The Legend of Dustin Pedroia
2004 was a very special year for so many reasons. You think one thing when you hear “2004” as a Red Sox fan. We all know what happened that year. It was an emotional, crazy, fun ride that led a team full of idiots past the big bad New York Yankees and to their first World Series title since 1918. But something else historical also happened that year.
In the summer of 2004, a man by the name of Dustin Pedroia out of Arizona State was drafted by the Red Sox with the 65th overall pick. Nobody had an idea what the future would hold. At the time there was a #15 on the Red Sox that everyone loved (and still does)- Kevin Millar. Skip ahead two years to 2006 and you have this kid Pedroia securing #15 for himself.
Pedoria had a tough time during his first year playing in the majors, with a .191/.258/.303 slash line in 32 games. People were down on him. This guy was no good, right? He had no future with this team, right? This little guy. What did he have to offer? Nothing, I’m sure. Ha.
Have you ever heard of someone who had an awful season but an awesome one the next? If not, now you do. That’s because Dustin Pedroia did just that. His struggles in ’06 were a small sample size, anyway. He didn’t even play enough games for it to qualify as his rookie year. In Spring Training of 2007, Pedroia was competing for a job at second base with Alex Cora, who is coincidentally now the manager of the current Boston squad. Pedey won the job and started on the Opening Day roster in 2007. He struggled once again to begin the year, slashing .182/.308/.236/.544. So what would he do now? I’ll tell you what he did.
Rising up the Ranks
He posted a .415/.472/.600/1.072 line in May, remained hot for the rest of his rookie season and never looked back. He finished the year hitting .317/.380/.442, helped lead his team to a World Series championship, and was named Rookie of the Year. I’m pretty sure Pedroia has only flipped his bat on a home run once in his career, and it’s one of the best home runs in Red Sox history. It was Game 7 of the ALCS against Cleveland, a series that the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit. It was the 7th inning and the Sox were up 3-2 at that point. Pedroia came up with a man on and hammered a ball into the Monster seats and finished with a sweet bat flip. That made the game 5-2, and Boston eventually won it 11-2 on their way to the World Series title.
After a great 2007 season Pedroia had an even better one in ’08, hitting .326/.376/.493 and winning MVP. Boston came up short that year, losing to Tampa in seven games. However, Boston got their revenge in 2013, when they would beat the Rays in the ALDS in four games on the way to their third World Series championship win in the last nine years. Pedroia got his second ring.
O’ Captain My Captain
Pedey is the heart and soul of this Red Sox team no matter you believe it or not. He is the captain of the team and a leader. He leads by example of how you should play the game and how you can be a winning ballplayer. Pedroia is the kind of guy where when he starts talking, everyone shuts up and listens.
Pedroia eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. He would take a line shot in the face for this team. He’ll scoop any ground ball that comes his way and fire it over to first or flip it to second for a smooth double play. He’ll hit consistently every single year even as he gets older.
One of the problems with Pedroia throughout his whole career have been injuries. Do you want to know why he tends to get injured? Because he plays his ass off. He’ll do risky things for the sake of the team. For the sake of winning. Those things can cost you. But Pedey’s a tough guy.
Nowadays every player just wants money. They don’t care about being loyal like the old players used to. Players will go anywhere if they are offered big bucks. Guys will go from the Red Sox to the Yankees to get more money. They don’t care. But Pedroia? He’s the definition of loyal. In 2013, he took less money so he could stay with Boston, signing an 8 year, $110 million deal. This guy is a leader. He’s a winning player. Someone you can look up to.
Pedroia once said “People always ask me if I wish I were bigger. I tell them no. I always wanted to be a miniature badass.” He definitely is a miniature badass. A miniature badass for the Boston Red Sox, that is. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cover image courtesy of MassLive.com.
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