Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek announces his retirement from baseball during a news conference at the team's spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida, March 1, 2012.

As they did with Tim Wakefield after he retired, the Boston Red Sox will honor their former catcher Jason Varitek with a “Thanks, Tek Day” on July 21st.

Here’s the release from the Red Sox:

BOSTON, MA — The Boston Red Sox will honor Jason Varitek July 21 with ‘Thanks, Tek Day’ at Fenway Park. The club plays the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m. A pre-game ceremony tribute is expected to begin at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Named the 18th full-time captain in Red Sox history on December 24, 2004, Varitek was behind the plate in a club-record 1,488 contests.  He appeared in 15 seasons with the club, the fourth-longest tenured Red Sox ever who never played for another Major League team behind Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19) and Jim Rice (16).  Varitek announced his retirement March 1, 2012, at the Red Sox’ new Spring Training site, JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Lee County, Florida.

A three-time All-Star (2003, 2005 and 2008), Varitek was named the Red Sox Rookie of the Year in 1998 and won the club’s MVP Award in 2003.  The switch-hitter became the first Boston catcher ever to win a Silver Slugger Award when he received the honor in 2005, the same year he was also honored with a Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

Varitek won World Series Championships with Boston in 2004 and 2007 and is the club’s all-time postseason leader in games (63) and at-bats (228).  He also ranks second among Red Sox postseason leaders in runs (37), hits (54), doubles (12) and home runs (tied, 11), and is third in RBI (33).  Varitek is third in all-time postseason starts (58) and games at catcher (62), behind Jorge Posada (106, 119) and Yogi Berra (61, 63).

The 1999 winner of the Jackie Jensen Hustle Award from the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA and 2006 recipient of the Red Sox Heart and Hustle Award, Varitek has been an active participant in the Red Sox community outreach.  Through his Tek’s 33s ticket program, he invited patients from Children’s Hospital Boston to games throughout the season and met with the groups during batting practice.  He hosted an annual celebrity putt-putt event, which recently benefitted Journey Forward, a non-profit organization that aims to better the lives of those with spinal injuries, and often auctioned off specially designed game-worn catcher’s gear with proceeds going to Boston-area non-profit organizations.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: reuters pictures