BOSTON -- The original "dirt dog" was back at Fenway Park on Monday, as the Red Sox honored Trot Nixon prior to their game against the Tigers as part of the organization's "Memorable Moments Month."
While the former right fielder had more than one unforgettable moment with the Sox, the club recognized his walk-off homer in Game 3 of the 2003 American League Division Series against Oakland to stave off elimination in a series Boston came back to win.
Nixon threw out the ceremonial first pitch as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Nixon played 12 Major League seasons, including his first 10 in Boston.
"There's a lot of emotions, a lot of great things that I was able to be a part of in this ballpark," he said. "The biggest one was I was spoiled by a tremendous fan base, and each time I come back up here it seems like I get more spoiled by them. A lot of memories."
Of course, nothing can top the memories from the 2004 World Series, when Nixon hit .357 in a four-game sweep of the Cardinals.
"I think the biggest thing in winning that world championship in 2004, I had plenty of time to be around fans in this area that felt like the organization was cursed, [saying], 'We're never going to win a championship,'" Nixon said. "And to be able to come out of those ashes and win something was awesome."
Former Red Sox great Johnny Pesky joined Nixon on the field in a pregame ceremony.
"It was great to see Pesky," Nixon said. "When you think of Fenway you think of Pesky's Pole and Ted Williams and all these guys. It meant a lot to me that he was able to be there."
Proudly wearing a Red Sox jersey, Nixon admits the transition from ballplayer to retirement wasn't easy.
"It took a little bit of time," said Nixon, who also works with prospects for the Indians. "It was difficult walking away from the game. I love competing, but more or less everything I've been able to learn in my career I'm trying to pass it on to some of these younger kids."
So what's next for one of Boston's most beloved players?
He's working on bringing a Minor League team to his hometown of Wilmington, N.C.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.