Two notable Red Sox pitchers from the recent past called it a career this past week: Josh Beckett and Ryan Dempster.
They weren't teammates on the Red Sox, but they briefly played together on the Florida Marlins in 2001 and 2002. Both had terrific careers, but while neither will be going to the Hall of Fame, both retire as World Series champions with the Red Sox. (And Beckett won another ring with the Marlins in 2003.)
Beckett left the Sox in 2012 in the much-heralded trade with the Dodgers, that also sent Adrian Gonzalez and Carl (I Can't Shut Up About How Much I Hate Boston) Crawford. His time had clearly ended in Boston, and a divorce was the best things at the time for all concerned.
Way too much was made of that "Beer and Chicken" nonsense of 2011, but Beckett does deserve much of the blame for the Sox not making the playoffs that year. He and Jon Lester had miserable months of September, and it cost the team dearly. They were supposed to lead the Sox into the postseason, and their failures killed the season.
But that's not what most fans should remember about Beckett. Every fan should always keep in mind that he was the main reason the Red Sox won a second World Series in the 21st century, as he simply stellar. He went 4-0 in that postseason, including being MVP of the ALCS, winning Game 5 that sent the series back to Boston. This coming off a 20-win season that year.
Yeah, the way Beckett left Boston may still be fresh in many fans minds, but when all is said and done, Beckett brought a title to Boston. And that should never be forgotten, and won't be. I'm sure he'll be warmly received when the Sox have a 10th anniversary remembrance of the 2007 Champions in 2017.
Dempster was brought in as a free agent in 2013, and not many people were jumping for joy when the Red Sox signed him. His numbers weren't anything to get excited about (8-9 with a 4.57 ERA), but he became a valuable guy in the clubhouse who ate up innings on the team that shocked the baseball world and won the 2013 World Series.
And fans will never forget the statement he made against one Alex Rodriguez on a Sunday night that August.
Dempster also walked away from the second year of his two-year, $28 million deal with the Sox after the World Series to be with his family. Not every player can walk away from $14 million. He did some work on the MLB Network, and did not officially retire until this week.
I wish both Josh Beckett and Ryan Dempster all the best in their retirements, and thank them both for the great memories they leave Red Sox fans. They retire champions, from two championship Sox teams.