Four-and-a-half years after it was last worn by one of the most beloved players in Red Sox history, No. 5 is taken again. Forgive me if this makes me a little sad.
by Paul SF on January 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm in
General Red Sox · 33 comments
Just took a quick look at the Sox’s page on Baseball Reference. Nomar is on a few Top 10 offensive lists there. Not knowing much about their history, it seems he was the best offensive shortstop they’ve ever had. Or am I missing some obvious choice?
I think it’s a little sad as well, Paul. When I was just a wee high schooler I could never imagine Nomar on another team. And he looked to be Hall-bound. Ah well, just goes to show that the present can be an illusion of permanence, especially to an inexperienced youth like I was.
Nick-YF January 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm
i missed something. who got it?
sam-YF January 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm
Looks like Rocco Baldelli got Nomar’s number. Is that what you’re asking Sam? I think this is what the post is about.
Nick-YF January 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Yeah Rocco got it.
I think you’re right about Nomar, Nick, though Vern Stephens — who also wore No. 5, interestingly enough — also had some terrific years for those mid-40s Sox.
Here’s some Nomar appreciation:
In 2000, Nomar hit .372/.434/.599, good for a 155 OPS+, at the time the ninth-best since the live-ball era, and pushing his own 153 from the year before down to 13th place.
That season gave Nomar the third-highest batting average ever for a shortstop (and the highest since 1936, and since then only Derek Jeter in 2006 has come within 40 points of it), the ninth-highest OBP ever for a shortstop (he and Jeter the year before were the first to break .420 since Luke Appling in 1949) and the ninth-best slugging percentage ever for a shortstop (sixth at the time, but A-Rod topped it each of the next three seasons). The only names in the top 15: Hall of Famers Arky Vaughan and Ernie Banks, future HOFer Rodrigue, Rico Petrocelli in his crazy 1969 season, and Nomar. Banks, A-Rod and Nomar are the only ones in there twice.
In 2002, Nomar hit 56 doubles, which remains the all-time record for shortstops. He is also the only shortstop ever to hit 50 doubles in a season twice.
In 1999, Nomar became just the fourth shortstop to post a slugging percentage over .600.
Pnly two shortstops have ever topped Banks’ 143 OPS+ from ages 24-26: Alex Rodriguez (160) and Nomar Garciaparra (149). Nomar’s .350 batting average over those years is the highest ever, 13 points above Jeter’s .337. His .404 OBP over those ages is fourth-highest ever, behind Vaughan, Joe Sewell and Jeter. His .595 slugging is second only to A-Rod.
He was a heck of a player those three years. It’s a shame what happened afterward. Now that his number will be on someone else’s back, it seems like a good time to remember how much he gave us.
Paul SF January 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm
“…one of the most beloved players in Red Sox history…”
memory fading paul?…you guys ran him out of town with a giant good riddance…next thing you’ll be trying to convince us that manny is beloved…
dc January 8, 2009 at 10:01 pm
Nomar’s brusque exit does not negate how absolutely idolized he was by Sox fans throughout most of his Boston career, dc.
The antagonism is unnecessary.
SF January 8, 2009 at 10:03 pm
i dont mean to be antagonistic but dc has a point. Boston was certainly not idolizing him by the time he left. If the post is how beloved he was, its fair game to point this out as well…
sam-YF January 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm
Did the fans run him out of town? Honestly, I think there is a difference between management’s relationship with a player, the way the media represents a player and what fans feel about a player. I know quite a number of Sox fans who, even if they felt it was a necessary move at the time or even thought it was a brilliant one in retrospect, still admired Nomar and are thankful that he played as a Sock.
This isn’t exactly analogous but the Yankee fans I grew up with loved Dave Winfield and he was certainly not exactly treated well by Steinbrenner or loved by the media. I think there’s a narrative that has developed over the years about Winfield that somehow he wasn’t very liked by the fans. That wasn’t the case in my experience.
Nick-YF January 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm
this was my post of August 1st, 2004. It was Epstein who was the bigger target at the time, though Nomar’s star had begun to fade. He was simply not “run out of town” by the fans.
Well, everyone from Buster Olney to Jayson Stark to Dan Shaughnessy give the Sox and Epstein reasonably high, albeit qualified, praise for the Nomar trade. In heavy constrast, Red Sox Nation fans at SoSH shower him with (mostly) unqualified derision. Repeating what I said before, if you eliminate sentimentality from the equation, this deal seems like a potential improvement for the team, and a deal which addresses some of the Sox’ major shortcomings.
Adding sentimentality back in, the deal simply hurts. It is a killer seeing one’s hero (not mine) traded, seeing the guy who inspired the “xxxx’s better” cheer donning the uniform of a forlorn NL club. I understand how bad many Sox fans feel about this deal, but for all the sadness and anger emanating from the fan base there should be a recollection that we all complained when we A) didn’t move Mo Vaughn before he walked, B) didn’t move Clemens before he walked or re-sign him for that matter, and C) didn’t move any of Parish, Bird, McHale before they were unable to achieve the heights of previous years. It should be noted that Epstein can’t be faulted for taking a chance, for moving a player surely bound elsewhere after the season, for using a team’s best available bargaining chip to address glaring shortcomings. It’s just too bad that the best available chip was a fan favorite, one who was caught in the off-season crossfire of failed deals and hurt feelings.
Good luck, Nomar. We hope to see you in the Series, swinging away at first pitches and throwing on the run.
SF January 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm
dc, he was beloved and the fans didn’t run him out of town.
He pouted his way out of town. Remember the game in 04, Jeter dove into the stands while Nomie sat out.
That’s what got him traded.
I'mBillMcNeal January 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm
I will never, EVER for get that arm.
I'mBillMcNeal January 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm
It was only at the end, when it was clear that he was miserable, that the fans turned on Nomie. To that point, though, we loved him.
I'mBillMcNeal January 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm
Nick just about nails this.
1. Just because the media bashed on Nomar for most of 2004 doesn’t mean the fans felt as harshly.
2. Recognizing that the time has come to part ways, and that Nomar’s value lay more in what he could bring back in a trade, is not “(running) him out of town.”
2. The fact that he left on somewhat bad terms over the course of his final year in Boston does not negate the fact that from September 1996 through 2002 he was far and away the fan-favorite Red Sox.
The world is not black and white. A player can be among the best loved players in a team’s history before that relationship turns sour. And I think YFs — taking their cues (understandably) from the Boston media — tend to overstate the extent to which the relationship between Nomar and Sox fans soured.
It’s sad that Nomar may never have the chance to return to Fenway since the 2004 trade. The ovation he would receive would rival the one given to Pedro when he returned with the Mets in 2006.
Paul SF January 8, 2009 at 10:41 pm
Shifting to Baldelli, this quote from Epstein is very encouraging indeed:
But the re-diagnosis that Rocco referred to and this process of having expert specialist and continue to take tests and refine the diagnosis and refine the treatments that seemed to be working was important to us because it provided a real framework for optimism that there could be an increase in the amount that Rocco can contribute from last year for example. We certainly have a genuine basis for that optimism and can’t wait for the season to get started.
I thought the new diagnosis would price Baldelli out of the market for the Sox. A base salary of $500,000 is just incredibly low. Even $2.25 million for remaining on the active roster all season is just a great deal.
Paul SF January 8, 2009 at 11:05 pm
3. Comes after 2. :)
Not sure why my earlier comments never made it through, but any chance this management would bring No-mah back for 2009? He’d be available at a good price, could really help if Lowell or Papi aren’t back to full speed, and he still kills lefties (Sabathia, Kazmir, Price, Pettitte).
As for how he left, I like the Winfield comparison. As a kid, he was my second favorite player after Donnie B (but then those Yankee teams didn’t have much to root for).
Great, great deal for Rocco. I really wish the Yanks had been so smart.
Rob January 9, 2009 at 6:04 am
Maybe the Sox just had a box of these #5′s laying around, and figured if they didn’t have to spend the money, and he was willing to accept…why not?
I mean, everything else this year has been on the cheap, so why not Rocco’s jersey?
I kid, but I totally agree about Nomar being loved. I still have several Nomar shirts laying around.. Granted, most are a size small, and frequently used as garage rags, but they’re hill still yet.
Brad January 9, 2009 at 8:43 am
they’re here still yet.
Brad January 9, 2009 at 8:44 am
i didn’t actually accuse “fans” of running him out of town sf, but even you had to admit that it was time for him to go…some of you even said that trading him was the reason you won the world series in ’04…the sox were a better team without him, and not just because theo needed to upgrade the defense…theo needed to upgrade the attitude in the clubhouse as well…i’m not suggesting that you guys shouldn’t have fond memories of the good times with nomar, but balance that out with the disappointing finish to his red sox career…surely you remember the ugly way nomar departed the sox…there were a number of discussions questioning his heart, his commitment, his ability to tough out an injury, whether or not he was justified for not feeling “appreciated” enough:
…i’m not saying you or paul piled on because i can’t prove it, but it’s safe to say a lot of your comrades were happy to see him go after the famous pouting incident in a critical game against the yankees…i don’t think theo threw him a goodbye party either…to me this is the same as manny…it’s bittersweet because he meant so much to the fans during the good times, but wound up leaving on bad terms…that’s a bummer…as for winfield, his biggest downfall as a yankee was that he wasn’t reggie…steinbrenner reminded him of that constantly…you could say he was run out of town too…
dc January 9, 2009 at 8:54 am
Yeah, well Jeter is getting to the point where he’ll be run out of town. I wonder if he expects $20 million a year to cover one foot to his left and right until he decides to grace NYC with his retirement?
Dave SF January 9, 2009 at 9:17 am
but balance that out with the disappointing finish to his red sox career
Can you name the high-profile, impact, local hero players who finished their careers without moving on to another team, with the storybook dignity of Lou Gehrig or utter sadness of a homegrowner like Mike Schmidt? They are far-flung, rarities in this day and age.
Nomar’s exit from Boston wasn’t pretty, you don’t need to convince anyone of that, so this feels like you are just harping on that moment to make some sort of unknown and vague point about Boston, or Sox fans, or something I can’t figure out, and it feels on the nasty side. Recalling 2004 does absolutely nothing to negate how fondly people felt about Nomar when he was with the Red Sox, nor should it call into question the sincerity of our memories of how idolized Nomar was with the Sox.
SF January 9, 2009 at 9:17 am
I love the Rocco signing. I can see him taking the majority of CF starts from Ellsbury by June.
Smoltz seems like a good risk, if costly. Word was Atlanta wouldn’t go over $3 million and they know more about his health than anyone. Sheets at least got an arbitration offer.
Penny is going to be a disaster. The same money would have been better spent on signing Hoffman and moving Masterson to the rotation and with much better results. Why are they insisting on doing to Masterson what the previous administration did to Lowe?
Dave SF January 9, 2009 at 9:21 am
I’d love it if they let bygones be gone and signed Nomar for 2009. He could help. Too bad the pic above shows it will never happen.
While we’re on history, O.Cabrera would be a good addition too.
Speaking of which, what’s the bench right now besides Rocco?
Dave SF January 9, 2009 at 9:24 am
I like the Rocco signing too, but I can’t imagine counting on too many games from him, his track record of health (even with a correct diagnosis, supposedly at this point) should lower our expectations. He’s basically getting the minimum, shouldn’t that tell us something about the confidence in his ability to play a significant number of games (a la Coco last year), much less his ability to be a full-time player? If Rocco has 350 productive at-bats (and games in the field, accordingly), this will be a great signing. But I approach those expectations with sincere reservations.
SF January 9, 2009 at 9:33 am
I’m pretty sure that if the Red Sox signed Nomar to be the utility infielder, Baldelli would happily go with #55 or something else.
Only the most miserable, CHB-influenced fans were doing anything like running him out of town, and I suspect even they have mellowed since. On the day Johnny Pesky’s number was retired, one of the largest ovations was for when a videotaped message from Nomar appeared on screen.
Jason Seaver January 9, 2009 at 9:34 am
i was waiting for the obligatory jeter reference dave…thanks for not disappointing…you’ve probably noticed that jeter’s always “in season” around here…the difference between him and nomar may be that he has a lot of equity from his early success…nomar for all his personal success didn’t deliver a championship, still a sticking point for the other ss in the trinity, arod…unless you subscribe to the theory that nomar’s leaving brought a championship, then i guess you could say he contributed [not my theory by the way, sox fans say this]…or, it may be that jeter doesn’t have the same physche as nomar and will recognize when his value diminishes and his role needs to change, or that he needs to hang ‘em up altogether…won’t know until we get there…could be another bernie williams situation…
“…Can you name the high-profile, impact, local hero players who finished their careers without moving on to another team…”
free agency and a chance at one more big payday has all but assured that won’t happen much anymore sf, but remember, nomar was traded…big difference…i know the trade was made in part to upgrade the speed and defense, but it was also to purge a potential clubhouse cancer, just like manny…nomar could have had the chance to retire a sox, just like jeter, mo, and jorge will have that chance to retire as yankees…like nomar, it will largely be up to them…
and no, i wasn’t being nasty, but i may have pooped in the punchbowl…if you can compartmentalize the good times with nomar, that’s cool…i just choked on paul’s description of him as “…one of the most beloved players in Red Sox history…” given the last few months of his stay in boston…i guess he was beloved for most of that time…i’ll concede that…
dc January 9, 2009 at 10:04 am
“…Only the most miserable, CHB-influenced fans were doing anything like running him out of town…”
safe to say fan reaction was mixed jason…and not all were chb-influenced i suspect…i’ll reiterate again that i wasn’t referring to fans necessarily in my original comment…the FO decided it was time for nomar to take his pouting act on the road and executed a trade…i called it “running him out of town”…maybe not literally, but the result is the same…without taking an official scientific poll of fans, i would say that the sentiment with some of them that i’ve talked to, particularly at the time, when emotions were hightened, and not numbed by time as they may be now, said “good riddance”…for a number of others, like i said earlier, it was bittersweet…nomar was a great player and melancholy over a lost opportunity [nomar leading them to the promised land] is justified…winning in ’04 certainly tempered that melancholy, and cemented the rationalization of the trade…others simply compartmentalize…whatever gets you through the night as they say…
by the way, i like the rocco signing too sf…he may or may not play a lot, but that makes him ideal as the 4th of, and when he does play, you’ll like him…nice move by theo…
dc January 9, 2009 at 10:21 am
I’m going to break the string on the Baldelli love. He sports a career .325 OBP – strikes out A LOT and barely walks (career high of 30 BB in 518 AB). His power used to separate him, but I’m not convinced it’s back or will be over lots of playing time.
If they limit him to platoon duty with Ellsbury, he could be fine. Any more than that (like with the next Drew injury) will be a mistake.
Oh, and Penny is going to get moy-dured.
Cambridge YF January 9, 2009 at 11:00 am
as of this moment the bench looks like this
Bard (assuming Varitek returns)
TJ Sox Fan January 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm
Well said, SF, and you’re exactly right.
The media dogged him for years before he was dealt. And the fans stuck with him until The Game.
I have no idea what point you’re trying to make, dc, whether you’re just needling us or whether you really believe what you’re typing. But if you DO believe it, I will tell you again, in no uncertain terms, that you’re flat-out wrong.
I'mBillMcNeal January 9, 2009 at 1:57 pm
Dave, no way.
Nomar refused to play in 2004. Very reminiscent of what happened with Manny. Read Seth Mnookin’s book.
And given Nomie’s defense of Manny and the shots he took at the Boston FO after the Manny trade, he’s still bitter about it. Remember, he got pissed because the Red Sox were in talks to get ARod and never talked to him about it.
Nomie still claims great affection for us fans, but not Theo, et al.
I'mBillMcNeal January 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Dave, if Jeter were ever run out of NYC, I’ll eat my hat.
We might grow weary of his sacred cow status, but he strikes me as far too smart and savvy to do anything that would hamper his image to the point that the fans would turn on him.
I don’t mean this to be condescending, but he’s at least as image conscious as Jordan.
Nomar, he grew tried of the Boston media, felt jilted by the FO and of being loved to death by the fans. But the fans forgave his mercurial personality until he sat out that game against the Yankees. (The fans in Boston have always been suspicious of the media when the media isn’t adoring of their heros.) And I think the fans were quick to forgive Nomie again after the 2004 championship.
For better or worse, right or wrong, Nomar wasn’t nearly as concerned about his image as Jeter was/is.
I'mBillMcNeal January 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm
“…Can you name the high-profile, impact, local hero players who finished their careers without moving on to another team…”
reminds me of how special cal and gwynn were. now with this off seasons departures of lifers like smoltz, hoffman, and garret anderson, it makes me think we may not see another career like tony and cals. the market just doesn’t support it. i’m relatively certain jeter and mo will finish their careers as yankees, but they also had the advantage of playing for a deep pocketed team from draft to retirement. i still hold out hope for a guy like carl crawford, but think it’s less than likely.
sf rod January 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm
bill, you got me…partly i’m messing with you guys…since you said you’re not sure what point i’m trying to make, i’ll say it again: the sox FO HAD to move nomar after the pouting episode, just like they had to with manny…fans had mixed reactions to nomar at that point, just like manny…i don’t understand the need to deny that some fans and certainly the FO were pissed [and/or disappointed] at the guy, just like manny…time and winning have softened those feelings, just as they will with manny…you can continue to insist i’m wrong, but i will tell you “in no uncertain terms”, i am right on…
dc January 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm
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