BOSTON Trot Nixon, the original dirt dog, was back at Fenway Park Monday afternoon as part of the Red Sox season-long celebration of Fenways 100th anniversary.
Nixon, who was there to recognize his walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS off the As Rich Harden, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz.
Great to be back, he said. A lot of emotions.
The emotions of that walk-off win quickly turned in the ALCS when the Sox lost in heart-breaking fashion to the Yankees.
A lot of memories, Nixon said. The biggest thing was winning that championship in 2004. I had plenty of time to be around fans in this area that felt like the organization was cursed and theyre never going to win a championship and to be able to come up out of those ashes and be able to win was awesome.
Nixon, the Sox No. 1 pick (seventh overall) in 1993 who turned 38 in April, hasnt played since 2008, 11 games with the Mets and their Triple-A team. His last big league game was June 28 that season, against the Yankees, when he went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter.
These days hes staying close to home in North Carolina where he can coach his sons 11-year-old Chase and 7-year-old Luke. When they get a little older, hed like to think of a job in baseball.
There are plans to possibly bring a minor league team to his hometown of Wilmington, NC, and hed like to be a part of that. He has stayed involved with the Indians organization, where he played 99 games in 2007. He hasnt talked to the Sox about a job within the organization.
I havent pushed that envelope really. I think the biggest reason is I want to be where my boys are, he said.
It was good to see Johnny Pesky, who will be 93 in September, at Fenway on Monday, Nixon said.
It was great seeing him, Nixon said. When you think of Fenway you think of a lot of things. You think of the Pesky Pole. You think of Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams, all those guys. So it meant a lot to me that he was able to be there.
He talked to his former teammate from the 2004 World Series team, Manny Ramirez, recently. Nixon said the thing most people didnt realize about Ramirez, who is in the minors working his way up to the As after serving his second suspension for violating baseballs PED policy, was how hard he worked.
Nixon, though, is content with where he is now.