By the time Nomar Garciaparra left the Boston Red Sox in 2004, I was reluctantly ready to have him leave. From the moment Nomar arrived in 1996 I thought he was the bees’ knees. He had it all in both offense and defense and he was unfailingly polite and cheerful. He had a quirky at bat routine which was all too easily imitated, but who cared? The guy delivered - sometimes amazingly so. Chuck’s Dad used to tease us that it was unfair of us to have two shortstops: Garcia and Parra! And the way Nomar played, you could be forgiven for thinking we had an extra player in the field. But prior to his departure in 2004 he seemed so darned miserable every day. There had been the ugly trade-that-never-was at the end of 2003 which seemed to leave a bad taste in his mouth - not to mention having freaked out Red Sox Nation. Ironically, it was after Nomar left in 2004 that the long drought/curse came to an end and the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918. But the players knew how important Nomar had been to their overall success and voted to include him as a recipient of a ring.
Today, Nomar signed a one day contract with the Boston Red Sox so that he could officially retire from major league baseball as a member of the organization. Watching the news conference I saw the Nomar we had all adored during his eight years in Boston. Gone was the pain of the trades and the injuries. What shone through was the kid who had played in the Cape Cod League, made it to the majors and got to live out a dream. Along the way he earned a permanent place in the heart of Red Sox Nation.