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October hero Steve Pearce completed AL East cycle with his beloved Sox

Steve was the eldest and most fanatical of the three Pearce boys, but Chad and Kyle weren’t far behind. Whenever they’d play Wiffle ball, they were always the Sox. Even though Steve was a right-handed shortstop obsessed with Nomar Garciaparra, he always hit lefty in those games, using the ultra-light plastic bat to practice his swing from the opposite side. He was always Mo Vaughn.

Years passed, and Steve Pearce got really good at swinging the bat, be it plastic, aluminum or wood. He got so good at swinging it that, in 2005, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw fit to draft him in the eighth round. He made his big league debut in 2007 and spent the next five seasons playing for the Bucs.nfl cheap jerseys nike That is, when he wasn’t hurt.

Every time Pearce felt like his career was gaining some momentum, an injury would crop up. At the end of the 2011 season, the Pirates decided they’d had enough of Pearce’s on-again, off-again relationship with the disabled list and cut ties. It was the beginning of his on-again, off-again relationship with, well, a lot of teams.8

On June 28 of this year, when Pearce was traded from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox, he became the sixth man in major league history to play for every team in the same division. He also became the second person to play for every club in the American League East. More importantly, as far as the Pearce brothers were concerned, he became the first member of the family to play for the home team.

“The best part was telling my brothers,” says Pearce of breaking the Boston news. He speaks with a slight Southern twang, the kind that might come in handy if a ballplayer were to ever find himself in an AL East clubhouse (or four) where concealing his New England roots could theoretically make his life just a little bit easier. “They always pulled for whatever team I was playing for, but deep down they were always Red Sox fans. To be able to tell them the news that I got traded to the Red Sox, that was a great feeling for me. They were pumped. nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap They were like, ‘Holy cow, you’re playing for the Red Sox!'”

To be sure, Pearce isn’t the first big leaguer to play for the team he grew up worshipping. Minnesota native Joe Mauer has spent the entirety of his 15-year career with the Twins. Maryland’s own Cal Ripken Jr. was a lifelong Oriole. Tony Gwynn (Padres) and Brandon Crawford (Giants) come to mind as well. But unlike each of those hometown heroes, Pearce’s path to Boston — the sports-crazed city that’s in his de facto DNA — was infinitely indirect and dappled with deprivation.