In a bittersweet move, the Red Sox announced on Monday that second baseman Dustin Pedroia would be retiring from baseball. Pedroia is a three-time World Series champion and Red Sox icon, but injuries had allowed him to play in only nine games over the past three seasons. Despite the quiet end to his career, Pedroia should no doubt be enshrined in Cooperstown as a Hall of Fame second baseman.
After a brief 31 game stint with the Red Sox in 2006, Pedroia burst onto the national stage in 2007 with .317 average, 8 home runs and 50 RBIs at age 23. The campaign was good enough for him to win AL Rookie of the Year. To cap off his rookie campaign, he helped lead Boston to a World Series Championship. He hit .283 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs in the postseason. One of those home runs led off Game One of the World Series.
Pedroia followed up 2007 by winning the AL MVP in 2008. He hit .326 with an OPS of .869 while smashing 54 doubles and 17 home runs. In addition to his brilliance at the plate, Pedroia won the first of his four Gold Gloves in 2008. That season also began a run of three straight All-Star Game appearances for Pedroia; he would finish his career with four overall.
From 2007-2017, Pedroia only hit below .290 twice, one of which was .288 in an injury shortened 2010. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting two more times, 2011 and 2013.
His 2013 postseason was not as stellar as 2007, but his 5 RBI Division Series helped the Red Sox advance and his RBI double in the sixth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS was the first run the Red Sox scored in the series. The double helped jump start the Boston offense against a great Tigers pitching staff. The Red Sox went on to win their second championship of Pedroia’s career. He was also on the 2018 championship team, but did not play in the playoffs due to injury.
Pedroia’s numbers, both at the plate and in the field, make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. In addition to that, Pedroia’s toughness to play through injuries and his leadership of teammates will always be remembered. Aside from one regrettable incident in Baltimore in 2017 involving Manny Machado, Pedroia was always a player his teammates could look to for a quiet example of how to be a pro and deal with the pressures of being in Boston. He was not necessarily the same style or caliber of leader as David Ortiz, Jason Varitek or Chris Sale, but he could always be relied on to give everything he had on the field.
Dustin Pedroia will go down as one of the best second basemen in the history of the Red Sox and his run from 2007-17 showed him to consistently be one of the best in the game. In addition, his presence was felt throughout the sport. He has earned himself the right to one day be called a Hall of Famer.