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#58 Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon
- Closer
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6'4 Weight: 230 lbs.
Born on November 23, 1980 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
MLB Debut
July 31, 2005 for the Boston Red Sox
Picked no. 114th overall in round 4 of the 2003 draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Career Statistics
Updated October 12, 2019
Saves     368
Strikeouts     808
ERA     2.44
Career Highlights and Awards
  • 6x All-Star (2006-2009, 2012, 2015)
  • 1x World Series Champion (2007)
  • Delivery Man of the Year (2007)
  • Pitched a combined no-hitter on September 1, 2014

Jonathan Robert Papelbon (born November 23, 1980 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is a retired closer in Major League Baseball (MLB). He bats and throws right-handed.

Papelbon was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2003 out of Mississippi State.[1] Papelbon throws a fastball clocked as high as 100 mph, typically hitting the top-90s, with great command. He complements his fastball with a devastating splitter, and may throw the occasional slider, changeup, or curveball with far less frequency.

He was the Red Sox closer during most of 2006. In early September, Papelbon injured his shoulder; when the Red Sox were eliminated from playoff contention, he was "shut down" for the rest of the season to rest. Papelbon was being groomed to be part of the Red Sox starting rotation because of his shoulder problems, but was later moved back to the bullpen before the start of the season and remained the team's closer.[2] On August 21, 2007, Papelbon had his 30th save of the season making him the first Boston pitcher to ever have two 30-save seasons.

Jonathan is the older brother of twins Joshua Papelbon, pitcher for the Lancaster Jethawks, Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and Jeremy Papelbon, pitcher for the Daytona Cubs, Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.


High school[]

Papelbon was a three-time All-City honoree while playing in high school for Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida.[3]

College: Mississippi State[]

Papelbon was a closer for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He had a 9-6 record, 13 saves, and 2.90 ERA in his three years on the team in relief.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Major Leagues[]

Papelbon was drafted in the fourth round in 2003, a year after the Oakland Athletics picked him in the 40th round. He did not sign because he wanted one more year in college to pitch and a chance to get to the College World Series, which his team failed to do. The Philadelphia Phillies had called him in round six to ask if he’d sign if they drafted him, but he rejected the offer. Finally, the Red Sox drafted him the next year in the fourth round.

Papelbon made his major league debut with the Red Sox on July 31, 2005 against the Minnesota Twins, in which he went 5+13 innings, struck out seven batters, and issued five walks in Boston's 4-3 victory. He did not receive a decision. He earned his first major league win on September 12, 2005, pitching three scoreless innings in an extra-inning game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In two postseason appearances in 2005, he pitched four scoreless innings against the eventual World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox had plans of slotting Papelbon into their starting rotation prior to the regular season in 2006. However, the incumbent closer, Keith Foulke, proved to be ineffective trying to come back from an injury-plagued 2005.

In April 2006, he changed his hair to a Mohawk style, after Charlie Sheen's character Ricky Vaughn from the film Major League due to a wager with teammate Kevin Youkilis in which they bet whether he could start the season with 10 scoreless innings.[4]

On April 5, the second game of the 2006 season, Papelbon recorded his first career save in Texas. On April 29, 2006, he set a major league record with his 10th save, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. No rookie in major league baseball history had recorded that many saves in the month of April.

The 25-year-old closer finished 2006 with one of the most dominant seasons ever for a rookie reliever. Papelbon saved 35 games, struck out 75 batters in 68 innings, and held opposing batters to a .167 batting average.

On October 11, 2007, Papelbon was named the 2007 winner of the "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award." Papelbon garnered 39,043 votes out of almost 125,000 votes cast.

After the Boston Red Sox clinched the American League East title in 2007, Papelbon celebrated the victory by Irish step dancing in the middle of the Fenway Park diamond to the Dropkick Murphys' song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston". Following the Red Sox American League Championship Series victory, he repeated his dance performance on the field with members of the Murphys. For a third time, Papelbon did his dance on a flat bed truck with the World Series trophy over his head along with the Murphys playing live during the Sox' Championship "Rolling Rally" Parade.

In late 2007 on Dan Patrick's radio show, David Ortiz revealed a friendly clubhouse wager that stated that Papelbon must perform his signature celebratory dance on demand for people wearing Boston Red Sox apparel. Terms of the bet were not disclosed, but it is rumored that Ortiz wagered 20 cases of Vitamin Water against Papelbon's offer of 1 free car from The Westville Motorsports Megastore, a local dealership he endorses.

In Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, he entered in the 8th inning to shut down the Colorado Rockies comeback, and pitched until the 9th where he threw the game-winning strikeout for the Red Sox as they clinched the 2007 Championship.


On March 6, 2008 Papelbon agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox for $775,000. The deal is the most lucrative ever for a closer not eligible for salary arbitration, topping Mariano Rivera's previous record by $25,000. Boston was under no obligation to pay Papelbon more than the league minimum of $390,000. [5]

Personal life[]

Papelbon is married to actress Ashley Jefferies and they reside in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His mother, Sheila, played softball at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and his father, John, is the Deputy Director of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, Florida. He appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on October 31, 2007, after the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series. He currently resides in Wayland, Massachusetts. On December 20, 2007, Papelbon claimed that his dog "Boss", chewed up the ball that recorded the final out of the 2007 World Series.[6]

Career statistics[]

Year Team League G/GS W-L ERA IP SV/SVO R ER BB K
2005 BOS AL 17/3 3-1 2.65 34.0 0/1 11 10 17 34
2006 BOS AL 59/0 4-2 0.92 68.1 35/41 8 7 13 75
2007 BOS AL 59/0 1-3 1.85 58.1 37/40 12 12 15 84
  • Selected to the 2006 American League All-Star Team
  • Selected to the 2007 American League All-Star Team
  • Selected to the 2008 American League All-Star Team
  • Selected to the 2009 American League All-Star Team
  • Selected to the 2012 American League All-Star Team
  • Selected to the 2015 American League All-Star Team
  • Holds the single-season record for most saves in a season by a Red Sox rookie (2006).
  • Second in 2006 American League Rookie of the Year voting to Justin Verlander.
  • First pitcher in Red Sox franchise history to have two separate 30 save seasons.


  1. Boston Red Sox prospects: Jon Papelbon profile. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  2. Boston Red Sox press release: "Papelbon to return as closer." Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  3. MLB official player profile. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  4. Boston Herald: "A hair-raising incident: Papelbon takes wild walk on Mohawk trail." Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  5. ESPN: "Red Sox re-sign Papelbon for one year, $775,000" Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  6., Papelbon's dog reportedly ate World Series ball, Shaun Best, Reuters 12/20/2007

External links[]