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What they’re saying about (and to) Jason Varitek

03.02.12 at 12:13 am ET

Thanks to the crack Red Sox media relations staff (and an additional hat tip to the Brownie Points blog), here are some of the best wishes sent Jason Varitek’s way on the day he retired:

‘€œTek epitomizes what a true professional should be. He’€™s been a great teammate, but more importantly he’€™s been a better friend. The way he prepared and led the Boston Red Sox over the last 15 years has been an inspiration to all who have watched.  Although his leadership will be missed, his legacy in Red Sox history will be forged forever. It has been a true honor to have played with him for this long and I wish him nothing but the best as he starts a new chapter in his life. Congratulations Tek on an unbelievable career. I’€™m glad we’€™ve been able to share a lot of great memories together.’€ ‘€” ‘€“ Tim Wakefield, Red Sox teammate from 1997-2011

‘€œEver since I’€™ve known him, dating back to being his teammate in college, he has been a tireless worker. His preparation and endless work ethic has made him a true champion. He is a great player, great teammate, great friend and even a better man. Thanks Tek for all you have taught me.’€ ‘€“ Nomar Garciaparra, Red Sox teammate from 1997-2004, Georgia Tech teammate from 1992-94, current ESPN analyst

‘€œIt’€™s tough to see Tek go. He was a class act in the clubhouse, a leader on that team. He epitomizes what a captain is all about. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to play with him, I never saw someone worked harder. We all loved him, he was a quiet leader, but when something needed to be said he said it.’€ ‘€“ Trot Nixon, Red Sox teammate from 1998-2006.

‘€œI want to congratulate Jason Varitek, a.k.a ‘€œJohnny Unitas fl at-top hair cut’€ on a remarkable career and mostly for being part of the fi rst World Series in 2004 with Sox Nation. It seems like yesterday we were in our hotel rooms on the road hitting with a pizza box going over our stances in our underwear during our struggles offensively. But above all, he’€™s a true professional, a true teammate and, best yet, an even better person. I wish him much success in the up and coming real world and we’€™ll see you soon with powder and an ear piece on TV.’€ ‘€“ Kevin Millar, Red Sox teammate from 2003-05, current MLB Network analyst.

‘€œIn my 23 years of professional baseball I never played with or against a more selfless and prepared player than Jason Varitek. The ultimate team player, never hesitating to forgo personal success for the greater good, I’€™m proud to call him a friend and former teammate. I wish him God’€™s blessing and much happiness in wherever life takes him from here, he’€™s certainly earned it.’€ ‘€“ Curt Schilling, Red Sox teammate from 2004-07, current ESPN analyst.

‘€œTek was a rare player. His first care was that his teammates succeeded even before himself. I have never seen a player so prepared for every game, even if he wasn’€™t playing. I learned a lot from him just by watching. I am glad to have been his teammate. Thanks for all you have done for the game Tek.’€ ‘€“ Mike Timlin, Red Sox teammate from 2003-08

‘€œHe’€™s a true professional and was always the most prepared. He taught me how to be a leader and showed me how to be a champion. He should be a Red Sox Hall of Famer and it was a honor and a pleasure to have been his teammate and a huge fan of his since our high school days in Central Florida. I wish him all the best in the future.’€ ‘€“ Johnny Damon, Red Sox teammate from 2002-05.

‘€œTek was hands down one of the best teammates I ever had. I have never come across someone who would prepare for the game more thoroughly than him. His dedication to his craft, and work ethic, were always qualities that I admired, and he was a true captain in every sense of the word. I wish him nothing but the best’€ ‘€“ Mike Lowell, Red Sox teammate from 2006-10.

‘€œCongrats on a Hall of Fame career. I will always cherish our championship memories together. He showed me how to be a Major League Baseball player with honesty, hard work and integrity without ever having to say one word and I am forever thankful for having him as a captain and teammate.’€ ‘€“ Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox teammate from 2005-11, current Phillies pitcher

‘€œJason is the consummate professional and teammate, he never waivers on who he is. He was a selfless leader and example for the entire team. He always cared about all 25 guys in the clubhouse and should serve as a role model for all baseball players present  and future.’€ ‘€“ Bill Mueller, Red Sox teammate from 2003-05.

‘€œJason is a perfect example of what I think Red Sox baseball is all about: tough, gritty, passionate and most importantly, loyal. He has had an incredible run and was one of the biggest reasons why the Red Sox raised the Championship fl ags in ‘€™04 and ‘€™07. I can’€™t wait until he joins us in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, it will be a well deserved honor. He was a great teammate, a great friend, and a great professional. He should hold his head high and be proud of what he accomplished. Proud like the organization he spent 15 years with, proud like his teammates, and of course, proud like the greatest fans in all of baseball, Red Sox Nation! Congratulations Tek on a special career!’€ ‘€“ John Valentin, Red Sox teammate from 1997-2001.

‘€œHe made himself with hard work into greatness. Fitting he led the Sox to two World Series championships. Couldn’€™t have happened to a better man.’€ ‘€“ Mo Vaughn, Red Sox teammate from 1997-98.

‘€œI have great respect for Jason’€™s 15-year career. I want to thank him for the great memories during my time with the Red Sox. I hope to see him pass down his wealth of knowledge to the younger generation.’€ ‘€“ Hideo Nomo, Red Sox teammate in 2001, threw no-hitter to Varitek on 4/4/01

‘€œHe’€™s one of the hardest workers that I’€™ve ever seen at that position, as far as studying every day and taking pride in what he did. You look back and marvel at playing that position that many years and to see the stuff that he was able to see from his eyes. He should be proud of what he’€™s been able to accomplish.’€ ‘€“ Derek Lowe, Red Sox teammate from 1997-2004, threw no-hitter to Varitek on 4/27/02, current Indians pitcher.

‘€œWith Tek, we always saw a guy that was really intense on the fi eld and baseball is his passion. He was always thinking about the little things. He caught me in my fi rst two full seasons and he was a guy that was an awesome resource for anybody to go to if they needed help in any aspect of the game. I’€™ll be forever in debt to him for that, I had a great time playing with him.’€ ‘€“ Clay Buchholz, Red Sox teammate from 2007-11, threw no-hitter to Varitek on 9/1/07.

‘€œIt was a pleasure and an honor to be able to put this uniform on with him all these years. Congratulations Tek on a great career and congratulations on a well-deserved retirement.’€ ‘€“ Jon Lester, Red Sox teammate from 2006-11, threw no-hitter to Varitek on 5/19/08.

‘€Congratulations to Jason Varitek on an outstanding career. As a former captain of the Red Sox, I can appreciate the way he approached the game. His leadership set a fi ne example for his teammates and the Red Sox organization.’€ ‘€“  Carl Yastrzemski, Hall of Fame outfi elder, Red Sox Hall of Famer, played entire 23-year career with Boston from 1961-1983

‘€Jason Varitek will always have a prominent place in Red Sox history. He caught more games as a Red Sox and helped the team win their fi rst World Series in 86 years. I am happy for him and proud of his accomplishments. Congratulations Jason!’€ ‘€“ Carlton Fisk, Hall of Fame catcher, Red Sox Hall of Famer, played with Boston from 1969-1980.

‘€I think he was born to be a catcher. I was with him when he was a rookie, I remember seeing his fi rst Major League hit. To me, he was an over-achiever, but had a great work ethic and leadership qualities. He was always goal oriented in achieveing the best. He is an outstanding person and outstanding teammate. Definitely the type of player to win championships with. Bottom line he’€™s a baseball player.’€ ‘€“ Jimy Williams, Red Sox Manager from 1997-2001.

‘€Tek was the captain seven out of my eight years with the Red Sox. The ‘€œC’€ on his chest was just a formality, he was the leader of the team with or without it. I could say a lot of things about Tek, but the most important thing was he kept everyone going in the right direction.’€ ‘€“ Terry Francona, Red Sox Manager from 2004-11, current ESPN analyst.

‘€Jason was a rock during his Red Sox career and a rare leader who delivered in the most important games. He knew how to get the most out of all pitchers by giving his own best effort everyday.’€ ‘€“ Dan Duquette, Red Sox GM from 1994-2001, current Orioles EVP of Baseball Operations.

‘€Jason Varitek has been the rock of the Red Sox for nearly a decade and a half. He was always prepared for each game and every situation and guided many diverse pitching talents and personalities to success while taking no personal credit. His future Red Sox Hall of Fame plaque will highlight the record four no-hitters he caught and his critical role in two World Championships as well as the quality of his character which made him such a strong leader and captain. I am thankful for his friendship and appreciative of how he gave his body and his heart to Red Sox Nation.’€ ‘€“ Joe Castiglione, Red Sox Radio broadcaster from 1983-present

‘€Jason was one of those players that made the rivalry between our two teams so special. He was the type of competitor that brought out the best in everyone who was on the fi eld with him, whether you were playing with him or against him. He should be very proud of the way he represented the Red Sox organization throughout the years. He played the game with passion and dignity, and regardless of the color of his uniform I will always have a great deal of respect for the way he went about his business, day after day, and year after year.’€ ‘€“ Jorge Posada, Yankees catcher from 1996-2011.

‘€I’€™ve always admired the way Jason played the game, and I appreciated the opportunity I had to get to know him throughout the years. He was a big part of the reason they had so much success as a team. Jason had a career that should be celebrated and I’€™m happy for him.’€ ‘€“ Derek Jeter, Yankees shortstop from 1995-present, Yankees captain since 2003.

‘€Jason is one of the greatest players, not only to wear a Georgia Tech uniform, but to have played college baseball. There’€™s not a better guy in the world. He’€™s one of the best guys that I’€™ve ever had a chance to coach. I certainly wish him well and I’€™ll be interested to see what he does next.’€ ‘€“ Danny Hall, Georgia Tech Head Baseball Coach from 1994-present.

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