Jackie Bradley Jr. thanks 'Red Sox Nation' in touching letter to fans

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Darren Hartwell
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Jackie Bradley's open letter to Red Sox fans includes great reference originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Before suiting up for the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, Jackie Bradley Jr. took a moment to say goodbye to his former team.

The veteran outfielder, who signed a two-year contract with the Brewers in free agency this offseason after eight seasons with the Red Sox, penned a Players' Tribune letter to Boston fans Wednesday titled, "Dear Red Sox Nation."

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Bradley's short but sweet letter included his memories of coming up through the Red Sox' farm system and breaking into the big leagues in 2013 after two years in the minors.

"April 1, 2013 — eight years ago, tomorrow — was the beginning of a new chapter for my career. It’s one that would be filled with hardships and triumphs, but most importantly growth," Bradley wrote.

"From the Merloni Shuttle to the duck boat parades; from hitting slumps to hitting streaks; from All-Star Games to Gold Gloves; and from last-place finishes to World Series championships ... my baseball career in New England has been one that’s challenged me to always be present in the moment."

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What's the "Merloni Shuttle," you ask? That's a nod to former Red Sox infielder and Massachusetts native Lou Merloni, who garnered the (not-so-affectionate) nickname thanks to his frequent trips between Boston and Triple-A affiliate Pawtucket.

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Bradley managed to hop off the Merloni Shuttle, however, establishing himself as a starting center fielder whose brilliant defense made up for his streaky offense. The 30-year-old won two World Series in Boston and earned American League Championship Series MVP honors in 2018 to help power the Red Sox to a title.

Bradley didn't fit into the Red Sox' rebuild plans as they aim to get younger and conserve money for the long-term, but he'll be remembered as one of the classiest and most well-liked players to come through Boston in the past decade.