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Notebook: Varitek finally wins it all

Posted: Thursday October 28, 2004 2:04AM; Updated: Thursday October 28, 2004 2:04AM
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jason Varitek has come close to championships before. This time, he took home the big prize.

The Red Sox catcher is the second person to play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series and the major league World Series. After falling short in the previous two title games, Varitek helped Boston complete a four-game sweep of St. Louis with a 3-0 victory Wednesday night, clinching the team's first championship since 1918.

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"I'm happy for our fans," Varitek said. "This is just the greatest."

Varitek played for Altamonte Springs (Fla.) in the 1984 Little League World Series and led his team to the U.S. championship. He also played for Georgia Tech in the 1994 College World Series -- the Yellow Jackets also featured Nomar Garciaparra and Jay Payton but lost to Oklahoma in the title round.

The first person to play in all three was pitcher Ed Vosberg, who played in the Little League World Series in 1974 for the runner-up team from Tucson, Ariz., for the NCAA champions from the University of Arizona in 1980, and for the world champion Florida Marlins in 1997.

Game 4 on Wednesday night was also the first time in major league World Series history that Little League World Series participants faced each other as pitcher and batter.

Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis played for South Shore Little League of Staten Island, N.Y., in the 1991 Little League World Series, helping his team to a third-place finish. He pitched two shutouts for the U.S. East team, including a no-hitter against Canada.

We remember you: The Boston Red Sox have not forgotten Nomar Garciaparra.

Reports said the team voted a full playoff share to its former shortstop, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs in a deal that helped spark Boston's resurgence this season.

"I voted him to have a full share because he was a big part of us getting to the point we got," said pitcher Tim Wakefield, the team's longest-tenured player and its former union representative. "And I think he deserves it."

The five-time All-Star was one of the best players in Red Sox history, but was hurt by the team's attempts to trade him for Alex Rodriguez last offseason. When the deal fell through, Garciaparra remained in Boston.

He was sent to Chicago on July 31 for former Gold Glove winners Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. The Red Sox responded with improved defense that led them to the best record in baseball the rest of the way.

New England nemesis: St. Louis teams have been bedeviled by Boston for years.

The last time a pro team from St. Louis made it to the championship round in baseball, football, hockey and basketball, it lost to a squad from Boston.

"I'm very, very sick of them. You just want to scream," said Marianne Sutter, a St. Louis fan who roots for the hometown Cardinals, Rams and Blues. "They're definitely a thorn in our side."

The St. Louis Rams were favored by more than two touchdowns against New England in the 2002 Super Bowl, but the Patriots pulled off a 20-17 upset on Adam Vinatieri's last-second field goal from 48 yards out.

The Boston Bruins swept the Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup finals, clinching their first title in 29 years when Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr scored in overtime of Game 4. The play was captured in a famous photo of Orr flying through the air after his dramatic goal.

Even when St. Louis had professional basketball, Boston tormented the Gateway City. The St. Louis Hawks faced Bill Russell's Celtics in the championship series four times from 1957-61. The Hawks' only title came in '58. A decade later, they moved to Atlanta.

With the baseball season winding down and a lockout keeping the NHL on ice, St. Louis fans will soon turn their full attention to the Rams. Next up on the NFL schedule? The Patriots.

Silent treatment: Barry Bonds attended Game 4 of the World Series but refused to answer questions about a report that a tape recording alleges he used performance-enhancing drugs last year.

After receiving an award from commissioner Bud Selig and Hank Aaron, Bonds silently walked away as a reporter asked questions. ESPN's Harold Reynolds, the emcee for the presentation, would not entertain questions and attempted to block a reporter from following Bonds when the San Francisco Giants outfielder walked away after the presentation.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Oct. 16 that it obtained from an anonymous source a 9-minute recording it said was of Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, one of four people charged in a steroid scandal involving a Bay area nutritional supplements firm.

The speaker on the tape is heard saying Bonds used an "undetectable" performance-enhancing drug during the 2003 season and boasting that he would be tipped off up to two weeks before random drug testing, the newspaper said. Bonds has denied taking steroids.

Quite a collection: Among the items headed to the Hall of Fame after Boston's first World Series title since 1918 are Curt Schilling's spikes, the bat Johnny Damon used to hit a leadoff homer in Game 4, MVP Manny Ramirez's bat and Keith Foulke's spikes.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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