A look at how Steve Pearce captured October in leading the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 World Series championship.
When it comes to playoff folk heroes, Boston Red Sox fans will always remember players like Kevin Millar, Johnny Gomes, Derek Lowe, Mike Napoli and most recently 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who officially announced his retirement from baseball this week.
"“You know what?” Pearce told WEEI.com. “It has been a good run. I have 10 years in there. Right now I am officially retired.”"
Obtained in a trade deadline deal in the middle of the 2018 season, the journeyman infielder wasn’t seen as a major pickup at the time for the 108-win Red Sox, but his spirit and commitment to the game gave the team a much needed jolt, especially during that memorable World Series run where he came up with clutch homer after clutch homer.
It also helped that he was a childhood Boston Red Sox fan. In playing with eight different teams in a span of 13 seasons, the magic in his eyes during that memorable October told the tale of a player living his dream. While Los Angeles Dodgers fans will see it as a nightmare, the three homers Steve Pearce belted against the Dodgers had to make Mr. Clutch himself David Ortiz smile.
Let’s just relive some of that for a moment:
As Red Sox Nation rejoiced, the legend of playoff Steve Pearce didn’t really have a chance for an encore. Signed to a one-year deal following that season, the 37-year-old Pearce was sideline due to injury much of the 2019 season to compound the overall championship hangover the team was suffering.
Can’t take anything away from Steve Pearce
In an overall career in which he posted a .245 batting average along with 91 home runs in 766 games played, Steve Pearce won’t be known for his best years with the Baltimore Orioles, but the magic and clutch moments (particularly in that World Series) he symbolized in 2018.
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Even with the sign-stealing scandal hanging over that team, Steve Pearce won’t let that take away from what the team accomplished in that season. With that, no one should take away from that MVP magic he sparked during that October.
"“Whatever they accused us of, we were all kind of like, ‘I can’t believe this is even an issue.’ Once the report comes out we’re going to be free,” Pearce said when asked about the allegations. “You don’t like it, especially that we were the champions and individually I have that award. And we have this floating over our head when we just had such an unbelievable season. We had the perfect team and great camaraderie with everybody and then this gets thrown out there. We’re just like, ‘What the heck?’…We just want this to pass us. We just want to play some baseball. Another bump in the road, I guess.”"
What Pearce left out there is the perfect amount of heart that he instilled in that team the moment he put on that Boston Red Sox uniform.
In hindsight, that minor trade former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski pulled off turned out to be the move that delivered another World Series championship to the city of Boston.
Most importantly, it gave a lifelong fan an opportunity to fulfill a dream by helping his favorite baseball team triumph.
No, Steve Pearce is not retiring with numbers that will jump out at any baseball fan, but for Red Sox Nation, he once ruled October and there is no asterisk that can be put on that moment, that memory, that magic.