Today the Red Sox will honor Mike Lowell as he plays the final games of his stellar 13-year career this weekend.
Lowell's been many things in his career. Four-time All-Star. Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Winner. Owner of three World Series rings. (Remember he played for the Yankees in September 1998?) World Series MVP.
He's been a cancer survivor. And also he's been the dictionary definition of a Major League baseball player. And he's played it with class and professionalism.
The Red Sox had to accept him as part of the Josh Beckett trade in November 2005. His career was reborn in Boston in 2006. He became a doubles machine in Fenway Park. Lowell was a huge part of the championship team of 2007, and after winning the MVP award in the World Series, he re-signed for three more years.
It's been a rough go the last two years for Lowell. He had to have hip surgery, and it made a mess of his last 1 1/2 years. The Sox wanted to trade him to Texas last winter, but a thumb injury killed the deal.
But no matter what life in and out of baseball threw at him, Lowell handled it with style. And now he walks away from the game he loves this weekend. He gave the fans one last thrill, back in August when he came off the disabled list and hit a home run in the first pitch he saw. As the fans gave him a nice ovation on his return, he returned the love.
I'm going to miss Mike Lowell, and the dignity he's brought to the game. I wish him and his family all the best on his retirement.
I end this post with a clip of Mike's introduction on Opening Night this year at Fenway, when the fans gave him a very warm welcome. I was there that night, and it made me proud to be a Red Sox fan.
Thanks for everything, Mike.