They’re next to have their numbers retired
They’re next to have their numbers retired
Pedro Martinez is the latest Boston sports figure to have his number retired. But in a city that has dominated the sports scene for well over a decade, there's bound to be more local players being honored the same way in the future. So let's take a look at one certainty and one possibility from each team when it comes to future retired numbers.
RED SOX - SURE THING: David Ortiz, No. 34
There's some debate as to whether or not David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer. I think he is, and will be voted in when the time comes. There's NO debate as to him getting his number retired by the Red Sox. The guy has been a vital force in the middle of the Red Sox lineup for the the last 13 seasons. But here's all you need to know: Ortiz is the only player to have been on all three Red Six World Series champions in the 21st century, 2004; 2007; 2013. And he hasn't just been on those teams -- he's been The Man on those teams, saving some of his best performances for the postseason.
RED SOX - GOOD BET: Dustin Pedroia, No. 15
When it comes to the best second basemen in team history, Pedroia's name is right up there with Bobby Doer (whose number is retired). That in and of itself isn't enough to earn Pedroia an automatic spot along with the rest of the retired numbers, but the Laser Show does have some accolades to make a strong case. For one, he was a big part of two World Series teams (2007, 2013). He was the 2008 AL MVP and named to four All-Star games. Pedroia plays the game the right way, and that has turned him into a fan favorite here in Boston. If he plays out all or most of his current contract, it's hard to believe No. 15 won't be retired.
PATRIOTS - SURE THING: Tom Brady, No. 12
We're not going to spend much time on this one, because it's obvious that no player will ever wear No. 12 for the Patriots once Brady leaves town. Forget being the best quarterback in Patriots history; the guy is considered by many to be the best NFL quarterback of all-time, and he has four Super Bowl rings to back that up. He's got three Super Bowl MVP awards (2001, 2003, 2014) and two NFL MVP awards. He's earned 10 Pro Bowls berth, two first-team All-Pro spots, two NFL offensive Player of the Year awards . . . you get the idea. No quarterback has started more playoff games in the history of the NFL. Tom Brady is synonymous with winning.
PATRIOTS - GOOD BET: Adam Vinatieri, No. 4
It ended sooner than it could have for Vinatieri in New England, but he certainly left his mark. Who can forget those famous kicks in 2001 postseason? Or the game-winner in the 2003 Super Bowl? There’s lead in his foot and ice in his veins. By the time Vinatieri left for the Colts, he had kicked a whopping 18 game-winning field goals with less than a minute remaining, including the postseason. He's also arguably the best kicker in NFL history. It's no wonder the Pats haven't handed out the No. 4 to anybody on the team since Vinatieri left.
CELTICS - SURE THING: Paul Pierce, No. 34
Paul Pierce is this generation's version of Larry Bird, and if you don't understand that you just aren't young enough. It's certainly not a knock on Bird, who everybody would agree was the better player. But Pierce is a future Hall of Famer, and Celtics ownership can't wait to raise his number to the rafters. When Pierce was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, he was – on the franchise’s all-time lists -- third in games played (1,102), third in minutes played (40,360), second in points (24,021), third in field goals (7,882), first in 3-point field goals (1,823), first in free throws (7,979), seventh in total rebounds (6,651), fourth in assists (4,305), first in steals (1,583), and fourth in blocks (668). And he got his ring, too. Finding the next Pierce is going to be no easy task.
CELTICS - GOOD BET: Kevin Garnett, No. 5
The only thing working against Garnett is tenure. The always-entertaining, always-energetic, always-insane Garnett only played six seasons with the Celtics. But, boy, what a packed six seasons those were. To put it simply, Garnett made the Celtics winners again. This was a franchise that had had only one or two interesting from the late 1980s to his arrival in 2007. It had become an afterthought in the league and its own town, as the Patriots and Red Sox took off in the 21st century. But with Garnett on board, that all changed. The Celtics’ 2007-08 team was, historically, one of the best the NBA has ever seen, and Garnett was perhaps the biggest part of it. He made the Celtics lovable in Boston, and hateable around the league. There's not much more you can ask out of a guy. Let's be honest, KG is going up there. Ownership will have no problem raising his number to the rafters.
BRUINS - SURE THING: Patrice Bergeron, No. 37
When you think of the Bruins over the last decade, one player comes to mind before everybody else, and that's Bergeron. Here's a guy who came up in the organization as a kid, suffered a setback early in his career, and rebounded to be the most dependable two-way player on the team (and league) through the B's best seasons. Bergeron is a two-time Selke Trophy winner, and an instrumental part of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup team. He's the player that everybody on the team looked up to, and someday they'll all look up at his number in the rafters.
BRUINS - GOOD BET: Zdeno Chara, No. 33
If Chara does get his number retired, he can probably jump and hang it from the rafters himself. The 6-foot-9 defenseman has been the force at the blue line for the Bruins since he signed there before the 2006-07 season. A leader by actions over words, Chara has been named a Norris Trophy Finalist while on the Bruins for 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014. And like Bergeron, without him the Bruins don't win a Stanley Cup in 2011.
REVOLUTION - SURE THING: Taylor Twellman, No. 20
If the Revs are ever going to retire a number (do they do that in soccer?), Taylor Twellman should be first in line with his. No, Twellman could never get his team a championship -- something they still haven’t won -- but he did take them there four times during his nine-year career. What else was he during that nine-year span? Oh, just the best player in all of MLS. In fact, if not for head injuries that shortened his career, we could be talking about the best scorer in MLS history. Twellman was the youngest player to score 100 goals in MLS and he's the Revs all-time leading scorer. Honestly, what's the hold up?