Sox celebrate Remy's 20 years in booth
Former teammates, colleagues reminisce about 'RemDawg'
BOSTON -- Every dog has his day, and when that "dawg" is also president of a nation, he gets to have his day at Fenway Park. The Red Sox and New England Sports Network celebrated the broadcasting career -- 20 years and counting -- of Jerry "RemDawg" Remy before Tuesday's game against the D-backs.
Remy, 55, began broadcasting Red Sox games for NESN in 1988, after a 10-year Major League career. A native of Somerset, Mass., he was drafted by the Angels in 1971, staying with the organization until a trade brought him home to Boston before the star-crossed 1978 season, until the end of his playing career in 1984.
"Well, it's a little bit embarrassing, but yet it means a lot," Remy said of the celebration. "I guess when you look back and think about it, 30 years with the organization and 20 years as a broadcaster, that's a long time, and it goes by so fast. You don't realize it. It's awfully nice of NESN and the Red Sox to come up with this."
Remy, who last season was elected president of Red Sox Nation, was joined on the Fenway lawn by his family, fellow NESN broadcasters, former broadcast partners Bob Kurtz and Sean McDonough, and several former teammates, including Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and Rick Burleson, and former hitting coach Walt Hriniak for the celebration, the guests marking different points in his career and life.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who was also in attendance, proclaimed Tuesday as Jerry Remy Day in the City of Boston.
"It's funny, you can go years without seeing people, then all of a sudden, a lot of them are here on the same day," Remy said. "A lot of these great memories come back from playing days and broadcasting days. Seeing Sean here, unfortunately Ned Martin, my first partner, passed away. But Bob Kurtz is here and then, of course, the Hall of Famers. Every [former teammate] here is either in the Red Sox Hall of Fame or the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So that's pretty special. Very cool."
A career .275 hitter with 208 stolen bases in 1,154 games, Remy was an American League All-Star in 1978, his first season with Boston. He was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004, the same year he was named the Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
"We go way back," Eckersley said. "I signed when I was 17 in 1972 and I was with Reno, Nevada, and he was with Stockton, which was the Angels [Class] A-ball team in the California League. That's where we started and I remember seeing him there, because he leaves an impression on you. We ended up calling him 'Scooter' because he looked like a scooter. Then, the next thing you know we're in Double-A together -- he played in El Paso and I played in San Antonio. So I followed him a little bit. Then we broke in in '75. He was a rookie and I was with Cleveland.
"And the next thing you know, we both got traded to the Red Sox in '78. So we were thrown together and we had such a great year that first year. I think when you have a year like that, you're always connected. And that was my first exciting year, and he was such a major part of it because he was the catalyst, the guy that got it going. He stole bags and played a solid second base. He was a good player, until he hurt his knee."
|"I guess when you look back and think about it, 30 years with the organization and 20 years as a broadcaster, that's a long time, and it goes by so fast. You don't realize it. It's awfully nice of NESN and the Red Sox to ome up with this."|
|-- Jerry Remy|
"I saw him doing the games and I saw how he's grown doing the games until where he is today, which is probably the best in the business, really," Eckersley said. "I just think he's commanding."
Remy didn't take on the "RemDawg" persona until his third broadcast partner, McDonough, bestowed him with the moniker.
"I'm just waiting for my 10 percent of all the 'RemDawg' merchandise," McDonough said. "It just caught on and he liked it, I think. And the fans caught on. We saw 'RemDawg' signs all over the place. I'm happy for him. I think the whole 'RemDawg' thing is part of his popularity and I think it helped take him to where he is now."
Which is a very comfortable place, Remy said -- unlike his first broadcast.
"I was probably so nervous [that] I can't even remember it," Remy said. "I can't watch it. I can't even watch it, it's so bad. It takes a long time to get used to television, and once you get used to television, then your baseball stuff comes out. And now I've reached a comfort level where I'm very comfortable, which people seem to accept, and I'm having more fun doing this than I had playing."
Which, according to Evans, was something in itself.
"Jerry was always a character and he would always imitate," Evans said. "He did a great Dick Williams [imitation] as manager. He was always cutting it up and having fun. In fact, when he first started announcing, I think I was one of his first interviews in [the Sox's former Spring Training home located in] Winter Haven, Fla. Jerry just has a knack for it. I love listening to him. He's very detailed in the way he comes across, and I don't know anyone that doesn't like Jerry.
"It is surprising. Not that he's done 20 years, just that it's gone by so quick. It seems like I was just playing a couple of years ago, but it was 16 years ago. And Jerry's been on TV for a long time. Time's flying."
Flying, that is, after Remy got through that first year.
"I didn't think I'd make a half a year. I really didn't," said Remy, who was presented with a 2008 Ford Mustang for his 20 years of service. "When I first got into this, I thought I made a total mistake. I was terrible. I figured I'd last one year and go back to coaching or managing. And here it is 20 years later, and it's the best move I ever made."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.