Dennis Eckersley is retiring from the NESN booth at the end of the season after 20 years.
"I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I really have," the former Hall of Fame pitcher told The Boston Globe. "Not that it matters, but it’s kind of a round number, leaving. I started in pro ball in ‘72, when I was a 17-year-old kid right out of high school. Fifty years ago. And I’ve been with NESN for 20 years, even though it doesn’t feel like that because I didn’t do much my first four or five years. So it’s time."
After Eckersley retires as a color analyst, he will move to California in October with his wife Jennifer to spend more time with his twin four-year-old grandchildren.
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"There are times in your life when you realize you’ve got to get on with it," Eckersley said. "Having grandkids in the Bay Area and visiting them in the offseason, that pushed me along. I just knew, you need to go and be with the kids. Those formative years, you need to be there."
The Hall of Fame pitcher will turn 68 in October and had considered "helicoptering in" next season for games occasionally, which NESN would have permitted. Eckersley said he decided against it because he believes the person with the role has to be "all-in."
"NESN has been really great to me," Eckersley said. "They let me be whoever I wanted to be. They let me be myself. They just let me do my thing. When you think about it, when it’s all over, said and done, what a great partnership this has been for me and the Red Sox and NESN. It was made in heaven. I was just talking to Jennifer about it, how it was a place that mirrored my passions. Perfect match."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dennis Eckersley to retire from NESN after 20 years