March 1, 2012
ATLANTA – Jason Varitek, one of the all-time great Georgia Tech baseball players, will officially announce his retirement from baseball today. Captain of the Boston Red Sox for the last seven years, who caught more games than any other Red Sox in history, Varitek led Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
Varitek, 39, played four seasons at Georgia Tech (1991-94) and joins Mark Teixeira as the only two Yellow Jackets in history to win the Dick Howser Trophy, recognizing the top player in college baseball. Varitek led Tech to the College World Series championship game in 1994 – the first of three CWS appearances by the Yellow Jackets under head coach Danny Hall (2002 and 2006).
“Jason is one of the great players, not only to wear a Georgia Tech uniform, but to have played college baseball,” said Hall. “There’s not a better guy in the world. He’s one of the best guys that I’ve ever had a chance to coach. Jason is a tremendous ambassador for Georgia Tech baseball.”
Varitek, who was inducted into Georgia Tech’s Hall of Fame in 2004, also won the Golden Spikes Award in 1994, capping a senior season in which he hit .426 with 23 doubles, 17 home runs and 86 RBI. He played in a school-record 253 games, hitting .384 with school records in hits (351), runs (261), RBI (251), home runs (57), doubles (82) and total bases (610). Every record still stands.
“I sent him a text message to tell him that I was proud of his career and the way he’s conducted himself,” said Hall. “I certainly wish him well and I’ll be interested to see what he does next. He was absolutely a great college baseball player for Georgia Tech and one of my favorite guys ever to have coached.”
Varitek was drafted three times in his career – in the 24th round out of high school by Houston in 1990, in the first round (21st overall) by Minnesota as a junior at Tech in 1993, and again in the first round (14th overall) by Seattle the next year.
Varitek was dealt to the Red Sox on July 31, 1997, along with Derek Lowe in a trade with the Mariners for reliever Heathcliff Slocum. He made his first Major League start for the Red Sox on April 2, 1998, and would remain a fixture for 14 seasons.
In his major league career, which spanned 1,546 games, Varitek hit .256 with 193 homers and 757 RBI.
Varitek is the only player in the history of the sport to have played in the World Championship game of the Little League World Series, in the National Championship game of the College World Series, in the Major League World Series, in the Olympics and in the World Baseball Classic.