On Saturday afternoon, former Red Sox infielder Mike Napoli announced his retirement from professional baseball via Twitter.
Napoli, 37, was originally drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Angels in 2000 and spent the first five years of his major league career there, as well as two years with the Texas Rangers before inking a one-year deal with the Red Sox prior to the start of the 2013 season.
A native of Florida, Napoli made his impact felt immediately with his new club, as he mashed 23 home runs and drove in a then career high 92 RBI while regularly patrolling first base.
After the Red Sox made their way back to the postseason in 2013, Napoli did not necessarily have an October to remember numbers wise, but he did hit a pair of home runs in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
In Game One of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the one-time catcher drove in three runs on one swing of the bat on a bases-clearing three RBI double off of Adam Wainwright in the first inning. The Red Sox would go on to win that opening contest by a final score of 8-1.
In Game Four, with the assist from Koji Uehara, Napoli picked off pinch-runner Kolten Wong as he was attempting to slide back to first base for the deciding out in a 4-2 win for Boston.
And in the sixth and final game of the 2013 Fall Classic, Napoli knocked in one of six runs for the Red Sox on a fourth inning RBI single off of Lance Lynn as the club went on to clinch their eighth World Series title.
Napoli would go on to spend another season-and-a-half with Boston before being traded to the Texas Rangers in August of 2015. He also played in another World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 2016.
Finishing his 12-year with career with a slash line of .246/.346/.475 to go along with 267 home runs and 744 RBI over the course of 1392 total games played, Napoli’s time in baseball certainly was not Hall of Fame worthy, but it was memorable.
I know I don’t talk about the 2013 team enough on here, but Napoli was special in that regard. He had the ability to bring a clubhouse together and appeared to be well liked by both players and fans at each stop he made along the way.
So, thanks for 2013 and doing your part in healing the city during uneasy times, Nap. You will forever be a legend in Boston.