For the next few days, we'll be reminiscing on 2004, 2007, and 2013 Red Sox champions at each position and seeing how they stack up against their 2018 counterparts. Today, we begin the series at the catcher position. . .
Jason Varitek, 2004
Regular season: .296/.390/.482, 18 HR, 73 RBI
Playoffs: .245/.328/.472, 3 HR, 11 RBI
Year in summary: 2004 was quite an eventful year for Varitek. Not only did he have one of his best seasons at the plate, but it can be argued his brawl with Alex Rodriguez on July 24 sparked the torrid run the Red Sox went on in the second half of the season. Tek was a factor throughout the 2004 team's World Series run and went on to earn his captaincy in December.
Jason Varitek, 2007
Regular season: .255/.367/.421, 17 HR, 68 RBI
Playoffs: .269/.310/.423, 1 HR, 10 RBI
Year in summary: The captain enjoyed another solid season at the plate. Though, he wasn't there for his bat. He was there for his leadership and because there was nobody better at calling a game. This was evident on September 1 when he caught Clay Buchholz's no-hitter vs the Orioles in Buchholz's second MLB start. It was the third no-hitter Varitek caught in his career (Nomo, Lowe).
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 2013
Regular season: .273/.338/.466, 14 HR, 65 RBI
Playoffs: .188/.257/.219, 0 HR, 5 RBI
Year in summary: Saltalamacchia was a solid offensive contributor during the 2013 championship season. The same could not be said for the postseason. However, Salty came through when it mattered most. He hit with the walk-off single in Game 2 of the ALCS vs the Tigers. That game is remembered for David Ortiz's game-tying grand slam, but it was Saltalamacchia who finished things off.
Sandy Leon, 2018
Regular season (so far): .182/.240/.287, 5 HR, 21 RBI
Year in summary: Leon doesn't pose anything close to the same threat with the bat that Varitek and Saltalamacchia did. What makes Leon so valuable is the trust he has gained from the pitching staff. His presence seems to be a formula for victory as the Sox are 51-23 when he's behind the plate. Now, it's just a matter of carrying that success through the postseason.