Sunday, January 21, 2007

Original Dirt Dog Gone to Cleveland

The news that Trot Nixon had signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday took be aback. I know I’m an old timer and the way I enjoy sports like my whiskey is particularly old fashioned. It seems to me these days that team personnel is always in flux. There is little continuity from year to year. The free agency system has caused this and the escalating salaries that players make these days (did I mention Trot signed for $3 million to be a part time right fielder). But it has always grieved me to see one of my favorite players in the uniform of another team. It seems like in the past thatnot all players, but the great ones always had a career with one team. Can you see Stan Musial playing for anyone other than the Cardinals, or Teddy Ballgame anything but a Red Sox? Joe Montana will always be a 49’er and Larry Bird always a Celtic. It brought tears to my eyes seeing Bobby Orr skating in a Black Hawks jersey.
Trot Nixon never was a great player, but there was something about him over his 13-year career in Boston that seemed to cry out Red Sox. He was not a great fielder as right fielders go. He could never climb the walls as Jimmy Piersal did in his day. But he always made the great play when it counted most. He was not a great power hitter like Dwight Evans, but he got the big hit just when the Sox needed it, Like the walk off homer against Oakland in 2004 to keep Boston alive in the playoffs.
Nixon was there at the beginning of the current Red Sox renaissance. And he was in the forefront of the Red Sox mystique. When they were the Dirt Dogs, Trot was the Dirtiest. When Kevin Millar titled them the cowboys, Trot was always the first to Cowboy –up and when Johnny Damon labeled the team, the idiots. Trot’s clubhouse antics fit right in.
Granted, it was time for him to go. Nixon could no long play a whole season without significant loss of playing time due to injury. But it makes this Red Sox fan sad to see him go.

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