{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"content":["world_series" ] }

Heart of the Order: Jason Varitek

Heart of the Order: Jason Varitek

|
When you mention the word "leader" in baseball circles, the image of Jason Varitek probably comes to mind first in the minds of many. For Varitek has been the heart and soul -- not to mention the blood and guts -- of the Red Sox since the 1999 season, when he first became entrenched as the starting catcher.

Since that 1999 season, the Red Sox are 14-3 in potential elimination games, and it isn't a reach to point to Varitek's leadership and refusal to panic as a reason for that impressive mark. In 2005, Varitek officially got a title for his leadership when the Red Sox named him the first club captain since 1989.

High school and college students probably don't use as many loose-leaf binders as Varitek, who is a picture in preparation. Varitek doesn't just study scouting reports -- he breaks them down and dissects them. Varitek understatedly refers to himself as a "guide" to his pitchers, but he'd get a big argument from the men who actually do the throwing to him. Varitek is considered a rock to his pitchers, and their trust in him is implicit.

Heart of the Order
With the World Series approaching, MLB.com explores the people behind the numbers on the AL champion Red Sox.

C: J. Varitek
1B: K. Youkilis
2B: D. Pedroia
SS: J. Lugo
3B: M. Lowell
LF: M. Ramirez
CF: J. Ellsbury
RF: J. Drew
DH: D. Ortiz
SP: J. Beckett
SP: C. Schilling
CL: J. Papelbon

When Josh Beckett arrived at Spring Training this season, coming off a disappointing 2006, he was asked if there was a lesson he learned that he could convey to the newcomer of this year, Daisuke Mastuzaka. "If I could tell Matsuzaka anything, it would be, 'Trust 'Tek.' That was something, coming in, I just wanted to get along with everybody. You're the new guy. You still have your way of doing things. I've never seen anyone prepare like him. I think if I would have changed one thing about last year, it would have been to just come in and trust him."

All that trust later, Beckett had a dominant regular season, winning 20 games, and his brilliant postseason work has fueled the Red Sox to the World Series. It further exemplifies the type of things that can happen when pitchers put their faith in their so-called "guide."

Of course, as with any leader, there is more to Varitek than what takes place on the field. Along with wife Karen, Varitek has become a fixture in community endeavors. This season, he hosted the second annual Jason Varitek Celebrity Putt-Putt Tournament, with proceeds going to Boston Children's Hospital. For the last four years, Varitek has run a "Tek's 33" program, in which kids from Children's Hospital come to Fenway Park and meet Varitek, while enjoying batting practice and watching a game.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["world_series" ] }
{"content":["world_series" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español