Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox reacts to fan applause as he leaves the field for a replacement in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jason Varitek Officially Announces Retirement

Jason Varitek, after considering playing in 2012 for a team other than the only one he's known, has decided to retire instead.

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7 Total Updates since February 27, 2012
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Over The Monster: Jason Varitek's Emotional Farewell

You might not care a whit about Jason Varitek. You're only reading this because you accidentally clicked on a link on the sidebar of one of your favorite team blogs. Sorry about that.

But you can still relate to the Jason Varitek retirement, even if only through the perspective of your own team. Every team has a player like Varitek, whose popularity and synonymity with the franchise transcends WAR totals. Whether that player is Pat Burrell or Frank White, every team has a player who isn't going into the Hall of Fame, but will always be a local legend.

Varitek's one of those guys for Red Sox fans. And over at Over the Monster, Matthew Kory puts his sentiments into words:

So why am I writing about Jason Varitek's retirement announcement? Because I didn't expect to feel anything watching it...

... it was a strange sight to see the big man standing in front of his peers trying to hold back. I hadn't expected to feel anything at that point. Players move on all the time in baseball. They're there one year and gone the next. It's part of being a fan. But Varitek was different. I know because as he got choked up, I felt a lump in my throat.

Maybe your player is Dave Stieb or Ron Cey. Figuring out who your team's comp is for Varitek in the warm-fuzzy department will help you understand what Red Sox fans are feeling right now.

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Jason Varitek Announces Retirement At JetBlue Park

What was already known now is official: Jason Varitek has retired from professional baseball after spending a decade and a half with the Boston Red Sox.

Varitek announced his retirement Thursday from JetBlue Park, home of the Red Sox during spring training. You can watch video here, from ESPN Boston. Said Varitek:

"My decision to retire wasn't something that I took lightly [...] This has probably been the most difficult decision that I've had to make in my career. But the opportunity to be able to start and finish my Major League career in one place is why I'm standing here today."

The Red Sox offered the 39-year-old a minor-league contract with a spring training invite, but Varitek turned it down and opted to hang up his spikes. He intends now to spend a lot more time with his family, which is what they always say. And presumably they always mean it. Baseball players do not get to spend all that much time with their families. Nobody's ever thrilled about having to retire, but there's no denying the benefits.

Varitek joined the Red Sox in 1997 and established himself as team captain. He played in three All-Star Games, he caught four no-hitters, he won two World Series, and he drilled 204 home runs if you count the playoffs. He ranks No. 30 in baseball history in games played as a catcher, between Darrell Porter and Rollie Hemsley. Safe to say Jason Varitek accomplished more than most.

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Why Red Sox Might Miss Jason Varitek's Defense

Jason Varitek has retired, but recent advances in measuring catchers' defense suggest he was a valuable player to the end.

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The Jason Varitek The Mariners Dealt

Jason Varitek wound up with the Red Sox after coming over from the Mariners in a famously one-sided trade. Let us now travel back in time.

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Longtime Red Sox Catcher Jason Varitek Will Retire

Jason Varitek came to the Boston Red Sox along with Derek Lowe in one of the most lopsided deals in recent major league history, on July 31, 1997, in exchange for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.

Who? Exactly. Slocumb had been a decent closer in Boston, but was a poor performer in Seattle.

Meanwhile, Lowe and Varitek would be centerpieces of the team that eventually broke Boston’s World Series drought in 2004; Varitek was the starting catcher for the Red Sox’ second World Series title team in 2007.

Via Pete Abraham, we learn that Varitek will soon announce his retirement:

Jason Varitek, a two-time World Series champion and the captain of the Red Sox from 1997-2011, will announce his retirement on Thursday in Fort Myers sources told the Globe today.

Varitek is expected to stay with the organization in some capacity.

Varitek hit .256/.341/.435 over a 15-year career with the Red Sox with 193 home runs. According to Abraham:

Only Carl Yastrzemski (23 seasons), Ted Williams (19) and Jim Rice (16) had longer tenures with the Red Sox without playing for another team.
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Jason Varitek's Legacy (Or Not)

Free agent Jason Varitek remains unsigned and the Red Sox have two catchers ahead of him. Will Varitek, almost 40, continue his career with another club? Should he?

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The End Of The Jason Varitek Era, And The Trade That Got Him To Boston In The First Place

Jason Varitek is a free agent after 15 years in Boston, and he likely isn't coming back. This means it's a good time to remember how absurd it was that he was in Boston at all.

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