Jason Varitek (Jason Andrew Varitek) was born on April 11, 1972 in Rochester, Minnesota. He made his Major League debut on September 24, 1997 for the Boston Red Sox. In 1998, his rookie year, he hit .253 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI. Varitek played for the Boston Red Sox for his entire 10 year career.
There is some disagreement on what was Jason Varitek's most productive season. Some believe that it was 2003, when he slugged 25 home runs and knocked in 85 runs. However, others believe that it was 2004, when he slugged 18 home runs, hit for a .296 average and knocked in 73 runs. Another season that some believe was Jason Varitek's best was 1999, when he slugged 20 home runs and knocked in 76 runs.
The captain of the Boston Red Sox came to the team in a very one-sided deal in 1997. The Seattle Mariners, desperate for bullpen help, traded Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. Slocumb gave the Mariners a year and a half of mediocre/bad relief work. 7 years after the deal, Lowe and Varitek were still with the Red Sox and both were key components of their 2004 World Series win.
Varitek has had a double digit HR total in 6 of the last 7 years. He missed most of 2001 with an injury from hitting the wall when chasing a foul ball. His best year was in 2003 when he hit 25 HR and 85 RBI and was part of a record setting Red Sox offense. He was signed to a four year deal after the '04 season and part of the deal was that Varitek was named the new captain of the team. Many consider him to be the heart and soul of the team and he's one of the pink hat wearing fan girls' favorite players.
He's a smart hitter who likes to wait for the right pitch to hit. He's one of the game's better offensive catchers. He's a switch hitter who's better from the right side of the plate. His defense is nothing special, but he's known for calling a great game. Pitchers like throwing to the guy.
- Selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (21st pick overall) of the free-agent draft - did not sign June 3, 1993.
- Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 1st round (14th pick overall) of the free-agent draft on June 2, 1994 - signed on April 20, 1995.
- Traded by the Seattle Mariners with Derek Lowe to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Heathcliff Slocumb on July 31, 1997.
- Granted free agency on November 1, 2004.
- Signed by the Boston Red Sox on December 24, 2004.
- Varitek played in the 1984 Little League World Series as a shortstop, third baseman, and catcher. He played well defensively, but was silent with the bat, going 0 for 7 with 2 walks and one runs scored.
- In 2006, Varitek represented the United States in the World Baseball Classic. He made the most of his playing time, hitting a grand slam home run against Team Canada allowing Team USA to move from 8-2, to 8-6. Team Canada, however, kept the lead in the upset victory.
- On July 18, 2006, Varitek played his 991st game at catcher for the Boston Red Sox, breaking Carlton Fisk's club record. That game was a home game against the Kansas City Royals, during which Varitek's achievement was recognized before the top of the 5th inning (after the game was official and couldn't be cancelled due to weather). Varitek received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Fenway Park for a few moments before play began.
- On July 31, 2006, Varitek was injured rounding the bases in a 9-8 victory over the Cleveland Indians (his 1000th career Game as catcher), but said he believed the initial injury to the knee occurred while he was blocking home plate to make the tag against the Angels' Mike Napoli on July 29, 2006.