Jonathan Papelbon is no longer a member of the Boston Red Sox.
When he walked off the mound that awful night in Baltimore, that was his last day pitching for Boston.
He signed a big mongo contract with the Phillies. Four years and $50 million.
I’m not saying the Red Sox should have matched that deal.
He will be 34 years old when it is over.
And most closers have about a 5 or 6 window of being really good. Papelbon has already had 6 solid years as a closer.
And cynically I can say “I’d rather have him breakdown on someone else’s dime.”
The Red Sox got his young energetic All Star closer days and the Phillies will pay for his expensive 30s.
Let’s celebrate Jonathan Papelbon.
He came up as an energetic spot starter down the stretch in 2005. It’s too bad Francona didn’t stick him into the closer role. The Red Sox needed a closer in that stretch run (Schilling and Timlin couldn’t cut it) and the Red Sox lost the Division by one game.
Keith Foulke broke down at the start of the 2006 season and Papelbon stepped in. The symbolism is wonderful in retrospect. Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon are the only two pitchers since 1918 to clinch a World Series for the Red Sox… and the baton was passed during that first series in ’06.
The Sox had a cool, cocky and arrogant closer. And we LOVED it!
He was fun.
He was silly.
He did the whole Riverdance routine.
He had Shipping Off To Boston as his theme song.
And more often than not, he shut down the opposition.
Three times his season ERA was sub 2.00.
In 2006, he finished with a 0.92 ERA. His strikeout per 9 innings regularly was in double digits. And in the 2005, 2007 and 2008 post season, he posted a 0.00 ERA.
And let’s never forget the wonderful party that was the clinching Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS. The Red Sox clinched the 2004 AL Pennant and World Series on the road. But in ’07, they had their pennant celebration at Fenway. And while the final score was lopsided, he faced the tying run at the plate in the 8th inning. He got out of it before Pedroia and Youkilis put the game out of reach in the bottom of the 8th.
And NEVER forget that he struck out Seth Smith and gave Red Sox fans a second World Series title to savor.
Never forget he came out in the 7th inning of the great comeback of Game 5, 2008 ALCS and threw 2 key shutout innings to let the Sox avoid elimination.
And never forget that when Lester, Lackey and Beckett were bombing, Papelbon was accountable to the media and gave his all, even after he lost the final game.
And never forget that he was fun.
Red Sox fan got a lot of great memories courtesy of Papelbon, including a World Series clincher.
So wish him well, Red Sox fans.
Say thank you for the memories.
And one more time, for old time sake… Let’s Ship Out To Boston.