FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Jason Varitek, a three-time All-Star, retired as the all-time Sox leader in games caught with 1,488, passing Carlton Fisks 990 in 2006. He caught a major league-record four no-hitters one each by Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. He was the first Sox catcher to win a Silver Slugger, in 2005 when he also won his only Gold Glove Award.
One of the enduring images of his career, however, will be the face-mashing he gave Alex Rodriguez on July 24, 2004.
I was just being a teammate, Varitek said. It wasn't something that you're proud of. We've been down this road talking with my kids. I was just being a teammate. Things were going on and being said to my teammate and it just happened to happen that way.
He no longer autographs pictures of the incident.
It became ongoing as soon as the first day my oldest daughter Ally, now 12 . . . said, 'Oh, Daddy, look: It's the picture of you fighting again, he said. I was like, 'Maybe I shouldn't sign that.'
Varitek's father discussed the incident Thursday after the retirement announcement and had slightly stronger feelings than his son.
"I'm not a fan of that picture."