If Jason Varitek Won't Retire, Then It's Time to Retire the Boston Red Sox's "C"

David PuccioContributor IOctober 14, 2009

BOSTON - OCTOBER 06:  Jason Varitek #33 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates in the clubhouse after the Red Sox scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win Game Four of the American League Championship Series on October 6, 2008  at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Angels 3-2 to advance to the ALCS.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have had four team captains since 1923—Jimmie Foxx, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and the current captain, Jason Varitek. 

So many great players have played for the Red Sox throughout the years, so being named the captain is a prestigious honor. 

Prior to Varitek being named in 2005, the Red Sox hadn't played with a captain since
Rice retired in 1989. 

Varitek struggled heavily both offensively and defensively this season, so much so that he did not play an inning in the three-game playoff series against the Angels

There is a good chance that he will not retire this season, which means the Red Sox's most recent team captain will be playing for another team.  Not acceptable.

The Red Sox captain should be a player that plays his whole career on the team, as Rice and Yastrzemski did.  It should be a player that is so celebrated in his departure that his last game at Fenway should be a special day, as Yastremski's was. 

It should not be a player who fans question should be re-signed prior to his last season with his team.  It should not be a player who message boards crucify because of his anemic hitting statistics and inability to throw runners out. 

Varitek was a great player in his prime and arguably the second-best catcher in Red Sox history.  He was the unquestioned leader of a team that won two World Series titles, which is more than can be said for his three predecessors. 

The fans and his teammates loved and respected him and still do to this day.  As good as he was, there is a chance that he could only be a footnote in history, not a revered captain of the Red Sox.

I don't like the idea that the Red Sox captain is going to play for another team.  When the captainship is given, it can't be known whether that player will complete his career with that team. 

As a Red Sox fan, we could have given Nomar or Pedro the C over their heart, assuming that they would be there forever.  Things change fast, and those times seem like so long ago. 

I believe that since the Red Sox were willing to give the C to the leader of the team, then Varitek was the logical choice.  Any teammate or opposing player would say that he is the most deserving player in the clubhouse.  

I don't want to take away from the fact that Varitek was the captain because, under the current unwritten guidelines, he is very deserving.  I just don't want to see my team captain come to Fenway in a Rangers or Tigers uniform; I only want to see him in a Red Sox uniform. 

I have a great respect for Varitek and he is part of a very exclusive club.  As a player who helped tremendously in bringing the first championship to Boston in eighty-six years lets give Varitek one more deserving moniker to add to his resume: 

The last Red Sox captain.