major League Baseball teams refrain from handing out the title — yet the topic often emerges with regards to the Red Sox, mainly because Pedroia exemplifies the perfect leader.
The question was posed again Friday, with one fan at the Baseball Winter Weekend asking Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington point-blank when Boston is going to give Pedroia the “C.” Cherington, who also answered the question when Pedroia signed an eight-year contract extension in 2013, explained the club’s logic, which hasn’t changed much despite frequent outside pressure.
“‘Tek had sort of evolved into the captain of the team, and it made sense to memorialize that at the time that it happened. He was sort of obvious in that he was a catcher, he’s a leader,” Cherington said Friday. “When he retired, I think where we were at that time, we felt like the right thing to do was to ask 25 guys to lead and be captains and not just one, and Dustin certainly bought into that.
“To me, that’s sort of still where we are. But we know when we walk into the clubhouse that a lot of eyes are on him and we rely on him for a lot of leadership. David Ortiz is a huge part of it, too. What we need is 25 guys leading, not just one. That’s what’s led us to our best success.”
The Red Sox have endured two last-place finishes since Varitek hung up the spikes. They also won a World Series in 2013. It’s unlikely an extra letter on someone’s jersey would have changed anything, as Boston needs its entire roster to pull in the same direction.
Pedroia’s passion, work ethic and on-field success speaks for itself. No letter fully encapsulates his importance to the Red Sox or is essential to recognizing his impeccable leadership.
NESN will air coverage of the Baseball Winter Weekend on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NESN will air this year’s Red Sox Town Hall on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images