Nick Cafardo passed away suddenly today at the Red Sox Spring Training Facilities in Fort Myers, Florida. He was 62 years old.
I’ve already paid my respects briefly on Twitter, but I wanted to say more, because Nick Cafardo, who wrote tens of thousands of words about baseball, deserves more than 240 characters on social media.
When I was a kid, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Friends of mine knew that they wanted to be singers, or athletes, or doctors, but I had no clue. Then, almost two years ago, I went to Opening Day 2017 at Fenway Park. That night, I wrote my first real baseball piece, “An Opening Day Without David Ortiz.”
Writing about baseball was like all the pieces of a puzzle fitting together; something I loved, something that inspired me, something I knew, something I was good at. I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Nick Cafardo was one of the few baseball writers I took the time to read every week. I loved his weekly baseball notes column, and his regular pieces, too, which were always written in a way that conveyed his warmth and genuine passion for the sport. As recently as yesterday, he wrote an article on World Series MVP Steve Pearce, one of the best midseason acquisitions in Sox history. I particularly loved this line:
The Red Sox identified the right guy. Not only because he was a good hitter vs. lefties, but because of what they had learned about him as a person.Boston Globe
Nick Cafardo wrote about baseball with his heart. But he could also write powerful statements, like this one from a piece on Craig Kimbrel this week:
The Sox have chosen Kimbrel as the superstar who will not be back with a championship team.Boston Globe
Nick’s knowledge of baseball made me smarter, and his writing inspired me to write better. I really don’t want to make this about myself, but I think that sharing what a person meant to you is a way of honoring them and showing the world how special and impactful their life was. I’m sure that Nick Cafardo impacted many people in countless ways, and I’d love to hear them; it’s how we keep a person’s memory alive.
I always wanted to meet Nick, but on the few occasions I was privileged to be in the Press Box last year, I chickened out. I’ll always regret not telling him how much he inspired this young woman trying to make her way in the sports world. But I’ll be forever grateful to him and his words, as I’m sure all of his readers are. My heart is with his family, friends, and fellow readers.
Red Sox Nation won’t be the same without you, Nick.
*Photo via Youtube