In 2006 you made your big league debut. People saw a 5’9 170lbs guy and they said you weren’t going to make it. I saw a guy who looked similar to me in size who gave me hope. The hope you gave me made me realize that I could virtually do anything I wanted on the field.
Was I nearly as talented as you? Absolutely not, but the fact that you went out everyday and played with grit, determination, and heart made me feel like I had to go out and do the same. It was with seeing you play I realized that baseball comes in all shapes and sizes and it doesn’t take a guy to be 6’5 245lbs to be successful at the plate or on the field. I became a fan of yours long before people even cared who you were.
In 2007 we all again were told there’s no way this guy could make it, but you did and then some. You ended up winning the 2007 Rookie of the Year award and you were a huge part in that team hoisting the World Series trophy. I’ll never forget the lead off homer you hit in the bottom of the first against Jeff Francis. You were larger then life and everyone on that team knew you weren’t the one to be challenged.
2008 came and you showed us AGAIN, that you were what you told everyone you were when you won the 2008 AL MVP, your first of 4 Gold Gloves, your 1 and only Silver Slugger, and made 1 of your 4 All Star appearances.
Fast forward to February of 2021 and you have announced your retirement. None of us wanted this to end this way, but things don’t always work out the way they plan. Sometimes you tell the game when it’s over but sometimes the game tells you, I feel as though you may have been able to do both at the same time. Through the years injuries effected your career but the Red Sox faithful never gave up on you and you never gave up on us. It saddens me you won’t ever go out to second and hop around in between pitches anymore, but I will always remember the guy who gave all us smaller guys hope.
Dustin, thank you for the memories, the grit, and the heart you left out on the field everyday because with that you gave this small kid from Philly belief that size don’t mean a thing. LASER SHOW FOREVER. We’ll see you when #15 is put up on the right field facade. Enjoy retirement.