During the Red Sox’ 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, NESN color commentator Jerry Remy made an interesting comparison. He mentioned in passing that Cody Ross reminded him of former Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, but the action on the field steered the conversation in a different direction, and the point was never revisited.
Sox fans will fondly remember Nixon as a key component of Sox teams from the early 2000s and a charter member of the “Dirt Dog” club along with Sox legends Brian Daubach, Jason Varitek and others. Nixon had his share of big moments in Boston, perhaps none bigger than his two-run home run off of Roger Clemens and the New York Yankees in May of 2000, a shot that gave the Sox an early lead in the division and capped one of the best-pitched regular season games of the decade.
Though the importance of this moment has been lost in post-2004 World Series lore, it cannot be overstated how big of a game it was at the time; the Sox hated Clemens, the game was in the Bronx, Pedro Martinez was masterful and above all else the desperation of Sox fans to beat the Yankees—who had eliminated them from the playoffs a year earlier—had never been higher.
Though the victory didn’t ultimately propel the Sox to glory (they went 85-77 and missed the playoffs while the Yankees went on to win the World Series), it cemented Nixon’s place in the heart of Sox fans. When he returned to Fenway as a member of the Cleveland Indians in 2007, the ovation he received upon his first at-bat lasted nearly a full minute.
Could this be the direction we’re headed in with Cody Ross? Though he has only been in town for a couple weeks, fans have already taken a liking to the outfielder. He plays hard, delivers timely hits and always seems to have a filthy uniform. He even wears the same number (No. 7) as Nixon.
Although it’s still early, here’s five reasons to believe that Cody Ross will soon become the next Trot Nixon: