January 13, 2013

Steve Solloway: Coming clean on a man called Dirt Dog

(Continued from page 1)

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Trot Nixon carried so many memories with him into retirement after a career with the Red Sox and Indians, from a World Series title to teammates who made him smile.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Trot Nixon says he appreciated the Fenway Park fans and if he has one regret, it’s that he didn’t interact with them as much as he could have while playing right field.

GabeSouza/Staff Photographer

He was the go-fer to his veteran teammates when he first arrived in the Fenway Park clubhouse. He admits he was in awe and sometimes clueless. Nixon was on the bench that night in 1996 when Roger Clemens went through the Detroit lineup, striking out batter after batter, finishing with 20.

"I said something like, Roger's got a lot of punchouts. I was told to shut up. At the end of the game everyone's out of the dugout, hugging Roger. I'm running around and didn't know what was going on."

He was hurt for much of 2004, but not for the playoffs. The Dirt Dog became one of the self-styled Idiots. "We weren't smart enough to understand we had to win four (consecutive) games," said Nixon, referring to the American League Championship Series with the Yankees. New York had won the first three games of the best-of-seven series.

The Red Sox beat St. Louis in four straight games to win the World Series. Nixon's two-out, two-run double produced the only runs Boston would need. Three years later he was with the Cleveland Indians, the veteran presence helping a young team reach the 2007 playoffs. He didn't play much but his voice was everywhere.

That's where I saw him last, leaving the Indians' locker room alone after Game 5 of the ALCS in Cleveland. Josh Beckett had just shut down the Indians' lineup for the 7-1 victory. I was rushing to join the line of media waiting to get into the Red Sox locker room when Nixon walked by in old jeans, a flannel shirt and a worn leather jacket

He still looked every bit the Dirt Dog. 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

 

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