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Dennis Eckersley, the Hall of Fame pitcher who’s spent the past two decades in the Boston Red Sox booth, will retire from baseball after this season.
Eckersley, 67, announced his decision earlier in the week, and fought back tears before Boston’s series-opener against the Braves Tuesday.
“I’m going to try so hard to enjoy it,” Eckersley told NESN’s Tom Caron. “Because it’s a big part of my life.”
Eck has been in baseball for nearly 50 years, dating back to when the Cleveland Indians drafted him in 1975.
He went on to pitch 24 seasons for Cleveland, the Red Sox, Cubs, Oakland and St. Louis, and was both a 20-win starter in 1978 and a 50-save reliever in 1992.
Of course, Eck was also on the wrong side of one of the most memorable moments in MLB history, giving up the walk-off home run to Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series.
Eckersley won the AL Cy Young and MVP in 1992 while playing for Oakland, retired in 1998 and joined NESN in 2003.
“I just want to appreciate the end. I grind,” said Eckersley, who finished his playing career a six-time All-Star with 197-171 record and 3.50 ERA.
“You get on 93 north and there goes the appreciation out the window … it’s bumper to bumper getting in here. But I can’t do it any other way.”
Eckersley originally joined NESN as a studio analyst, but has become a staple in the broadcast over the past decade. He recently formed a three-man booth with play-by-play veteran Dave O’Brian and longtime color analyst Jerry Remy before Remy passed away last October.
Over the years, Eck has become known in Boston for his “Eckisms,” including three of his favorites – “pair of shoes,” “cheese,” and “salad.”
How the Red Sox replace Remy and now Eckersley remains to be seen, although NESN has featured several guest analysts this season, including Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis.
That’s for another time, though. For now, let’s relive this incredible moment in the booth between Remy and Eckersley from last season.