What it means to be a Red Sox Hall of Famer

May 30th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

For three players who were drafted and developed by the Red Sox -- and won at least one World Series title for Boston -- getting inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday night in a ceremony at Fenway Park was a magical way to extend their legacy.

This special trio of , and aptly expressed their appreciation for the moment, and for playing with each other.

With an assist from my co-worker Molly Burkhardt, who was at Fenway to cover the ceremony while I was finishing out the road trip in Baltimore, here are some emotions and insights from three players who resonated with the Boston fans throughout their career.

Pedroia, who spent his entire career (2006-19) with the Red Sox, winning World Series rings in ’07, ’13 and ’18
“I played with Pap in A-ball. And then when I got called up, Trot kind of helped me out. You learn from those guys and they teach you how to be professional. So it's pretty special to me, going in with Pap and Trot, two guys that I looked up to, obviously in height and just in everything, as teammates and as players.”

“Honestly. I think the cool thing about the ‘04 team is to pass the torch to the younger guys. And that's how you have a winning franchise and they kind of have a legacy here. And that's what Trot did, and all of those guys. If you look at the ‘04 team, they treated me like I was on the team [and I had] just got drafted. And that's why they were so special. That's why they won after 86 years, because they were just different. I think that carried over to the next generation of players that came up after them.”

Papelbon, who earned a club record of 219 of his 368 career saves while pitching for the Red Sox from 2005-11
“So my first reaction was, ‘Oh, that's awesome and great.’ It's like a culmination of your whole career kind of coming together. Then I asked, ‘Who else is going in with me?’ They said Trot and Dustin, and to me, that had a bigger effect on me than anything, getting to go in with these guys. Just because of the simple fact of: I viewed myself as an everyday player.”

“Theo [Epstein] wanted me to start, Tito [Francona] wanted me to start. I didn't want to start. For me to be able to get into 75-80 games a year, I was an everyday player as a pitcher, right? I don't think those guys came in the clubhouse a day with a clean jersey or a clean pair of pants. So to me going in with them, I was like, ‘Man, this is awesome.’ Because these two guys literally are dirt dogs and I viewed myself like that. And so to me, that was awesome.”

Nixon, a first-round Draft selection (No. 7 overall in 1993), played 982 games for Boston from ’96-2006, producing a sturdy .845 OPS
“I didn’t believe [vice president of alumni relations] Pam [Kenn]. I was like, “This is kind of a crazy joke.’ Obviously she’s not joking when she calls [to give me the news], but it’s kind of a little bit of a ridiculous response like, ‘Are you serious? There’s no way.’ I hold stuff like this to a very high standard. And this organization that’s been around as long as it has, I was a little dumbfounded. I was really taken aback and when I let it sink in.”

“I’m absolutely honored to be thought of in a way to be a Hall of Famer in an organization like this. I’m kind of a modest person, and when you say that kind of stuff, I’m like, ‘Am I worthy of it?’ Maybe it’s just the way I think. There’s a lot of people that are very worthy of it. I’m very, very thankful for it.”