By Matt Noonan
It’s never easy to say, so long, farewell or simply… goodbye.
Friday is a day that’ll live in infamy, as Boston Red Sox fans watched Terry Francona walk away from his managerial position and into the sunset. Although, while no one may know the exact reason why Tito decided to pack up and leave his office, it’s certainly fair to say, he was hands down the right guy for the job.
Francona inherited a group of “idiots” that became legends after their most improbable comeback against the New York Yankees in ’04. He also ended Boston’s miserable ongoing curse against the St. Louis Cardinals in the October Classic, and won an additional title three years later against the Colorado Rockies.
Yet, besides leading the Red Sox to two World Series championships, he was also considered a “players manager.” Guys like Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Millar gelled quite well under him, while players like Manny Ramirez or Pedro Martinez butted heads, but still respected his decisions.
In fact, Pedroia told ESPNBoston.com, “He’s had my back, he gave me a chance when I was struggling as a rookie. I was hitting .150 and he stood by me and helped me become the player that I am today. I’ll forever remember that.”
He’ll certainly be missed and yes, it will be quite different seeing someone else sporting a Boston uniform, and calling the shots next season, but overall, he’ll always be remembered as the manager that sent Babe Ruth’s curse to the grave, and brought the spirit of baseball back to the Hub.