Ethics Hero: The Boston Red Sox

Hold onto this one, Derek.

They can’t play baseball very well right now, but the Boston Red Sox*, my home town team, currently in last place in the American League East, knows how to make an ethical and generous gesture of respect and gratitude.

It has been largely forgotten now, but pitcher Derek Lowe was a big disappointment to the Red Sox during the regular 2004 season, barely winning as many games as he lost and pitching to a high earned run average. In the play-offs and World Series, however, Lowe was as good as good as a starting pitcher could be, going 3-0 and winning the clinching games of both the team’s stunning comeback play-off series win over New York and it sweep of St. Louis to win Boston’s first World Championship since 1918.

Tired of Lowe’s inconsistency and unpredictability (he had a reputation of partying too hard, especially on road trips), the Red Sox let him leave as a free agent after the 2004 season. Since 2004 he has been for the Atlanta Braves what he often was for Boston: a sometimes brilliant starting pitcher with a deadly sinkerball, and for the Red Sox, a distant memory. Last season Lowe’s home was robbed, and among the more than $90,000 of baseball memorabilia that was stolen was his Championship ring from that 2004 season. His insurance covered the monetary loss, but the ring, Lowe’s personal symbol of his key role in a Historic sports event, was lost forever.

Last week, when he was in Boston with his latest team, the Cleveland Indians, Lowe beat the Red Sox as a starting pitcher, and later received a message from the Red Sox owners that they wanted to give him something. Then John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner, the trio of tycoons who have owned the team for a decade,  personally presented him with a 2004 World Series ring to replace the one that was stolen from his Florida home.

Lowe pronounced himself stunned. He also informed the media of the team’s generous and thoughtful act, which the Red Sox did not do. This wasn’t for PR, and it wasn’t part of any fan charm initiative. The Red Sox ownership remains grateful for what Derek Lowe did for their team, and felt they should demonstrate it.

Good work, guys.

Now hurry up and find some starting pitching.

* Full disclosure: The Boston Red Sox have been one of the primary obsessions of my life since 1962, and Fenway Park is my favorite place on Earth.


Pointer: NBC Sports


Graphic: Rings That Bling

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

14 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: The Boston Red Sox

  1. Awesome indeed. Class move, perfectly executed, for all the right reasons.

    Now, for the love of God, will someone PLEASE kidnap Bobby Valentine and send him to the McMurdo Antarctic Research Station?

      • I like smart, wise-ass managers… who win.

        I also like low-key, easy-going managers who win and subsequently get screwed. Like Tito.

        • Valentine will win. I’m taking bets far and wide that the Sox make the play-offs. Valentine can’t be blamed for injuries, or when good players play badly. You saw my post on Tito: when a team collapses like that, the general has to go. I loved him, and he was the best Sox manager of the (let’s see) 13 in my lifetime, but it was time. I had picked Bobby V before he was on the Sox radar as the perfect anti-Tito. Give him a chance.

              • The first Red Sox game I can remember watching was in the late 1950s, nestled in Grampy’s lap. And to your point, prior to 2004, I was of the belief that the Red Sox were anointed by God to remind New England of its Calvinist roots – that our reward would be in heaven, and not on this earth. I even entertained the notion that were the Red Sox to win a World Series the magnetic poles would catastrophically jump to positions along the Equator, and life on Earth as we knew it would be over (this, by the way, struck me as a reasonable trade).

                I suppose that since 2004, in part owing to the fact that life appears to continue, I have become less philosophical in my outlook. I don’t expect miracles, just a steady demonstration of competence – a commodity that has been in very short supply this year.

      • Jack, I know that I lack the baseball gene, and you likely pity me for it, but out of compassion, could you share something for my benefit and that of any other readers who are similarly baseball-challenged? Who are John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner? It’s not crucial to understanding the lesson of this story, I know, but I fear I will have a Lewis Black moment if I don’t find out.

        • John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner are the troika of mufti-millionaires who own the Boston Red Sox. All three owned other baseball teams at other times. Henry is the majority owner who supplies most of the cash; Lucchino is the team president. They were pretty much assembled by MLB to buy the team when it came up for sale, since the Boston franchise is a flagship of sorts and they didn’t want to see it hit a reef.

  2. This thread seems to have generated unusually deep and perceptive commentary on ethics issues.

    On the other hand, I suppose some people might argue that tearing down Fenway Park IS an ethics issue.

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