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.
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.
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.
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.
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.