- Updated: February 19, 2014
Dempster showed his character both on and off the field.
If 2013 was Ryan Dempster’s last season as a major leaguer, it can’t be said that he didn’t go out with a bang.
The 16-year veteran announced Sunday that he plans to sit out the 2014 season due to his physical stature as well as wanting to spend more time with his family. He also hinted that he may be ‘hanging ’em up’ for good but did not make a declarative statement on the matter. If 2013 were Dempster’s last season, he would finish his career with a 4.35 ERA, 2,075 punch outs, and a record of 132-133. While his numbers are on-par with the average big leaguer, off the field Dempster’s contributions were much more valuable. He was the consummate professional, the ultimate teammate, a clubhouse guy throughout his career. Ben Cherington recognized this before he became a member of the Red Sox, and once he joined the team it was further magnified to the GM. Dempster not only brought life to the clubhouse; he also knew how to lead it.
“He’s a great pitcher — I don’t want to take away from that — but he also has a great instinct for when the air needs to come out of the balloon for a team, and he always picked the right moment to do it,” Cherington said. This aspect of Dempster’s personality garnered immense respect from his teammates and upper management, especially when it came to the A-Rod beaning. That moment seemed to define Dempster’s 2013 season and certainly earned the respect of the entirety of Red Sox Nation, especially this sports blogger. Even though it temporarily fueled the much-maligned slugger and the dreaded Yankees, it took a lot of gusto taking a shot at the man that showed a complete disregard for the entirety of Major League Baseball when nobody else wanted to step up.
Whether or not Dempster retires at this point is irrelevant. This man already made a name for himself in the league based on his character and personality, not his numbers, and that’s what he will ultimately be remembered by. Better yet, he went out with a World Series ring on his finger, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have had it any other way. Best of luck, Ryan!