So it's fitting that Garciaparra, Martinez, Clemens and Castiglione were all inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park. They were honored during an on-field ceremony prior to the club's game against the Astros and each threw out a ceremonial first pitch.
"This is my second home," Garciaparra said. "That was one big reason I retired [as] a Red Sox. That meant the world to me. I always said that this was a uniform that I hoped was the only one I was going to wear. But I was glad it was the last one I wore, as well."
"I'm extremely humbled to have this honor," Martinez said. "And I'm extremely happy to get the chance to actually come to pretty much home and be recognized by my home people."
On Thursday afternoon, Clemens threw batting practice to two of his sons on the field at Fenway Park. Several hours later, Clemens and his fellow inductees came out from the Red Sox's dugout on a red carpet to receive their ceremonial plaques while the public address system broadcast interviews from them about the honor. Martinez threw his first pitch to David Ortiz; Clemens to fellow Texan Clay Buchholz; Garciaparra to Brock Holt and Castiglione to Jackie Bradley Jr.
Both Boston's and Houston's dugouts were full with players watching the ceremony from the top step, gazing at some of baseball's greats.
"When you think of the three players that are going in, kind of around the time that I was a peer, or they were peers of mine, and to see the numbers that they put up is impressive and to be inducted into a Hall of Fame into an organization with this history, I think, speaks volumes," manager John Farrell said. "Even in the game at the same time, you look at their accomplishments, some as a fan, and in many ways, they made it look awful easy when they were in their prime."
Started in 1995, the Red Sox Hall of Fame has inducted members every second year since 2000. A player must have been with the club for at least three years and out of a baseball uniform for at least three to be eligible. The team's Hall of Fame is made up of players, management, front-office personnel, managers, broadcasters and even a groundskeeper.
The class of 2014 -- outside of the Red Sox Hall's inaugural one in 1995, which featured Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Tom Yawkey, among others -- could be the most elite, despite being its smallest.
The Red Sox drafted Clemens in the first round of the 1983 First-Year Player Draft, and he didn't disappoint. The righty joined the club in '84 and spent 13 seasons in Boston, winning three American League Cy Young Awards and an AL MVP Award in '86.
Clemens says he identifies most with the Red Sox, and if elected and given the choice, he'd like to go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with a Boston cap on his plaque.
Clemens retired for the final time in 2007 and has been eligible for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame since '13. Perhaps in part because of his alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, Clemens has received less than 40 percent of the vote in each of the past two years -- far short of the 75 percent needed for induction. According to Fangraphs, Clemens has the most wins above replacement of any pitcher in Major League history with 139.5 and ranks third among any Boston player ever at 81 according to Baseball Reference, trailing only Williams and Yastrzemski.
Clemens' seven Cy Young Awards are the most all-time, and his 4,672 strikeouts are third in baseball history.
Clemens said he doesn't worry about being elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in the Hall of Fame and knows what he can and can't control. It won't change him as a person, he said.
"It's something that you have no control over. I did it to the best of my ability and I did it the right way. I can't control what other people think," Clemens said. "Regardless, today's not going to change me as a person, that's not going to change me as a person -- how I live my life. I'm going to enjoy today and give thanks to the people that I know were the reason to my path to come through Boston."
Martinez and Garciaparra will both be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. The right-handed Dominican won two AL Cy Young Awards with Boston and went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP during his seven-year stint with the club. He's 16th among pitchers in WAR all-time at 87.1.
Garciaparra was worth 38.4 WAR over his seven full seasons with the Red Sox. The club traded him to the Cubs in 2004, just a few months before winning the World Series. Drafted by Boston in the first round in 1994, Garciaparra batted .323 with a .925 OPS with the club from 1997-2003.
Although Clemens didn't play much with either Garciaparra or Martinez -- the shortstop was a late season callup during Clemens' second 20-strikeout game in 1996 -- he's gotten to know both through various Red Sox functions. The three talked before meeting with the media Thursday, and Martinez even played reporter and asked Clemens a few questions. Garciaparra and Martinez greeted each other with a big hug upon arriving at Fenway Park.
"He was such a good teammate. A dear friend of mine," Garciaparra said with a smile. "I just saw him right before I got here and gave him a big ol' hug. It feels like nothing has changed. It feels like we're back playing again, we're in that locker room. That says a lot. That's what makes this so special for me."