Here is the letter that arrived at our home a few hours prior to Theo, Jed and Larry opening up negotiations. Theo said he didn’t have a problem with it being published and I think it’s a pretty significant look into how the ownership and baseball operations people here in Boston do business.
Dear Curt and Shonda:
Usually the day before Thanksgiving is reserved for family and friends, for cleaning and cooking, for preparation and relaxation. I’m sure you both see enough of general managers and club presidents from February through October to last an entire year, and we know front office executives are not exactly the people anyone wants to see on their doorsteps the day before Thanksgiving. So we want to thank you both for graciously inviting us into your home today. We realize that this opportunity has not come at the most convenient time and we truly appreciate your hospitality and your willingness to meet with us.
It is clear that the Schillings and the Diamondbacks have formed a partnership. From afar, we have admired Curt’s accomplishments in an Arizona uniform and the incredible impact the whole family has had in the Phoenix community. We have the utmost respect for your roots here, and also for the full no-trade clause you negotiated into your current contract. In short, we know you don’t have to do this.
Why, then, did we leave our own families behind and fly here today? Well, we think that the Schillings and the Red Sox might just be another great fit – a perfect marriage – and we hope that we can demonstrate why. We are here to tell you all about the Red Sox: who we are, where we are going, and how we’re going to get there. We want to share our thoughts on everything from advance scouting to the way we set up our family room at the ballpark. We’ll discuss the neighborhoods where you might live and every inch of the old neighborhood ballpark you would call home. We’ll be honest about the small weight room and crowded clubhouse, but we’ll also tell you about Ted Williams’ old locker and the feeling you get walking up the ancient tunnel to greet 35,000 of the best fans in baseball. We want to tell you about the type of person and player we want to represent the Red Sox, and how we’re filling our clubhouse with them. We want to tell you all about the unparalleled passion of Red Sox Nation, and about how hard we are working to bring a World Championship to Boston. We’re sure you have hundreds of questions for us, and we’re here to do our best at providing answers.
Imagine how different Red Sox history might have been had you not been included in that fateful deadline deal with the Orioles in 1998. Even three years after the trade, when you were with Houston, our scouts were convinced they were right: “Still a thrower. Has arm strength but hasn’t learned a thing.” Now, 15 tears later, after 163 wins, a 3.33 lifetime ERA, two 20-win seasons, five All-Star Games, a World Championship, and a World Series MVP award, we have a chance to rewrite history. At 37 tears old, with a great resume and an even greater reputation, it’s clear to us that the next step in your career is baseball immortality. Baseball immortality –an enshrinement speech in Cooperstown, a plaque on the wall, a place alongside legends – is one of the reasons why the Schillings and the Red Sox are such a perfect fit. There is no other place in baseball where you can have as great of an impact on a franchise, as great an impact on a region, as great an impact on baseball history, as you can in Boston. It is hard to describe what the Red Sox mean to New England. The players who help deliver a title to Red Sox Nation will never be forgotten, their place in baseball history forever secure.
We are so close to the goal that has eluded us for 86 years. We would not have traded four talented young players or intruded upon your holiday if we did not sincerely believe that our time is coming very soon. The 2003 Red Sox were a talented and exciting team that came within five outs of reaching the World Series. As an ownership group and management team, we are committed to putting an even better team on the field in 2004 and beyond.
We assure you, the 2004 Red Sox will be an excellent team. We return eight of the nine regulars responsible for one of the best offenses in the history of baseball. The 2003 team had a .289 team batting average, scored 961 runs (nearly 6 per game), and broke the 1927 Yankees’ record for all-time slugging percentage (.491). To give you some personal context for this production, the terrific 1993 Phillies’ offense had a .274 team batting average, scored 877 runs, and had a team slugging percentage of .426.
Last winter, our goal was to create a lineup that would be relentless one through nine. This winter, our goal is to create a relentless pitching staff to match our offense. You are the key to this plan; in fact, you are the plan. The rotation, should you accept this trade, will be among the very best in baseball: Schilling, Martinez, Lowe, Wakefield, Kim (with Bronson Arroyo as the 6th Starter). The bullpen will also be strong. Williamson, Embree, and Timlin are all poised to have excellent seasons in 2004. In addition, we are close to signing Keith Foulke to become our closer and to lead this talented bullpen. With the pitching staff and a defensive upgrade at second base, Red Sox run prevention will match our run scoring.
Your place on the team and your potential place in history has been the focus of this letter. Your place in our community is of equal importance. The Red Sox organization is committed to using its prominence in Boston to promote charitable endeavors. Through The Jimmy Fund, the Red Sox are active supporters of cancer research at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Last season, for all 81 games, the Red Sox used the most sacred place in Fenway Park – the Green Monster – to celebrate its 50 years of partnership with The Jimmy Fund.
The altruism and the generosity you and Shonda have shown in fighting ALS and skin cancer is phenomenal. What better place to further research and understanding of these diseases than Boston, the medical capital of the world? The Boston Red Sox look forward to giving you the support and the forum necessary to help take these foundations to even higher levels. We are eager to discuss creative and effective ways to use our organization and our ballpark to raise money and awareness for these great causes.
Curt and Shonda, quite simply, we think this is a great match. The timing and the purpose are perfect for both of us. We hope you feel the same way and we look forward to discussing anything that can help make you and your family more comfortable with Boston. See you this afternoon…
The letter was signed by Larry and Theo. As a player here I can tell you that from the first day I was officially a member of this family, through the parade on Tuesday, they owned up to every letter of the contract. This ownership group has put together something special here, and their commitment to players and players families is a pretty big thing. They have been true to the word, which anyone that knows Mr Henry would not be surpised at, but more importantly you pretty much never question where you stand.