Nomar Garciaparra was glad to be back in Fenway Park, a place he called home.
During an on-field ceremony before Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels, the Red Sox honored the former shortstop and 1997 AL Rookie of the Year.
``First of all, I can't thank the Red Sox organization enough for having a day for me and bringing me back home where I belong,'' he said, after receiving a pair of Fenway seats - one with his No. 5 on it - and a commemorative watch from the team.
``I have so many friends here in that dugout that you cheer for everyday,'' he said, wearing a Red Sox jersey. ``I get to tell a nation and my family, `I love you.'''
The 36-year-old Garciaparra played nine seasons with the Red Sox, winning consecutive batting titles in 1999 and 2000. He was the first right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio to accomplish the feat.
He was the unanimous 1997 AL Rookie of the Year.
The club played a video tribute of his highlights on the center field scoreboard.
Garciaparra was sent to the Chicago Cubs at the trading deadline in 2004, the season the club went on to win its first World Series in 86 years.
Former teammates Kevin Youkilis, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek - as well as retired players Johnny Pesky, Trot Nixon, Brian Daubach and Lou Merloni were on hand. Garciaparra threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Varitek.
Garciaparra signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the club during spring training so he could retire in a Red Sox uniform. He hit .323 with 178 homers and 690 RBIs in the nine years with the organization.
After re-signing, Garciaparra announced he was leaving baseball to become an ESPN analyst, ending a 14-year career in which he was a six-time All-Star.