Dustin Pedroia Was a Winner and Star, But He Isn’t a Hall-of-Famer

The former Rookie of the Year and MVP officially announced his retirement at age 37

Dustin Pedroia Was a Winner and Star But He Isn't a Hall-of-Famer
Dustin Pedroia retired at age 37.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

On the day one athlete who rose to fame playing in New England hinted his career would continue late into his 40s, another former Boston star officially called it quits.

The former, Tom Brady, will be heading to his sport’s Hall of Fame on the first ballot once he does finally retire. The latter, Dustin Pedroia, does not have the same guarantee to make it into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown — and he probably shouldn’t.

The former Red Sox second baseman, who played just nine games from 2018-2020 and missed all of last season due to a chronic knee injury, will not attempt to play in 2021, the final year of an eight-year, $110 million contract.

The 37-year-old retires with 140 homers, 725 RBI, 1,805 hits and a .299 batting average over a 17-year career. An adept fielder who got the most out of his undersized frame, Pedroia was a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and won three championships with the Sox.

Though he hit below .200 during his first 31 games in the majors, Pedroia won Rookie of the Year following his first full season in the big leagues and took home the MVP award the following year at the age of 24 when he led the American League with 118 runs, 213 hits and 54 doubles.

A fan favorite due to his effort in the field and hustle on the basepath, Pedroia was short in stature but long in confidence after being picked 65th overall in the 2004 draft and may or may not have given himself the nickname “Laser Show” for the way he smacked line drives around the ballpark and off the Green Monster in left at Fenway Park.

When healthy, Pedroia was a good ballplayer who had the potential to make great plays and collect big hits. He was a little guy who talked a big game that he would often be able to back up, and Boston certainly would not have won the 2007 World Series without him. For those reasons, he belongs in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, but he shouldn’t make Cooperstown.

Though Pedroia may have had an outside shot at making the Hall had the tail end of his career not been hampered by lingering injuries, playing more than 105 games just once in his final six active seasons in MLB really hurts his case as he simply does not have the numbers that are usually required for a Hall-of-Famer.

He is short of 2,000 hits (let alone 3,000), has a batting average that is just shy of .300 and his closest career comparison, according to Baseball-Reference, is Howie Kendrick. (We’ll pause to let you Google Mr. Kendrick.)

“His commitment was extraordinary,” longtime Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said of his former teammate in a statement released by the Red Sox. “I really appreciate the fact that I was able to play and have a teammate like Dustin because I learned so much from him. The one thing I learned for sure was that this was not about size. This was about heart. He was the whole package.”

And Pedroia really was. A winner, a star and a champion. Just not a Hall-of-Fame player.

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