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Former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Worcester Red Sox home opener at Polar Park on Tuesday. (Mac Cerullo/Boston Herald)
Former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Worcester Red Sox home opener at Polar Park on Tuesday. (Mac Cerullo/Boston Herald)

WORCESTER — In less than a week, members of the Red Sox 2004 World Series championship team will reunite at Fenway Park to be honored prior to the home opener. Most of the team will be in attendance, but two who won’t be are Tim Wakefield and Curt Schilling.

Wakefield and his wife Stacy both recently passed away after battling cancer, and the club plans to pay tribute to the pair as part of the pregame festivities as well. Schilling, who drew the ire of teammates and club officials after disclosing the Wakefields’ cancer diagnoses without their permission, was invited to participate but declined the offer in order to avoid taking any attention away from the Wakefields.

When news initially broke that Schilling had been invited, there was speculation that his presence might invite backlash from former teammates. But at least one member of the 2004 Red Sox says there wasn’t any kind of player pushback, with former outfielder Trot Nixon saying Tuesday that the whole situation was a shame but that Schilling’s presence wouldn’t have been a distraction, at least not to him.

“Everything that happened with that was very unfortunate and could’ve been worded differently, but hopefully there was no ill-will towards that,” said Nixon, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Polar Park for the WooSox home opener on Tuesday. “I still can’t believe when I say Timmy’s name that he’s not here and his wife Stacy, I believe Stacy really wanted the team to be together and considering everything they went through with that and Schill not being here, that’s his decision, it wasn’t anything that we asked for or anything like that.”

Nixon will be in attendance at Fenway Park next Tuesday, and for the former Red Sox outfielder the 2004 World Series championship still feels like it was just yesterday. The idea that the historic season’s 20th anniversary is coming up had never occurred to him, he said, until former teammate Derek Lowe mentioned it recently.

“It’s amazing how fast time flies,” said Nixon, who spent 10 of his 12 big league seasons in Boston. “I can’t believe it’s 20 years. It’s a reminder of how old I’m getting.”

Now 49, Nixon has settled into family life since his big league career ended after the 2008 season. These days he spends much of his time watching his sons Chase and Luke play Division 1 baseball at North Carolina State, but says he maintains a deep connection with the Red Sox and their fans, many of whom still stop him to bring up the 2004 championship to this day.

“When fans can recognize me now when I’m up here now, deep down it’s a tremendous appreciation,” Nixon said. “Even if I’m in North Carolina and I run across someone who is from Massachusetts and they stop me and quietly talk to me, I’m like wow, that’s amazing.”

In addition to throwing out the first pitch in Worcester on Tuesday and taking part in the Red Sox home opener next week, Nixon will also be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame later this spring alongside former teammates Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon.

“It was a dream come true,” Nixon said of his time in Boston. “Not only to win a championship but to be able to play in an atmosphere like Fenway Park for the 10 years I did, it was the greatest thrill.”