Dalton's Dan Duquette chosen to join Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
Former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette's tenure in Boston did not end on a positive note. But, the Red Sox decided to recognize his run with an exclamation point all the same, as the Dalton native will be inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Duquette will join former players David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Rich Gedman and the late Bill Dinneen in the Class of 2020.
"Red Sox fans are the most knowledgeable and passionate sports fans I've ever been around. The Red Sox have a certain place in New England lore," Duquette said. "I'm just thankful of the recognition the team gave me with this honor."
They will all be honored at a Red Sox Foundation gala on April 30.
"He really did lay the groundwork for that '04 team, with some of the trades he made and the players he brought in," said Pittsfield's Tom Mooney. "That's without question."
In addition to the players, Game 4 of the 2004 World Series will be honored as the memorable Red Sox moment.
This year's selections were made by a 21-person committee headed by longtime sportswriter, and current Red Sox team historian Gordon Edes. The committee is comprised of club executives, local and national media members, historians, and fan representatives.
To be eligible for nomination, players must have played at least three years with the Red Sox and must also have been out of uniform as an active player at least three years.The non-uniformed person or persons selected and the memorable moment selected will be chosen only by a unanimous vote of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
"It's a great honor for Dan," said J.P. Ricciardi, a Worcester resident, who assists Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations with the San Francisco Giants. Ricciardi competed against Duquette with the Oakland A's and then with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he was the general manager from 2001-2009.
"First and foremost, he did a great job with the Red Sox. One of the hardest things to do as a general manager is always leave the job on a high note," he said. "You're ultimately let go at some point. Dan did a great job with the Red Sox. I'm really, really happy to see that they're honoring him. If you go back and look at the foundation of that team that went on to win the first World Championship, a lot of the players were brought in by him.
"He set the tempo and the foundation for what Theo [Epstein] and the rest of them did."
Duquette came to Boston from Montreal to open the 1994 season, he was let go after the 2001 season.
Under Duquette's stewardship, the Red Sox won the AL East title in 1995 and made additional postseason appearances in 1998 and 1999. Those marked the first back-to-back playoff appearances for a Boston team since 1915-16.
Duquette, reached by The Berkshire Eagle in the Dominican Republic where he is consulting for a client on future players, admitted to being surprised the call came from Edes, a former Boston Globe Red Sox beat writer.
"It was like 'Wow,'" Duquette said. "I was surprised. Gordon Edes called my son Daniel to set it up. When Daniel was visiting, he was going to announce to the whole family that I got into the Hall of Fame. Gordon told the whole family that was around for Thanksgiving. It was a big moment for us."
Duquette was let go by the Red Sox when the John Henry group purchased the team. One year after that, Theo Epstein was installed in Duquette's spot, and continued the rebuilding that led to the World Series title.
Once, when Dan Duquette's cousin Jim was asked about losing the "interim" tag as New York Mets general manager, Jim Duquette said "We're all interim in this business."
And while Dan Duquette's tenure did not last as long as perhaps he had hoped, the former Red Sox GM said he is still happy he had time at Fenway Park.
"My family and everybody in Dalton, of course, are over the moon. They're all proud of the recognition," he said. "It's awesome and humbling to go into the Hall of Fame with Manny and Papi. The clinching game of the '04 World Series, that's pretty neat too."
Two of Duquette's biggest trades set the foundation of that 2004 championship team. On July 31, 1997, he traded closer Heathcliff Slocumb for catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Derek Lowe. Both had key roles in the 2004 title team. Later in 1997, Duquette sent pitching prospect Carl Pavano and outfield prospect Tony Armas Jr. to Montreal in exchange for Pedro Martinez. Martinez became the Sox pitcher of the decade and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
In addition, Duquette signed free agents Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon to contracts, and they were also key cogs in the 2004 championship team.
"Manny's one of my favorites. I'm so happy for him," Duquette said. "I've been trying to get in touch with him [in the Dominican] to congratulate him. What a terrific career."
Under Duquette, the Red Sox also drafted Nomar Garciaparra in 1994 and signed Tim Wakefield as a free agent in 1995 after he was released by the Pirates.
Jim Duquette, Dan's cousin, who now works for MLB Radio, said that having Dan go into the Red Sox Hall of Fame is great, and the fact that it's a New Englander going in, doubles the excitement.
"To become general manager of your hometown team, I know how much that meant to him," Jim Duquette said, when reached on Tuesday. "I still remember the time period when he was in Montreal, the Red Sox were calling for permission, and there was a little bit of a hold-up. It was such a unique opportunity. I just remember how big of a deal it was in his mind.
"Now, to finally find out that all those years he was the general manager, you're now going into the Hall of Fame? It doesn't get much better than that."
And not just for Dan Duquette.
"It was gratifying to see the curse lifted and the team win," he said. "That goes not only for my generation of the Duquettes, but it goes to four generations of the Duquettes.
"That was a long suffering for Red Sox fans everywhere."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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