Nixon honored before today's game

May, 28, 2012
BOSTON -- Former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, the original Dirt Dog, was in the house Monday to participate in the season-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

The Red Sox recognized his walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics (No. 41 in our ranking of Fenway’s Top 100 Moments ). He played 12 seasons in the majors, 10 with the Red Sox, and was a key member of the 2004 World Series championship team.

[+] EnlargeTrot Nixon
AP Photo/Michael DwyerTrot Nixon threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Monday.
After he was honored on the field before Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, Nixon, wearing his No. 7 home white jersey, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch with former teammate David Ortiz serving as his catcher.

“It’s great,” Nixon said. “There are a lot of emotions and a lot of great things that I was able to be a part of here in this ballpark. I was spoiled by a tremendous fan base and each time I came back here it seems like I get more spoiled by them.”

One of his biggest memories was being a member of the team that erased 86 years of misery in 2004, especially given the way the Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS in 2003.

“To be able to come up out of those ashes and win was awesome,” he said.

After his career ended, maybe a little prematurely for his liking, Nixon, now 38, said it was difficult to walk away from the game.

“It took a little bit of time,” he said. “I still felt that when I was released by the Brewers that I could have done what they wanted me to do that year.

“It was hard to find a job after that, something that wasn’t A-ball or Double-A. I didn’t sit there and say, ‘I’m too good for that.’ But with the bus trips and stuff like that, I had boys who were playing and I said, ‘I’m just going to go home.’ It was difficult to walk away from the game because I love competing. I love this game and I love playing it. Now, it’s more or less, everything I’ve been able to learn in my career, I’m able to try to pass it on to some of these younger kids.”

Nixon’s been doing a little of bit of work with the Cleveland Indians by speaking to some of the organization’s prospects at times, but he mostly spends his time coaching both his sons, Chase and Luke, in baseball and football.

When his boys do get older, Nixon said he would like to get more involved in the pro game at some capacity.

“Probably,” he said. “I think what I’m doing with the Indians is keeping my foot in the door.”

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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