It seems so inconceivable now, after a World Series championship, two All-Star Game selections, three Gold Glove awards and $26 million in earnings that will more than double during the next three years with the Red Sox.
But Shane Victorino had to be talked out of quitting baseball.
It was 2004, and Victorino’s career was stuck in reverse. One year earlier, he had broken into the majors with the San Diego Padres. But by age 23, the speedy outfielder was back in the minor leagues, buried in Double A by the Los Angeles Dodgers and wondering if he had missed his best chance.
“I wasn’t having any fun,” Victorino recalled this week. “At that moment, it stuck in my mind that, hey, if I’m this frustrated and not having fun, it’s time for me to shut it down.”
So, after another hitless game, Victorino called his father back home in Hawaii and told him of his intentions. Maybe he would go to college. Perhaps he’d even return to playing football after having turned down a scholarship to be the kicker at the University of Hawaii.
Anything but baseball.
“We’re talking and he says, ‘I’m going to come home. I give up. I quit. I’m tired of all this,’” Mike Victorino said by phone. “Basically, he was feeling sorry for himself. To a point, I couldn’t disagree. It’s a disappointment. You make the majors, you work hard, but it doesn’t work out, the average wasn’t there. He didn’t feel like the Dodgers were giving him a true opportunity. So he says, ‘I want to come home and come back next year and start over.’ ”
And that’s when Mike Victorino, an insurance agent and Maui councilman, spoke the words that changed his son’s career.
Worth another chance
Boston Herald | Feb 20