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Jason Varitek Retires: Former Red Sox Captain Thanks Owners, Former Teammates, Coaches, Many Others

Jason Varitek's retirement announcement began a little after 5:30 p.m. at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday.

Here's Varitek's statement:

I just want to start off by thanking ownership, thank you Ben [Cherington], thank you everybody for being here. I'd hoped to single out and be able to say thank you individually to each one of my teammates, but it kinda looks like there's a little bit more than I expected, but you have no idea what this means.

Going into this, your last week, this last week leading up to this was probably one of the hardest weeks that you go through as a player. And, to have you guys here, I really appreciate it. And, you guys take time out, you guys had a light game today and thank you. I really appreciate it. That goes for the coaches who are here, [Gary] Tuck, Mags [Dave Magadan], everyone else, training staff, thank you.

Mom, dad, thank you for being here. Leslie, Amanda, Scott, Catherine, girls...I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm here to officially announce I'm retiring as a player. And after months of deliberating what to do, I decided that it's best for me and my family that I retire, but I retire a Red Sox. My decision to retire wasn't something that I took lightly in any sense of the word nor did I want to do it more than once. This has probably been the most difficult decision I've had to make in my entire career. But, the opportunity to start and finish my major league career in one place meant more to me and that's why I'm standing here today.

Being a part of this Red Sox organization the past 14 years is something I'll truly cherish and I do truly cherish and I thank all of you for giving me this opportunity...because it has taken everybody to allow that to happen. As I reflected on this day, I realized I didn't want this day to just be about me. There are so many people that have impacted my career, my life and I've been extremely blessed and extremely honored to have gotten to wear this uniform and play as long as I have. But along that way, there's been many many people that have impacted and been such a huge part. I'd like to take a moment to really go down and thank these people and give the gratitude that is deserved for helping build a career that I wouldn't have done without them.

It starts with my parents, mom, dad. Thank you. You took me everywhere, drove me around, but most importantly you guys are my heroes. Thank you.

To my brothers, I have three brothers: Joe, Jared, Justin, that are the rocks of my family. I couldn't have asked for any more supportive group of brothers than I have. They can't be here today but I wanted to recognize them and make sure that I thanked them.

To my Little League World Series coaches. To the late Jerry Thurston, coach Thurston, coach Everett, coach Callahan, coach Barfield. They taught us the values of fundamentals and what teamwork can do. And at 12-years-old, it carried a long way.

To my coach and friend Jay Williams. Jay stood by my side and encouraged me to switch hit and he's been my complete supporter from Little League on up and he's probably my biggest fan. My life and my career might not have turned out the way it was if I didn't quite learn how to hit lefthanded.

To my high school coach who stressed the fundamentals in baseball. I still today can bunt because of that.

I also want to recognize my high school football coach because he really instilled in us there's no I in team.

To my college coaches, both Jim Morris and Danny Hall, for a great education at [Georgia] Tech and helping continue to develop myself as a player and as a man.

To Roger Hansen who was my catching instructor at the Seattle organization. He helped and stood by my side and stuck with me through some of the worst times of my career. It always encouraged me that I will see the light at the end of the tunnel and I will be able to figure this stuff out behind the plate, and just encouraged me and stuck with me with hard work to continue to do that.

Now to my Red Sox family, I want to thank Mr. Henry, Mr. Werner, Mr. Lucchino for always keeping me a Red Sox. Dan Duquette and Theo [Epstein] for valuing me as a player. To all my coaches, thank you.

To my managers, Jimy, Grady, Tito [Terry Francona], thank you. I'd probably not be standing here if it was not for Jimy. Jimy one day walked up to me before a game got started in New York, I first got called up and said: 'Tek, you're gonna be a baseball player, you're gonna have a long career.' And that was just the vote of confidence I needed enough to get me over the hump and I'll never forget him for it. Grady, he continued to believe in me as a player, instilling the same confidence that started with Jimy and worked right alongside with me. Tito, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to sail next to you and to captain your ship for two championships.

Next one's Tuck. If Webster's needs a definition of 'coach', it's gotta be Gary Tuck. He's meant more to me at an age where I was told my skills have depleted but he pushed me, got me better, stood by my side, believed in me when no one else did and I will forever will have a friend in coach Tuck.

To our entire training staff, thank you. Masai [Takahashi] and Russell [Nua] seemed to have the brunt having to get me on the field and if it wasn't for you two, the majority of the time, I probably wouldn't have gotten out there. Thank you.

To the clubhouse staff, who's the nuts and bolts of any clubhouse. From Joe, Pookie, Billy, Luke, Cundy, Jared, Dean, Kenyatta, Tommy, Cookie, Sal, thank you for taking care of me every day.

To all the babysitters, Sarah McKenna, who took care of these girls while their dad had to play and made their Fenway experience wonderful. Thank you.

Pam Ganley, Sarah Stevenson, Sheri Rosenberg, you guys made media and community relations easy.

To Red Sox nation, the best fans in baseball. Thank you, thank you for making this the most special place to play.

My teammates, it's what I'm gonna miss most...the hardest thing to do is to walk away from your teammates and what they've meant to you over the years. Thank you.

I've been infiltrated with emails and texts over the past week and since it broke a few days ago and I can't say how much that has meant to me, from my friends and people who have supported me over the years. I can't quite mention everybody that has sent emails and texts, but thank you too.

Scott, you've been there since day one, advising me, to listening to me, to help me with my struggles in the minor leagues, to having good times, bad times, but you've been there and it's been a lotta years. And, I thank you.

Leslie, my trainer, I don't even know what to say to him. He's been beside for so many years, meant so much to this family, to these girls, I thank you.

Now it gets to the hard part...Allie, Kendall, made going home from games when things aren't so well that much easier. Just always know, daddy loves you as far as the East is from the West.

Cath, I've been a pain over these last couple months, I've been emotional. This has not been easy. But, thank you. I love you.

As I walk away from this game, I can look at the man in the mirror and be proud that I gave everything I could to this game, this organization, my teammates.

And once again, I just want to say, thank you.

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