The Red Sox will honor Nomar Garciaparra before tonight’s game (on 5/5, no less) with an on-field ceremony at Fenway Park, including the ceremonial first pitch. Knowing Nomar, if he wasn’t throwing it, he’d surely swing at it.
Now retired — and six years removed from the fateful trade — it’s time to give Garciaparra his due. Here are five Nomar moments you may not remember, but will never forget.
Nomar was sixth unanimous Rookie of the Year winner in 1997, in no small measure because of a 30-game hitting streak from July 26 to Aug. 29 that set the American League rookie record. During the streak, Nomar went 54-for-141 (.383) with nine homers and 26 RBIs.
Flirting with .400
In 2000, Nomar made a serious run at .400, reaching as high as .403 as late as July 20. He ended the season batting .372. Had he collected just 15 more hits over his 529 at-bats, he would have made it.
The day after the stirring 2002 Fenway tribute to the late Ted Williams, Nomar paid his respects in classic fashion, hitting three homers over two innings and collecting eight RBIs in a 22-4 rout of the Devil Rays. It was also Garciaparra’s 29th birthday.
While Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson lay motionless after a collision in Game 5 against Oakland in the 2003 ALDS, it was Nomar who picked up the ball and flipped to second for the out. Without that play, the series was likely lost.
The Last Hurrah
On July 24, 2004, a week before his trade to the Cubs, Nomar has his final big Fenway moment, leading off the ninth against Mariano Rivera with a double. Three batters later, Bill Mueller hits his famous walkoff homer for an 11-10 victory that foreshadowed October glory to come.