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Jerry Remy, Red Sox Player and Longtime Commentator, Dies at 68

Jerry Remy, the Boston Red Sox second baseman who became a fan favorite of Red Sox Nation as the team’s broadcast analyst for the last 34 years, died on Saturday. He was 68.

The cause was cancer, the Red Sox said. They did not say where he died.

Remy had been on leave from his color commentary post with NESN, the New England Sports Network, since early August when he underwent his seventh in a series of treatments for lung cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2008.

He had spoken out against smoking.

“I started smoking when I was 16 years old,” Remy said in a 2019 interview with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. “My saying is: ‘Don’t pick up the first one because it’s really tough to put down the last one.’”

Remy’s last appearance at Fenway Park was on Oct. 5 when he was driven in a cart to home plate before the American League wild-card playoff game against the Yankees on and threw out the first ball.

Gerald Peter Remy was born on Nov. 8, 1952, in Fall River, Mass., and grew up in nearby Somerset. He attended Roger Williams College (now Roger Williams University) in Bristol, R.I.

Remy was drafted by the California Angels in 1971, joined their minor league system, played for the Angels from 1975 to 1977 and then was traded to the Red Sox and spent seven seasons with them.

He was selected for the A.L. All-Star team in 1978 and finished the season with a .278 batting average and 30 stolen bases. In September 1981, he had six hits in a 20-inning game against the Seattle Mariners. He was also an outstanding defensive player.

Remy retired from baseball after missing the 1985 season with a knee injury. A left-handed batter with a slight frame at 5 feet 9 inches and 165 pounds, he had a .275 career batting average with seven home runs and 208 stolen bases. But his teams never reached the postseason.

Remy’s family life was marked by tragedy. In August 2013, his son Jared was arrested in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel. They had a daughter, Arianna Remy, who was 4 at the time. Jerry Remy said he felt “disgust and remorse,” sat out the rest of the season, and then returned to the broadcast booth in 2014.

Jared Remy pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Jerry Remy is survived by his wife, Phoebe; their children, Jenna, Jordan and Jared; and two grandchildren.

Remy was hired by NESN to broadcast Red Sox games in 1988. Known for his jocular persona, he was nicknamed RemDawg and was elected online by fans as the first president of the fan club Red Sox Nation late in the 2007 season.

“When you listened to him, it was as if you were having a beer with your best friend, and his insight, humor and charm lifted your spirits,” Tom Werner, the Red Sox chairman, said.

In another tribute, David Ortiz, the retired massively built slugger for the Red Sox, thanked Remy for giving him the nickname Big Papi.

Remy had hoped to become a coach or to hold some other position in organized baseball after retiring as a player.

“To end up in this career was never the formula,” Remy said in 2017 when he was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. “Then I got the job. I was scared to death. I had no idea what I was doing. And for the first two years, I would pray for rainouts because I hated myself. I mean, I could not stand myself on the air. It was horrible.

“But thank goodness I stayed with it because it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done.”

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