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The Mass Media

In memoriam: Jerry Remy, the voice of Red Sox Nation

Jerry+Remy+superimposed+over+the+Boston+Red+Sox+logo.
Bianca Oppedisano
Jerry Remy superimposed over the Boston Red Sox logo. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

His throaty voice and New England accent did nothing to hide his upbringing in Somerset, Massachusetts. His knowledge of the game was deep and thorough, and he could always tell the viewer at home what was happening on the field. And he became, arguably, more associated with the Boston Red Sox than any of their actual players. He played seven years with the team and endeared himself to the Fenway faithful for his grit and tenacity that belied his relatively small stature. But he found his true calling as a broadcaster, taking a job as the color commentator for Red Sox broadcasts on the fledgling New England Sports Network beginning in 1988. And in that job, he brought humor, wit and wisdom on the great game of baseball to countless households throughout New England.
Gerald Peter “Jerry” Remy died on Sunday, Oct. 30, after his seventh bout with cancer. He was 68. It is hard for me to describe in words what Remy, nicknamed “the RemDawg”, meant to Red Sox Nation. Quite simply, he was Red Sox Nation. No, seriously, he was actually elected honorary President of Red Sox Nation in 2007, beating out such luminaries as Bill Simmons and Jared Carrabis. Remy, despite a relatively brief major league career where he hit all of seven home runs in 10 seasons split between the Red Sox and the California Angels, he could talk about, with razor-like precision, the ins and outs of every swing, fielding error or close play at the plate. Remy worked with numerous broadcast partners over the years but had no better chemistry than with Don Orsillo. Orsillo and Remy were a perfect match for each other, constantly cracking jokes and wisecracks in between covering the game. Not every year was good. Many summers, the Sox had fallen out of contention and weeknight games no longer meant that much. However, Remy and Orsillo still found ways to keep things light and interesting, often roasting each other when they botched a promotion, humorously zooming in on fans in the crowd or talking about their favorite sitcoms.
Without a doubt, Remy and Orsillo’s most famous, and most hilarious moment was at a game in 2007, when a fan threw an entire slice of pizza at another fan trying to catch a foul ball in the stands. The moment was immortalized as “Here comes the pizza!” after Remy’s now-famous quip on the replay.
Remy was a feature in the Red Sox clubhouse and became good friends with countless players. On the news of his passing, many current and former Red Sox players, including Alex Cora, Carl Yastrzemski, Dennis Eckersley, Wade Boggs, Xander Bogaerts, Pedro Martinez and many others paid tribute to Remy. When he was first signed as a relatively anonymous free agent in the winter of 2003, Remy became good friends with designated hitter David Ortiz, giving him the nickname “Big Papi”. The moniker stuck, and the rest was history.
However, Remy’s life was not without difficulties. He started smoking when he was 16 and discovered he had lung cancer in 2008. Despite this, Remy continued to broadcast on NESN, but his cancer resurged six other times, and the seventh time proved to be fatal. Remy’s life was also upended when, in 2013, his son Jared was convicted of murdering his then-girlfriend and sentenced to life in prison. Remy decided to take the remainder of the 2013 season off due to the stress of the situation.
When Remy had to leave the broadcast booth again in 2021 due to the resurgence of his cancer, many fans were hoping for yet another comeback. That would not happen. However, the fans were treated to a very special moment before the Red Sox’s Wild Card playoff game against the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2021. Remy came out to throw the first pitch to his former teammate and broadcast partner Eckersley, to a roaring standing ovation from Fenway Park. It was the perfect moment, as the Red Sox went on to win the game. And it turned out to be Remy’s final goodbye to Red Sox Nation, as that was the last time he was seen in public before his death. But you know what? I don’t think he would’ve had it any other way.

About the Contributors
Jack Sherman, Sports Writer
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator