The Rem Dog

November 6, 2021

Modern baseball analytics would probably deny Jerry Remy a career.  He hit only 7 home runs in ten years, none over his final six seasons.  But in the 70s, there was room for a 5 foot 9, 165-pound second baseman who could field and run, and who got every ounce of ability out of what God gave him.

Jerry Remy batted .275 with 1,226 hits and 14.6 WAR over a 10-season MLB career

He grew up in Boston and dreamed about playing in Fenway Park for the Sox.  And that dream came true.  Knee injuries took their toll, and he was once memorably carried off the field by Jim Rice – as you might cradle an 11-year-old.

BOSTON – AUGUST 12: Ailing NESN Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy was in the booth with Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley during the top of the second inning of tonight’s Red Sox game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Here he acknowledges the cheers of the crowd below. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

When that career ended, a new one began.  In the broadcast booth where Remy lived for the next thirty years.  
He was wonderful.  Jerry didn’t have canned nicknames or scripted home run calls.  He wasn’t an extreme homer.  He had a gravelly voice and a thick Boston accent.  Laughed at himself a lot.  He was nicknamed the Rem Dog.  It fit.  And in Red Sox Nation, he became beloved.

On the NESN broadcast, with Dennis Eckerlsey (left) and Dave O’Brien. (photo from NESN)

Then thirteen years ago Remy developed lung cancer.  He took a leave of absence.  Fought it.  Beat it.  And returned to work.  It came back.  He took a leave of absence.  Fought it.  Beat it.  Returned to work.  Four times.  Rinse and repeat.  Then in August the cancer returned again.  Remy took a leave of absence.  And fought it.  One last time.  He returned to throw out the first pitch in Boston’s one game playoff win over the Yankees.  Less than a month later he was gone.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 05: Hall of Famers and former Boston Red Sox players Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy react after the ceremonial first pitch before the American League Wild Card game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on October 05, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

For thirty plus years, Jerry Remy was just a guy who’d drop by your house for the Red Sox game.  Talk a little baseball.  Tell a few stories. Be the kind of companion you wished you had in real life.  Promise to return the next night to do it all again.  And never ask for anything in return.  There’s real comfort in that.  It’s a kind of comfort you really can’t simply replace.

Watch Bill Pucko on The Press Box, every weekend on 13-WHAM TV in Rochester

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