Retiring was ‘most difficult decision’ for Jason Varitek Teammates given tearful goodbye ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page jim davis/globe staff An emotional Jason Varitek announced his retirement today at the Boston Red Sox' spring training facility in Ft. Myers, Fla. Jim Davis/Globe Staff The Red Sox catcher and captain had a 15-year career during which he became one of the most accomplished players in franchise history. Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff Varitek, who debuted in 1997 after arriving in a trade from Seattle, holds the Red Sox record for games caught. Barry Chin/Globe Staff Varitek was part of two World Series winners, and his punch of Alex Rodriguez on July 24, 2004, helped turned that season around. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Varitek caught the final out delivered from Pedro Martinez in 1999 when the Red Sox won their first playoff series in 13 years. Roberto Borea/AP Noted for his defensive play and ability to handle pitchers, Varitek caught a record four no-hitters. Here, he celebrated with Hideo Nomo after the pitcher held the Baltimore Orioles hitless on April 4, 2001. John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/AP On May 20, 2001, Varitek blasted three home runs in a 10-3 win at Kansas City. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Varitek was on the field when the Red Sox completed their historic four-game comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Seven days later, he and Keith Foulke celebrated the Red Sox' first World Series win in 86 years. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff After that season, the Red Sox re-signed Varitek, who was a free agent, and named him the team captain. Jim Davis/Globe Staff On April 22, 2007, Varitek joined three teammates in tying an MLB record with four straight home runs against the Yankees. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Six months later, Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon celebrated the Red Sox' second World Series title in four years. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Varitek was a three-time All-Star who became a fan favorite in Boston for his determined style of play and his longevity. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Varitek leaves the Red Sox as the team record holder in postseason game appearances.