On Sunday morning, word spread throughout Red Sox Nation that Jerry Remy had finally lost his battle with lung cancer. At his passing, my birthday buddy was just 10 days shy of his 69th birthday and in his 33rd season as a Red Sox broadcaster while battling his 7th recurrence with the terrible disease over 13 years. It was a challenging stretch for Remy, but the Massachusetts native was a fighter and tackled each reoccurrence head-on, even when things weren’t looking great. Remy love being the voice of the Red Sox and was a Bostonian through and through. He will be sorely missed.
After a few years playing for the California Angels, the Somerset, MA native was traded to the Red Sox in 1977. Growing up a Red Sox fan, the trade made Remy “ecstatic” and his play on the field benefited from the move as 1978 became one of his best seasons, including an All-star selection. The trade worked out pretty well for him beyond 1978 also, because he played a solid 7-seasons with the Red Sox and parlayed his fan-favorite persona into a 33-year broadcasting career for his hometown team. Once he was traded back home, he never looked back.
“I was ecstatic. How many people get a chance to come back home and play for the team that they grew up watching, adoring, and loving? I couldn’t believe I was going to be playing with guys like [Carl] Yastrzemski — he was my idol as a teenager — [Carlton] Fisk and [Jim] Rice, [Dwight] Evans, [Fred] Lynn, all those guys.”Jerry Remy talking about his trade to the Red Sox in 1977
The past few days have resulted in countless people talking about Remy and his strong, positive presence. One of his broadcast partners and favorite people to banter with, Dennis Eckersley, recalled his favorite quality of Remy: his laugh. “Man, I loved his laugh. When he’d get rolling and couldn’t stop himself from laughing, you know? I tried like hell to get him to laugh just to hear it.” Another of his longtime broadcast partners and friends, Red Sox fan-favorite Don Orsillo, credited Remy as the one who “Showed me the right MLB way.” The messages are different, but all have a common theme: Remy was a respected, genuine and special human being.
The man most commonly know as RemDawg has left a deep legacy and a significant positive mark on a franchise that has had so many greats over the years. His voice will be forever linked with the Red Sox, having called the darker depths of the tail end of an 80+ year championship drought, triumphantly celebrating four world series titles, and contributing to numerous other critical moments over three decades on the microphone. His ability to tell stories and go off the rails in blowouts and his honest, straight forward analysis of a tough situation are unrivalled. His voice will truly be missed on the NESN telecasts.
Watching Remy get a standing ovation from a packed Fenway Park as he took a golf-cart ride around the stadium to throw out the first pitch of the 2021 AL Wild Card game was a moment I won’t forget. It felt reminiscent of the Ted Williams golf-cart ride at the 1999 All-Star Game, just a few years before the legend’s passing. It was a final hurrah for a man that devoted damn near his entire life to the Red Sox franchise and poured his heart and soul into his job.
To me, there is only one way to end the RemDawg era in Boston, by using the line he said hundreds, maybe thousands of times over his career when introducing the ability to watch the broadcast in Spanish. Buenos Noches, Jerry.