Youkilis – the legend that is forever going to be written in Red Sox history. I was first introduced to Youkilis in April of 2008, my first game at Fenway Park. I was new to the game of baseball, but I knew instantly that the way Youuukkk (as he is fondly known to Red Sox Nation) stood at his at-bat, he was a special breed of baseball player. Youk went 1-4 that day, with two RBIs – scoring Pedroia & Ortiz on a ground-rule double. The echoes of “Youuuuuuk” rang around Fenway Park. I was hooked.
Four years have passed since that day & my love for Youuuk hasn’t waned – in fact I’d say it has grown with each AB. Firstly, for his beard – I always have a love for beards, being a beard grower myself, but Youk’s beards have been of epic proportions. Although, the less we say about the beardless Youk the better.
Secondly, Youk has put blood, sweat and tears in to his tenure at Red Sox, never leaving the field with a clean uniform. Youkilis played a total of 953 games in Red Sox uniform, winning two World Series – smashing 133 home runs, scoring 594 runs and driving in 564. He was HBP a total of 86 times – which over a 9yr career at Red Sox is rather tough on the body. He always knew how to work the count and walked 494 times – earning himself the moniker “Greek God of Walks”.
Today is a sad day for Red Sox Nation, Youkilis was traded to the other Sox team in the MLB – Chicago White Sox. Since the hot emergence of the 3B rookie, Will Middlebrooks, Youk has seen his playing time cut down. Youk has also been injury prone over the years and I think Red Sox decided that this was the best time to look for a trade. Baseball is a business, at the end of the day, and you can’t always add emotions to business when trying to do the right thing for the ball club.
Talk of a Youk trade has been hot all season & with Youk missing the last three games but playing 3B today (with Middlebrooks playing DH) many of Red Sox Nation had the inkling that this could be Youk’s final day pulling up those red socks. When Youk came out in the second inning today he received a standing ovation – rightly so for the two-time World Series champion with Red Sox – Youkilis was clearly moved. You could see it in his eyes that Boston was his home. He loved the fans just as much as the fans loved him.
His final action as a member of Red Sox was to hit an RBI Triple in the seventh. Manager, Bobby Valentine, knowing of the imminent trade, decide to pinch-run for Youk and as Youk left the field another standing-o from the Fenway Faithful – along with hugs from his team mates. Youk was summoned out by his team mates for one last moment with his fans before disappearing in to the clubhouse. His time over at Red Sox, but never forgotten. Long live King Youkilis.