Tagged: Luis Tiant

Curse..? Bambino..? What is it you speak of?

Jacoby Ellsbury is just the latest in a long line of Red Sox who have defected (or been shipped to… let’s be fair) to the Bronx.

Ruth Sox profile

Yes, Babe Ruth is most famous and spawned the 86 year ‘curse’ that generations of New Englanders swore would (and in many cases did) outlive them.  But to be quite serious and objective… The Babe was hardly alone.

Herb Pennock: Somewhat overshadowed by his corpulent teammate (see above), the Hall of Fame lefty went from serviceable starter with the Sawx to an ace for a Bombers ballclub that won its first World Series title in 1923 … and a few more after that.

Pennock Sox

Sad Sam Jones: Jones, dealt to Boston for Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, won 23 games for the Sox in 1921. So of course that December he was traded to the Yankees. Jones had a bumpy ride in the Bronx, but he did post 21 wins and a no-hitter for the 1923 champs.

Sad Sam Jones

Joe Dugan: Boston shipped Jumping Joe to New York midway through the 1922 season, and there he helped the Yanks win their second AL pennant. He’d play in five World Series in pinstripes overall. (The Bombers won three of them.)

Dugan Red Sox

Waite Hoyt: In case you thought the ’20s weren’t rough enough for Red Sox fans, this Hall of Fame hurler joined the Yanks in 1921 after two seasons in Boston, averaging 18 wins over the next eight seasons and winning a league-high 22 games for the famed ’27 Bombers.

Red Ruffing: Ruffing lost 20-plus games two years in a row for the Red Sox in 1928 and ’29 — then won 20 or more for the Yankees in four straight seasons, starting in 1936, en route to the Hall of Fame.

Ruffing Red Sox

Sparky Lyle: Lyle won a Cy Young in 1977 and played on two Yankees title teams. The guys the Bombers traded for him? Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero, who hit a collective .252 in Boston and never played more than 93 games in any of their seasons with the Sox.

Luis Tiant: Unlike the previous players on our list, Tiant joined the Yankees in the twilight of his career, winning 21 games in two seasons in the Bronx (1979 and ’80) after spending several years as the ace of the Red Sox.

Wade Boggs: Boggs put up most of his numbers in Boston, but when it came time for the Hall of Fame third baseman to finally win a title, he did it in the Bronx — famously riding around Yankee Stadium on a horse in 1996.

Roger Clemens: Rocket won three Cy Young Awards in Boston, compared to just one with the Yankees. But two World Series titles (in 1999 and 2000) in the Bronx more than made up for it.

Clemens Sox

Tom Gordon: Flash became a folk hero in Boston as a starter turned All-Star closer in 1998. He even helped inspire a Stephen King novel, “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.” Did that girl become a Yankees fan when he joined the Bombers’ bullpen six years later?

Doug Mientkiewicz: Eye Chart’s career doesn’t stack up against many of the players on our list, but when the Red Sox finally won a title in 2004, he was the toast of Beantown. The Yanks picked him up in 2007 after he’d had season-long stints with the Mets and Royals.

Johnny Damon: The Caveman tormented the Yanks while a Sox star on the ’04 champs — then crushed Boston fans when he went clean-shaven and signed with the Bombers in 2006. His baserunning heroics in the 2009 World Series won’t soon be forgotten, by either fan base.

Derek Lowe: Lowe was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, helping the Sox break the Bambino’s curse. After pitching for the Dodgers, Braves and Indians, Lowe signed with the Yankees midway through the 2012 season.

Kevin Youkilis: Youk became a Yank prior to the 2013 season, but a back injury limited The Greek God of Walks to just 28 games (and eight bases on balls, if you’re scoring at home).

Youk Sox Road

Let’s Revisit: #24, RF, Dwight ‘Dewey’ Evans (Re-Post from 1/5/12)

Well, New Year’s usually signals a few things in the baseball universe.  The Hot Stove Season is reaching its stretch run.  The thought of Spring Trading begins to warm the soul.  And perhaps more controversially, The Hall of Fame announcement is upon us.

Every year, we look to the BBWAA to give us a reason to cheer, p!ss and moan or just grit our teeth and throw up our hands with the whole damn process.  After all, the guys you love don’t get their recognition, the guys you hate seem to ‘slide’ in and guys you just couldn’t care about grab some spotlight.  But we’re used to it.

However, in the last few years, the landscape has changed.  The Steroid Era has shed a new light upon players who for lack of ‘super’ stardom, media attention and just plain ‘average’ consistency were overlooked, passed-up or underappreciated for their efforts.  Players such as Ron Santo (finally, but posthumously) have received their Veterans Committee due, while players like Keith Hernandez, Dwight Evans, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines have been on the outside looking in.  With PED playboys like Big Mac, Sammy Sosa, Palmero and Jeff Bagwell (rightly or not, the shadow covers him) taking up space on the ballot, it let’s periphery guys like Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith and Jack Morris get a little more time in the thought process over all.  Unfortunately, Donnie Baseball and Murphy were superstars who produced consistently but for a shorter span of time (unfortunately, the beloved Luis Tiant may fall into this category) .  Smith was a journeyman who, though possessing all the qualities of a big, menacing closer, seems to have been hurt by his many stops around the league and having no definitive ‘superstar moment’.  Jack Morris… well, he’s a borderline a Hall of Famer.  Yes, he won 20 plus games three times and played on World Series winning teams, catching media spotlight fire with the ’91 Twins & ’92 Jays for example, but he wasn’t the cog that ran the gears.        

Then there’s Edgar Martinez.  Easily one of the better hitters of his era (amidst the Steroid Era) who may have more than one glaring mark against him.  First, he played in Seattle (yes, so did Griffey Jr., A-Rod and Randy Johnson… but they left), not a media market or a perennial contender.  Second, and most importantly, he played the majority of his career as a Designated Hitter.  Oh, my error, the Designated Hitter.   A standard set so high, the annual award for best DH in the AL is the Edgar Martinez Award.  But, DH doesn’t count, it’s an imaginary position created by the Wizard of Oz (you know, a designated spot in the batting order to allow aging, over-the-hill superstars who couldn’t field a position some twilight time to earn a paycheck and pad the HOF stats) and doesn’t deserve consideration.  They’re part timers.  A pinch-hitter who gets off the bench four or five times a day.  Who cares if he produces HOF numbers, right?

So, let’s take a look at one of the most under-appreciated members of the Boston Red Sox: Dwight Evans.  (keep in mind these are his totals during his 19 year tenure with the Scarlett Hose.  Dewey finished his career with a one year stint in Baltimore.)

  •     Games played:  2505       Rank: 2nd  (1st: Yaz / 3rd Ted)
  •     Hits: 2373                          Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th Boggs)
  •     Average: .272                    Rank: Outside top 10  ( Yaz .285 / Doerr .288)
  •     RBI: 1346                           Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th: Doerr)
  •     HR: 379                              Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th: Ortiz*)
  •     Runs: 1435                         Rank: 3rd  (2nd: Ted / 5th: Rice)
  •     Base on Balls: 1337          Rank: 3rd  (2nd: Yaz / 4th: Boggs)
  •     OPS:  .842                          Rank: Outside top 10 (Yaz has an .841 / Rice .854)

So, looking at the numbers,  we see obvious questions and answers to the argument.  He is, for the most part, sandwiched between teammates who are enshrined in Cooperstown (Captain Carl, Jim Ed., Boggs) and legendary HOF’ers like Ted and Bobby Doerr.  The second half of his career was statistically more productive than the first and was consistently so until his retirement.  During years when players begin winding down, Dewey was in cruise control and producing at a steady clip.

Was he overshadowed?  An integral member of the 1975 team, he was a lesser star than Yaz, Tiant, Pudge, Lee and The Goldust Twins.  After Lynn and Fisk went West, Tiant let go, Yaz retired and guys like Eck and Lansford come and gone, it was Dewey who came into his own offensively while continuing his defensive excellence.  Again, superstars surrounded him.  Rice, Hurst, Boggs Buckner and Clemens.  Evans simply continued to perform.

During the 1980′s (the latter half of his MLB career which officially began in 1972)  in his playing age years of 28 (1980) through age year 37 (1989):

  •      3 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Hits.
  •      4 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Doubles.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in RBI.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in HR, leading the league in 1981.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in OPS% , leading the league twice.
  •      6 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Runs scored, leading the league in 1984.
  •      7 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Bases on Balls, leading the league three times.

Evans appeared on the AL MVP ballot 5 times (all in the 1980’s) with 4 times placing in the top 10.  Finished 3rd over-all in 1981 behind winner Rollie Fingers and Ricky Henderson.

8 Gold Gloves.  3 All-Star Games.  2 Silver Sluggers.

His lifetime WAR (wins above replacement) is 61.8  (Mind you, this currently ranks 141st ALL TIME in MLB)

Looking at his basic stats or his Sabermetric stats place him in an above average category.  Dwight was included on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot in 1997 (5.9%), 1998 (10.4%) and 1999 (3.6%) before dropping off due to insufficient support under the official rules of balloting (under 5% in a given year or reaching 15th year on ballot).  His election, like that of Ron Santos’, would be a Veterans committee pick.  Currently a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, Dwight’s number 24 (originally 40 as a rookie) is still in circulation.

Fact or Fiction… ?

Well, Congrats to Barry Larkin, the singular inductee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for 2012.

Now comes the hard part.  The 2013 Ballot will be flooded in worthy, clouded and questionable candidates. Of the first year candidates hitting the ballot for 2012, only Bernie Williams, @ 9.6%, earned enough votes (above 5%) to remain on the ballot for next year.  Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell made fairly significant increases in their percentage numbers, however a few of those numbers will look to drop as ‘hold-overs’ tend to dip when big name newbies hit the ballot.  Those names will include;

  •    Barry Bonds: OF Pittsburgh, San Fransisco
  •    Roger Clemens: RHSP Boston (A), Toronto, New York (A), Houston
  •    Mike Piazza: C/DH Los Angeles (N), Florida, New York (N), San Diego, Oakland
  •    Curt Schilling: RHSP Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia (N), Arizona, Boston (A)
  •    Kenny Lofton: CF/OF Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago (A), San Fransisco, Chicago (N), Pittsburgh,  New York (A), Philadelphia (N), Los Angeles (N), Texas
  •     David Wells: LHSP Toronto, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, New York (A), Chicago (A), San Diego,  Boston (A), Los Angeles (N)
  •     Sammy Sosa: OF/DH Texas, Chicago (A), Chicago (N), Baltimore
  •     Craig Biggio: C/2B/OF Houston

Now, looking at the list, one doesn’t see a first ballot inductee (as opposed to the 2013 ballot and Greg Maddux’ 1st year of eligibility).  Both Bonds and Clemens carry the statistics of greatness but are deeply embroiled in the PED issue due to various and on-going reasons.  Piazza, arguably one of the greatest offensive catchers in the game, played in the Steroid Era and, like Bagwell, will have to endure.  Craig Biggio and Kenny Lofton were big-name stars but are on the bubble at best.  Sammy Sosa, like McGwire and Palmeiro, will probably earn enough votes to stay on the ballot as voters continue to judge the Steroid Era for its’ fact and fiction.  David Wells, well who knows.  He’ll probably survive to the next ballot but with Schilling taking some votes away and Jack Morris still on it, who can say for sure?

So let’s take a look at what appears to be the next great debate;  Curt Schilling versus Jack Morris.

Some say that Curt cannot get into the Hall if Jack Morris is excluded and vice-versa.  Others believe that a few of their average to just above average regular seasons give way to their post-season efforts, while experts contend that the HOF isn’t based wholly on post-season theatrics.  As Brian Kenney of Clubhouse Confidential put it, “Many people mistake Jack Morris for being the post-season pitcher Curt Schilling actually was.”  So, let’s see where this takes us.

  •                                  Luis Tiant (19)         Jack Morris (18)         Curt Schilling (20)         David Wells (21)
  • Wins/Losses(%):  229/172 (.571)            254/186 (.577)              216/146 (.597)              239/157 (.604)
  • ERA:                                3.30                               3.90                                 3.46                                4.13
  • ERA+:                              115                                 105                                   128                                 108
  • Strikeouts:                     2416                               2478                                3116                               2201
  • K/BB:                              2.19                                1.78                                 4.38                                 3.06
  • WAR:                               60.1                               39.3                                 69.7                                 50.7

Well, those are the basics.  Wells is eliminated on ERA alone.  At 3.90, Morris has the highest ERA of any legitimate Hall of Fame candidate and if elected, would have the highest ERA for a starter.  Wells played for some great teams and Championship teams to accumulate that winning percentage, including some great personal accolades and 3 All-Star appearances, but he’s out.

Now let’s take a look at the post-season stats in the three-horse race.

  •                                     Luis Tiant (3 Series)         Jack Morris (7 Series)         Curt Schilling (12 Series)
  • Wins/Losses (%):            3/0 (1.000)                             7/4 (.636)                                 11/2 (.846)
  • ERA:                                        2.86                                          3.80                                            2.23
  • Innings Pitched                     34.2                                           92.1                                            133.1
  • Strikeouts:                                20                                              64                                              120
  • K/BB:                                       1.82                                           2.00                                           4.80

Tiant broke through in 1968, after he altered his delivery so that he turned away from the home plate during his motion, in effect creating a hesitation pitch. According to Tiant, the new motion was a response to a drop in his velocity due to an arm injury. Twisting and turning his body into unthinkable positions, Tiant would spend more time looking at second base than he did the plate as he prepared to throw. In that season, he led the league in ERA (1.60), shutouts (9, including 4 consecutive!), hits per nine innings (a still-standing franchise record 5.30, which broke Herb Score’s 5.85 in 1956 and would be a Major-League record low until Nolan Ryan gave up 5.26 hits/9 innings in 1972), strikeouts per nine innings (9.22, more than a batter an inning), while finishing with a 21–9 mark. Beside this, opposing hitters batted just .168 off Tiant, a major league record, and on July 3 he struck out 19 Minnesota Twins in a ten-inning game, setting an American League record for games of that length. His 1.60 ERA was the lowest in the American League since Walter Johnson’s 1.49 mark during the dead-ball era in 1919, and second lowest in 1968 only to Bob Gibson’s 1.12—the lowest ever during the Live Ball Era.

Known as El Tiante at Fenway Park, in 1972 Tiant regained his old form with a 15–6 record and led the league with a 1.91 ERA on his way to winning the Comeback Player of the Year award. He would win 20 games in 1973 and 22 in 1974. Though hampered by back problems in 1975, he won 18 games for the American League Champion Red Sox and then excelled for Boston in the postseason. In the playoffs he defeated the three-time defending World Champion Oakland Athletics in a 7–1 three-hitter complete game, then opened the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. His father and mother, having been allowed to visit from Cuba under a special visa, were in Fenway Park that game to watch their son defeat The Big Red Machine in a 6–0 five-hit shutout. All six Red Sox runs were scored in the seventh inning; Tiant led off that inning (the designated hitter was not yet in use in World Series play) with a base hit off Don Gullett and eventually scored on Carl Yastrzemski’s single for the first of those six runs.  Tiant won Game 4 as well (throwing 163 pitches in his second complete game in the series) and had a no-decision in Game 6, which has been called the greatest game ever played, after Carlton Fisk’s dramatic game-winning walk-off home run in the 12th inning.

In his 19-season career, Tiant compiled a 229–172 record with 2416 strikeouts, a 3.30 ERA, 187 complete games, and 49 shutouts in 3,486.1 innings. Tiant is one of five pitchers to have pitched four or more consecutive shutouts in the 50-year expansion era, with Don Drysdale (six, 1968), Bob Gibson (five, 1968), Orel Hershiser (five, 1988) and Gaylord Perry (four, 1970) being the others.  He was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

  •      4 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in ERA, leading the league twice.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Wins.
  •      7 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Shutouts, leading the league 3 times.
  •      8 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Strikeouts.

3 All-Star Games.  4 time 20 game winner.  3 times appearing on the American League Cy Young balloting, twice finishing in the top five.  4 times appearing on the AL Most Valuable Player ballot, twice finishing in the top ten.

Jack Morris played in 18 big league seasons between 1977 and 1994, mainly for the Detroit Tigers, and won 254 games throughout his career.  Armed with a fastball, slider, devastating splitter and a fierce competitive spirit, Morris played on three World Championship teams (1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins, and 1992 Blue Jays). While he gave up the most hits, earned runs and home runs of any pitcher in the 1980s, he also started the most games, pitched the most innings and was the winningest pitcher of the decade.  On April 7, 1984 Morris no-hit the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park.  In 1986, Morris racked up 21 wins, but was overshadowed by eventual Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox.  Despite a sub par season in 1989 when he won only 6 games, he still finished as the winningest major league pitcher of the 1980s, with 162 wins during the decade.

In 1991, Morris signed a one-year contract with his hometown Minnesota Twins. He enjoyed another great season, posting 18 wins as Minnesota faced the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Morris started for the Twins three times, with his final outing being Game 7. In a postseason performance for the ages, the 36-year-old hurler, known throughout his career as a clutch “big game” pitcher, lived up to his billing by throwing 10 innings of shutout baseball against the Braves as the Twins won the World title on a 10th inning single by Gene Larkin that scored Dan Gladden.  Morris was named the World Series MVP for his fantastic performance.  Following the 1991 season, Morris spurned the Minnesota Twins, his hometown team, and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He earned 21 wins for the second time in his career (and the first ever 20-win season for a Blue Jays pitcher), though he rode the wave of superior run support from his offense, given his 4.04 ERA that year. The Blue Jays reached the 1992 World Series against the Braves and despite a sub par World Series performance, he won a third championship ring as Toronto beat Atlanta in six games. He won a fourth in 1993, as the Blue Jays repeated as World Champions with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Morris did not pitch in the postseason, however.

  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in ERA.
  •      8 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Strikeouts.
  •      8 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Shutouts, leading the league in 1986.
  •      10 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Complete Games, leading the league in 1990.
  •      12 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Wins, leading the league twice.

5 All Star Games.  3 Time 20 game winner.  Appearing on the AL Cy Young ballot 7 times, 5 time finishing in the top five.  Morris appeared 5 times on the AL Most Valuable Player ballot, twice finishing in the top 15.  4 Time World Series Champion including the 1991 World Series MVP award.

During the Phillies’ pennant run in 1993, Schilling went 16–7 with a 4.02 ERA and 186 strikeouts.  Schilling led the Phillies to an upset against the two-time defending National League champion Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Although he received no decisions during his two appearances in the six-game series, Schilling’s 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts (including the first 5 Braves hitters of Game 1, an NLCS record) were enough to earn him the 1993 NLCS Most Valuable Player Award.  After losing Game 1 of the WS to the Toronto Blue Jays, he pitched brilliantly in his next start. With the Phillies facing elimination the day after losing a bizarre 15–14 contest at home in Veterans Stadium, Schilling pitched a five-hit shutout that the Phillies won, 2–0.  Schilling was named to the NL All-Star team in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and started the 1999 game.

With Arizona, he went 22–6 with a 2.98 ERA in 2001, leading the majors in wins and innings pitched. He also went 4–0 with a 1.12 ERA in the playoffs. In the 2001 World Series, the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in seven games. Schilling shared the 2001 World Series MVP Award with teammate Randy Johnson. He and Johnson also shared Sports Illustrated magazine’s 2001 “Sportsmen of the Year” award. During the World Series Schilling received two other honors, as he was presented that year’s Roberto Clemente and Branch Rickey Awards, the first Arizona Diamondback so honored for either award.  In 2002, he went 23–7 with a 3.23 ERA. He struck out 316 batters while walking 33 in 259.1 innings. On April 7, 2002, Schilling threw a one-hit shutout striking out 17 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both years he finished second in the Cy Young Award voting to Johnson.

On September 16, 2004, Schilling won his 20th game of 2004 for the Red Sox, becoming the fifth Boston pitcher to win 20 or more games in his first season with the team, and the first since Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in 1978. Schilling ended his regular season with a 21–6 record.  On October 19, 2004, Schilling won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.  Notably, he won this game playing on an injured ankle—the same injuries that contributed to his disastrous outing in Game 1 of the ALCS.  These injuries were so acute that by the end of his performance that day his white sock was soaked with blood, which is now referred to as “the bloody sock”.  Schilling was once again runner-up in Cy Young voting in 2004, this time to Minnesota Twins hurler Johan Santana.  Later, the entire Red Sox team was named Sports Illustrated’s 2004 Sportsmen of the Year, making Schilling only the second person to have won or shared that award twice.  For the 2006 season, Schilling was said to be healthy.  He began the season 4–0 with a 1.61 ERA. He finished the year with a 15–7 record and 198 strikeouts, with a respectable 3.97 ERA.  On May 27, he earned his 200th career win, the 104th major league pitcher to accomplish the feat.  On August 30, Schilling collected his 3,000th strikeout. On June 7, 2007, Schilling came within one out of his first career no-hitter. Schilling gave up a two-out single to Oakland’s Shannon Stewart, who lined a 95-mph fastball to right field for the A’s only hit.  He earned his third win of the 2007 playoffs in Game 2 of the 2007 World Series leaving after 5 1/3 innings, striking out four while allowing only four hits. With this win, he became only the second pitcher over the age of 40 to start and win a World Series game (Kenny Rogers became the first just one year prior). As Schilling departed in the 6th inning, fans at Fenway Park gave Schilling a standing ovation.

Schilling has the highest ratio of strikeouts to walks of any pitcher with at least 3,000 strikeouts, and is one of four pitchers to reach the 3,000-K milestone before reaching 1,000 career walks. The other three who accomplished this feat are Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, and former Boston Red Sox ace and teammate Pedro Martínez.

  •      1 time finished in the top 10 in the AL in Wins, leading the league in 2004.
  •      2 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Strikeouts.
  •      4 times finished in the top 10 in the NL in Wins, leading the league in 2001.
  •      7 times finished in the top 10 in the NL in Strikeouts, leading the league twice.
  •      8 times finished in the top 10 in the NL in ERA (1 time in the American League).
  •      10 times finished in the top 10 in the NL in Complete Games, leading the league 4 times.
  •      10 times finished in the top 10 in the NL in Shutouts (1 time in the American League).

6 All Star Games.  2 time 20 game winner.  Schilling appeared on a total of 4 Cy Young Award Ballots (3 National/ 1 American) finishing second 3 times.  He appeared on the Most Valuable Player ballot 4 times (3 National / 1 American) finishing in the top 10 twice.  3 time World Series Champion including a 1993 NLCS MVP award and 2001 World Series MVP award.  A Roberto Clemente Award/Branch Rickey Award/Babe Ruth Award winner in 2001.

At the end of the day, it becomes a two-horse race, my sentimental favorite Mr. Tiant dropping off.  But as we have seen, there are questions, answers and some of the numbers are deceiving.  Yes, Morris has some great numbers but has negatives to go along with them.  For all the experts who tout Jack’s big game post-season prowess, Curt buries him.  Sure, Morris has four WS titles, but pitched below average in one and didn’t even pitch in another.  The big 1991 performance against the Braves?  The Bloody Sock game in 2004.  Looking past Morris’  wins and the fact he has more losses, Schilling sports a higher win percentage.  Who played for more perennial contenders?  Who played for better run producers?  And on and on…..

The questions will wage on, but the timetable is fairly limited, adding more fuel to the fire.  This year marked Morris’ 13th on the ballot, leaving two more attempts.  In two years, this could be a battle for the ‘Golden Age’ Committee or Veterans committee or whatever the guys who keep deserving but still breathing players out of the hall, therefore keeping their divided annual shares in tact, call themselves.

#24, RF, Dwight ‘Dewey’ Evans

Well, New Year’s usually signals a few things in the baseball universe.  The Hot Stove Season is reaching its stretch run.  The thought of Spring Trading begins to warm the soul.  And perhaps more controversially, The Hall of Fame announcement is upon us.

Every year, we look to the BBWAA to give us a reason to cheer, p!ss and moan or just grit our teeth and throw up our hands with the whole damn process.  After all, the guys you love don’t get their recognition, the guys you hate seem to ‘slide’ in and guys you just couldn’t care about grab some spotlight.  But we’re used to it.

However, in the last few years, the landscape has changed.  The Steroid Era has shed a new light upon players who for lack of ‘super’ stardom, media attention and just plain ‘average’ consistency were overlooked, passed-up or underappreciated for their efforts.  Players such as Ron Santo (finally, but posthumously) have received their Veterans Committee due, while players like Keith Hernandez, Dwight Evans, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines have been on the outside looking in.  With PED playboys like Big Mac, Sammy Sosa, Palmero and Jeff Bagwell (rightly or not, the shadow covers him) taking up space on the ballot, it let’s periphery guys like Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith and Jack Morris get a little more time in the thought process over all.  Unfortunately, Donnie Baseball and Murphy were superstars who produced consistently but for a shorter span of time (unfortunately, the beloved Luis Tiant may fall into this category) .  Smith was a journeyman who, though possessing all the qualities of a big, menacing closer, seems to have been hurt by his many stops around the league and having no definitive ‘superstar moment’.  Jack Morris… well, he’s a borderline a Hall of Famer.  Yes, he won 20 plus games three times and played on World Series winning teams, catching media spotlight fire with the ’91 Twins & ’92 Jays for example, but he wasn’t the cog that ran the gears.        

Then there’s Edgar Martinez.  Easily one of the better hitters of his era (amidst the Steroid Era) who may have more than one glaring mark against him.  First, he played in Seattle (yes, so did Griffey Jr., A-Rod and Randy Johnson… but they left), not a media market or a perennial contender.  Second, and most importantly, he played the majority of his career as a Designated Hitter.  Oh, my error, the Designated Hitter.   A standard set so high, the annual award for best DH in the AL is the Edgar Martinez Award.  But, DH doesn’t count, it’s an imaginary position created by the Wizard of Oz (you know, a designated spot in the batting order to allow aging, over-the-hill superstars who couldn’t field a position some twilight time to earn a paycheck and pad the HOF stats) and doesn’t deserve consideration.  They’re part timers.  A pinch-hitter who gets off the bench four or five times a day.  Who cares if he produces HOF numbers, right?

So, let’s take a look at one of the most under-appreciated members of the Boston Red Sox: Dwight Evans.  (keep in mind these are his totals during his 19 year tenure with the Scarlett Hose.  Dewey finished his career with a one year stint in Baltimore.)

  •     Games played:  2505       Rank: 2nd  (1st: Yaz / 3rd Ted)
  •     Hits: 2373                          Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th Boggs)
  •     Average: .272                    Rank: Outside top 10  ( Yaz .285 / Doerr .288)
  •     RBI: 1346                           Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th: Doerr)
  •     HR: 379                              Rank: 4th  (3rd: Rice / 5th: Ortiz*)
  •     Runs: 1435                         Rank: 3rd  (2nd: Ted / 5th: Rice)
  •     Base on Balls: 1337          Rank: 3rd  (2nd: Yaz / 4th: Boggs)
  •     OPS:  .842                          Rank: Outside top 10 (Yaz has an .841 / Rice .854)

So, looking at the numbers,  we see obvious questions and answers to the argument.  He is, for the most part, sandwiched between teammates who are enshrined in Cooperstown (Captain Carl, Jim Ed., Boggs) and legendary HOF’ers like Ted and Bobby Doerr.  The second half of his career was statistically more productive than the first and was consistently so until his retirement.  During years when players begin winding down, Dewey was in cruise control and producing at a steady clip.

Was he overshadowed?  An integral member of the 1975 team, he was a lesser star than Yaz, Tiant, Pudge, Lee and The Goldust Twins.  After Lynn and Fisk went West, Tiant let go, Yaz retired and guys like Eck and Lansford come and gone, it was Dewey who came into his own offensively while continuing his defensive excellence.  Again, superstars surrounded him.  Rice, Hurst, Boggs Buckner and Clemens.  Evans simply continued to perform.

During the 1980′s (the latter half of his MLB career which officially began in 1972)  in his playing age years of 28 (1980) through age year 37 (1989):

  •      3 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Hits.
  •      4 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Doubles.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in RBI.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in HR, leading the league in 1981.
  •      5 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in OPS% , leading the league twice.
  •      6 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Runs scored, leading the league in 1984.
  •      7 times finished in the top 10 in the AL in Bases on Balls, leading the league three times.

Evans appeared on the AL MVP ballot 5 times (all in the 1980’s) with 4 times placing in the top 10.  Finished 3rd over-all in 1981 behind winner Rollie Fingers and Ricky Henderson.

8 Gold Gloves.  3 All-Star Games.  2 Silver Sluggers.

His lifetime WAR (wins above replacement) is 61.8  (Mind you, this currently ranks 141st ALL TIME in MLB)

Looking at his basic stats or his Sabermetric stats place him in an above average category.  Dwight was included on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot in 1997 (5.9%), 1998 (10.4%) and 1999 (3.6%) before dropping off due to insufficient support under the official rules of balloting (under 5% in a given year or reaching 15th year on ballot).  His election, like that of Ron Santos’, would be a Veterans committee pick.  Currently a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, Dwight’s number 24 (originally 40 as a rookie) is still in circulation.

“Same Old Song and Dance…”

To borrow a phrase from a slightly popular local music group…. It is indeed the same old song and dance, just different dance partners.  Or to put in easier terms, “Same sh!t, different day”.

Anyone who is a ‘real‘ fan of the Red Stockings, meaning a member of the Nation since the dark days long before 2004, already know what all of this is.  Red Sox ownership in their version of Spin Control. Sure, their Doctors of Spin are the equivalent of a mentally defective monkey humping a baseball but they apparently get the job done.

Regimes change, the excuses stay the same.

Has there been a need for this nuclear warfare in the aftermath of ‘The Collapse’?  Of course not.  Francona fell on the sword, took the blame and left town.  Ah, but he do it in the way he was told to? Apparently not.  Tito alluded to the problems which arose in the clubhouse (which the owners also alluded to) and the fact he was tuned out… but then dropped that little ticking time bomb of “I wasn’t sure the owners had my back…” And the Mass Destruction of Terry Francona had begun.  Sinfully Disgraceful may be the only way to put it.  Unnamed sources, personal matters… all disgusting.  Of course they’re unnamed sources, they’re rats running about the sinking ship on fire trying to burn whatever they can for their masters in hopes of keeping their job once the flames are put out and the ship is righted.  And the press?  Using this fairly unconfirmed personal information about Tito’s mental health, medication and then his unfortunately distressed marriage?  Well, the Boston press has been heavy-handed and taking liberties ever since Paul Revere proclaimed that little warning about the oncoming British.  Especially the Boston Sports Press, which is a blessing and a curse as they are the best at what they do from both sides of the spectrum.  And whose to say that even if the Sox hadn’t collapsed, if they made a decent run or perhaps won it all that Theo wasn’t leaving?  The Cubs think he’s a hot commodity following the epic September fail?  Imagine what hot sh!t Theo would have been if they’d won?  This has been coming (remember the off-season back in the ’05-’06 days when he quit the job, took a vacation and then came back? It was because he was tired of having his toes stepped on…), it just didn’t have to end like this.

Or if history has shown us, maybe it did.

Let’s look at Boston’s divorce history (Bill Buckner, Manny and Grady Little aside).   Pedro and Derek Lowe and even Johnny Damon pale in comparison to that nutty, paranoid Nomar.  Then there’s Mo Vaughn and his drunken, truck flippin’ hung-over stripper lovin’ self.  Wade Boggs defection to the Bronx Zoo was fairly quiet compared to The Rocket who was a drunk, fat bastard in the twilight of his career (remind you, he hadn’t hit the juice yet… and is still a bastard) or even the ousting of Joe Morgan.  Dewey had a fairly amicable split for an in-house legend, unlike Jim Rice or Yaz. The 1970’s and early ’80’s was basically a huge divorce gone bad… Bill Lee, George Scott, Fergie Jenkins, Louis Tiant, Eck and let’s not forget Pudge Fisk.  Of course the Patron Saint of the Red Sox, Johnny Pesky, could tell you how complimentary everyone was when Teddy Ballgame left town.  Not cause he was here but because he was Ted’s friend and had a front row seat.  (I’ll omit Babe Ruth because most of his behavior was, in fact, dead on juvenile delinquent true.)

Notice a lot of these names… they’re part of the lore. All easily recognized by one name.  Ted.  Fisk. Yaz. Rice. Rocket. Nomar. Pedro. Theo. Tito.  The Red Sox are the embodiment of that old adage, “You build your heroes up just to tear them down.”  But they’re hardly alone.

So, to David Ortiz (yeah, I’ll say it) and all you bandwagon Yankees fans (because the actual fans already know how it works) who want to remind us of the class and swagger a dynasty carries… f*@% you.  Stop trying to take the ‘high road’ by ignoring the Steinbrenner Era or the legacy the Sons of Steinbrenner have already forged. Ask Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre or most recently Mo Rivera or ‘Mister Yankee’ himself Derek Jeter.  Yeah, the ‘Bombers have never had drama or been a soap opera… jacka$$.

 
Are the Sox still an elite team? Yes.  Do they still have the talent to contend? Yes.  Do they still have an ownership group committed to winning? No wins, no money.. so Yes.  Is it time to change the ‘make-up’ of the team.  Yes.  But these are matters, some of them possibly drastic, best saved for the GM and field Manager… oh, wait.

I think at the end of the day, all the real fan can do is wish Theo all the best in Chicago (we’ll see you next season at Wrigley) and thank both he and Tito for everything they did to bring two WS titles home.   Same to a number of faces from the wonderful October of 2004 which may be joining them… Papi, Wake and Tek.

Same Old Song and Dance.

Hall of Famer’s who wore Red Sox….

This installment of the investigative process will focus on members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have been members of the storied Scarlett Hose, obviously with a bit more focus on those who are enshrined with the ‘B’ on their cap.

So here is the over all list….

… Players listed in bold are enshrined with the Red Sox ‘B’ upon their cap.

Player Years played with the Red Sox
Luis Aparicio 1971-73
Wade Boggs 1982-92
Lou Boudreau 1951-52
Jesse Burkett 1905
Orlando Cepeda 1973
Jack Chesbro 1909
Jimmy Collins 1901-07
Joe Cronin

Andre Dawson

1935-45

1993-94

Bobby Doerr 1937-44, 1946-51
Dennis Eckersley 1978-84, 1998
Rick Ferrell 1934-37
Carlton Fisk 1969, 1971-80
Jimmie Foxx 1936-42
Lefty Grove 1934-41
Harry Hooper 1909-20
Waite Hoyt 1919-20
Fergie Jenkins 1976-77
George Kell 1952-54
Heinie Manush 1936
Juan Marichal 1974
Herb Pennock 1915-22
Tony Perez 1980-82
Jim Rice 1974-89
Red Ruffing 1924-30
Babe Ruth 1914-19
Tom Seaver 1986
Al Simmons 1943
Tris Speaker 1907-15
Dick Williams 1963-64
Ted Williams 1939-42, 1946-60
Carl Yastrzemski 1961-83
Cy Young 1901-08

A few notes: Jimmy Collins does not have a cap in his HOF plaque, however the Hall lists his primary team as Boston.  Andre Dawson was omitted from the official Red Sox listing of former Sox in the HOF, however I’m including him because he did in fact play there… I saw it, with my own eyes.  Jimmie Foxx is enshrined wearing a Red Sox cap, however the Hall, and rightfully so, recognizes his primary team as the Philadelphia Athletics… the same can be said of Lefty Grove.

And here is the official recording of the retired numbers (excluding Jackie Robinson’s #42 retired by Major League Baseball for the simple fact he was not a member of the Boston Red Sox, even if historically he probably should have been)…

The retired Red Sox numbers, along with Jackie Robinson’s #42 that was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997, are posted on the right field facade in Fenway Park.

The Red Sox policy on retiring uniform numbers is based on the following criteria:

  • Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • At least 10 years played with the Red Sox
Bobby Doerr – #1
  • Played 14 seasons in Majors, all with Red Sox (1937-44, 1946-51), before retiring due to a back injury.
  • Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • Tied for AL lead with Dom DiMaggio in triples in 1950 (11).
  • Led AL in slugging percentage in 1944 (.528).
  • Named The Sporting News AL Player of the Year in 1944.
  • Hit .409 (9-22) in 1946 World Series to lead Red Sox.
Joe Cronin – #4
  • First modern-day player to become a league president.
  • Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956.
  • Compiled .301 average in 20 MLB seasons.
  • Affiliated with Red Sox for 24 seasons as player/manager, manager, and general manager.
  • Leads all Red Sox managers with 1071 wins.
  • Managed Red Sox to AL pennant in 1946.
  • Holds AL record for pinch-hit homers in a season, 5 (1943).
  • Became 1st player to hit pinch-hit homes in both games of a doubleheader, June 17, 1943 (in a stretch when he hit three three-run pinch-hit homers in four at-bats).
  • Participated in 12 All-Star Games for AL, six as a player.
Johnny Pesky – #6
  • Signed by the Red Sox in 1940.
  • Officially associated with the Red Sox for 21 years as a player, coach, and manager.
  • Compiled .307 average in 12 MLB seasons.
  • Known as “Mr. Red Sox”.
Carl Yastrzemski – #8
  • Named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
  • Along with Johnny Bench became the 18th and 19th players elected to Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
  • Received 95 percent of Hall of Fame voting, the seventh highest in the history of voting at that time.
  • First Little League player to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
  • Won AL Triple Crown in 1967.
  • Most games lifetime in the AL with 3,308.
  • AL MVP in 1967.
  • Seven-time Gold Glove winner.
  • Tied MLB record with 1.000 fielding percentage in 1977.
  • Selected Outstanding Player of 1970 All-Star Game.
  • Played 167 consecutive errorless games.
  • Only AL player with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Ted Williams – #9
  • Named to starting outfield of Greatest Living Team, 1969.
  • Named MLB Player of Decade for 1950s.
  • Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
  • AL MVP in 1946, 49.
  • Won AL Triple Crown in 1942, 47.
  • Led AL in batting six times.
  • Led AL in home runs four times.
  • Led AL in total bases five times.
  • Led AL in walks eight times.
  • Led AL in slugging percentage nine times.
  • Holds MLB record for most successive times reaching base safely, 16, in Sept. 1957 (2 singles, 4 HR, 9 BB, 1 HBP).
  • Oldest MLB player to win batting title, batting .388 in 1957 at age 39.
  • Won batting title again in 1958 at age 40.
  • Voted Greatest Red Sox Player of all time by fans, 1969 and 1982.
  • Holds MLB rookie records for most walks (107) and RBIs (145).
  • Holds Red Sox record with 17 grand slams.
Jim Rice – #14
  • Debuted August 19, 1974.
  • Named AL Silver Slugger in 1984 and 1985.
  • Named AL MVP in 1978.
  • Named to eight All-Star teams.
  • Led AL with hits (213) in 1978.
  • Led AL in home runs in 1977 (39), 1978 (46), and 1983 (39).
  • Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Carlton Fisk – #27
  • Carlton Fisk will always be remembered as the player who hit the historic, 12th-inning, game-winning homer in Fenway Park off Reds pitcher Pat Darcy in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Besides being the hero on MLB’s biggest stage in a game that has been referred to as “the greatest World Series game ever played,” Fisk had many other memorable highlights during his 11-year career as a member of the Red Sox.
  • Red Sox first draft choice and fourth overall selection in the January 1967 Winter Baseball Amateur Draft.
  • Made his MLB debut on September 18, 1969.
  • Was the first unanimous winner of the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1972 (.293, 22 HR, 61 RBIs). He was also tied for the AL lead with nine triples.
  • Won the 1972 AL Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence.
  • Seven-time All-Star, including four games started. He was voted as a starter five times but was replaced in 1974 due to a knee injury.
  • Was the AL Honorary All-Star Game captain on July 13, 1999 at Fenway Park.
  • Is the all-time Red Sox leader in games caught with 990.
  • Red Sox Hall of Fame Inductee on September 8, 1997.

Now obviously, Johnny Pesky is the only member of Retired Row who is not a member of the Hall but was retired due to his decades of service to the Olde Towne Team… and rightfully so, however that does leave the ‘door open’ so to speak for other players and a whole sh!tload of “Why not him..”, “He should be..” so on and so forth.  And with a few of the omitted Hall of Famer’s not on Retired Row, they may just have a case…. but I’ve covered this very argument in earlier editions of this same blog and this particular entry is not for that reason….

So let’s recap.  The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.  The All-Time Red Sox leaders in statistics.  The National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Retired Row.

The basics are set.

Ted and Yaz were the only real givens.

Now we get to the difficult part.  Who gets added to the list and where do they get placed?  Should it be a ‘Top 5’ or a ‘Top 10’?  Aside from a minimum number of at bats or appearances, what qualifications should allow for a player to be named ‘Top’ or ‘Best of’ for the Red Sox?  Championships are certainly out the door otherwise we’d have to disqualify one of the Greatest Players to Never Win a Title in Williams, and that renders pennants useless as well.  If we go just on statistics, it may give an advantage to players who climbed the numbers ladder due to longevity and not superb ability.. but if they didn’t have the ability, one would think they never would have had the longevity.

Rice. Clemens. Evans. The Million Dollar Outfield of Speaker, Hooper and Lewis. Ortiz. Ruth. Vaughn. The Teammates of DiMaggio, Pesky and Doerr. Lynn. Pedroia. Collins. Schilling. Young. Foxx. Tiant. Garciaparra. Varitek. Boggs.  Wakefield. Cronin. Grove. Youkilis. Fisk… to name a few.

Decisions, decisions.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame…

With questions of ‘The Best’ or ‘Top 5’, ‘Top 10’ and so on I figured I’d take a moment to look over the hallowed halls of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

These are the basics…

The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame was instituted in 1995 to recognize the careers of former Boston Red Sox baseball players. A 15-member selection committee of Red Sox broadcasters and executives, past and present media personnel, and representatives from The Sports Museum of New England and the BoSox Club are responsible for nominating candidates.

The criteria for selection into the Hall is as follows:

  • Player to be eligible for nomination must have played a minimum of three years with the Boston Red Sox and must also have been out of uniform as an active player a minimum of three years.
  • Non-uniformed honorees such as broadcasters and front office execs are inducted by a unanimous vote of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame selection committee. The memorable moment will be chosen by the committee as well.
  • Former Boston Red Sox players and personnel in the National Baseball Hall of Fame (NBHOF) in Cooperstown, New York will be automatically enshrined in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
1995
  • Tony Conigliaro
  • Joe Cronin (1956 NBHOF)
  • Dom DiMaggio
  • Bobby Doerr (1986 NBHOF)
  • Jean R. Yawkey (front office)
  • Frank Malzone
  • Johnny Pesky
  • Jim Rice (2009 NBHOF)
  • Babe Ruth (1936 NBHOF)
  • Ted Williams (1966 NBHOF)
  • Smoky Joe Wood
  • Carl Yastrzemski (1989 NBHOF)
1997
  • Carlton Fisk (2000 NBHOF)
  • Jimmie Foxx (1951 NBHOF)
  • Harry Hooper (1971 NBHOF)
  • Dick O’Connell (front office)
  • Mel Parnell
  • Rico Petrocelli
  • Dick Radatz
  • Luis Tiant
  • Cy Young (1937 NBHOF)
2000
  • Ken Coleman (broadcaster)
  • Dwight Evans
  • Larry Gardner
  • Curt Gowdy
  • Jackie Jensen
  • Ned Martin (broadcaster)
  • Bill Monbouquette
  • Reggie Smith
  • Tris Speaker (1937 NBHOF)
  • Bob Stanley
2002
  • Rick Burleson
  • Boo Ferriss
  • Lou Gorman
  • John Harrington
  • Tex Hughson
  • Duffy Lewis
  • Jim Lonborg
  • Fred Lynn
2004
  • Wade Boggs (2005 NBHOF)
  • Bill Carrigan
  • Jimmy Collins (1945 NBHOF)
  • Dennis Eckersley (2004 NBHOF)
  • Billy Goodman
  • Bruce Hurst
  • Ben Mondor (Pawtucket Red Sox owner)
  • Pete Runnels
  • Haywood Sullivan (front office)
2006
  • Dick Bresciani (front office)
  • Ellis Kinder
  • Joe Morgan (manager)
  • Jerry Remy (player and broadcaster)
  • George Scott
  • Vern Stephens
  • Dick Williams (manager) (2008 NBHOF)
2008
  • George Digby (scout)
  • Wes Ferrell
  • Mike Greenwell
  • Edward Kenney, Sr. (front office)
  • Bill Lee
  • Everett Scott
  • Frank Sullivan
  • Mo Vaughn
2009
  • Jim Rice (2009 NBHOF)
2010
  • John Valentin
  • Don Zimmer
  • Tommy Harper
  • Eddie Kasko
  • Jimmy Piersall

Memorable moments

  • 1995: Roger Clemens’ first 20-strikeout game in 1986
  • 1995: Carlton Fisk’s game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
  • 2000: Dave Henderson’s game-winning home run in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series
  • 2002: Earl Wilson’s no-hitter on June 26, 1962
  • 2004: Bernie Carbo’s pinch-hit home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
  • 2006: Dave Roberts’ steal of second base in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series
  • 2008: Ted Williams’ home run in his final Major League at-bat on September 28, 1960, versus the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park
  • 2010: Tom Brunansky’s diving catch of Ozzie Guillén’s line drive in the ninth inning of the season ending game that preserved the Red Sox victory sending them to the 1990 playoffs

And all of this information, sadly, still doesn’t lend itself to the easy selection of ‘Top Something Red Sox of all-time’.  So I guess we’ll have to do it the hard way and look at the facts, stat for stat, player by player… oh boy.  Now, to weave through the enormous bulk of the statistics and the lesser players who exist in the higher end of all-time numbers through the merit of less time served, I’m planning on setting a minimum of 800 games played in a Red Sox uniform.

Batting Average:                          Home Runs:

1. Ted Williams      .344                  Ted Williams         521

2. Wade Boggs       .338                  C. Yastrzemski      452

3. Tris Speaker       .337                  Jim Rice                 382

4. N. Garciaparra   .323                 Dwight Evans        379

5. Jimmie Foxx       .320                 David Ortiz*          310

6. Johnny Pesky      .313                 Manny Ramirez    274

7. Manny Ramirez  .312                 Mo Vaughn             230

8. Fred Lynn            .308                Bobby Doerr           223

9. Billy Goodman    .306                Jimmie Foxx         222

10. Mo Vaughn        .304                Rico Petrocelli      210

Runs Batted In:                           Games:

C. Yastrzemski      1844                  C. Yastrzemski     3308

Ted Williams         1839                  Dwight Evans       2505

Jim Rice                 1451                   Ted Williams        2292

Dwight Evans        1346                   Jim Rice                2089

Bobby Doerr          1247                   Bobby Doerr         1865

David Ortiz*           987                    Harry Hooper      1647

Manny Ramirez    868                    Wade Boggs          1625

Jimmie Foxx          788                    Rico Petrocelli      1553

Rico Petrocelli       773                    Jason Varitek*      1520

Mo Vaughn            752                     Dom DiMaggio    1399

Doubles:                                          Triples:

1. C. Yastrzemski      646                 Harry Hooper        130

2. Ted Williams         525                 Tris Speaker          106

3. Dwight Evans        474                Buck Freeman        90

4. Wade Boggs           422                Bobby Doerr           89

5. Bobby Doerr          381                 Larry Gardner        87

6. Jim Rice                 373                 Jim Rice                   79

7. David Ortiz*           331                 ‘Hobe’ Ferris           77

8. Dom DiMaggio      308               Dwight Evans          72

9. Jason Varitek*       305               Ted Williams            71

10. N. Garciaparra     279               Freddy Parent          63

Bases on Balls:                                Runs Scored:

Ted Williams         2019                     C. Yastrzemski      1816

C. Yastrzemski      1845                      Ted Williams        1798

Dwight Evans        1337                      Dwight Evans       1435

Wade Boggs          1004                       Jim Rice                1249

Harry Hooper        826                      Bobby Doerr        1094

Bobby Doerr          809                       Wade Boggs         1067

Dom DiMaggio      750                       Dom DiMaggio    1046

David Ortiz*           734                       Harry Hooper       988

Jim Rice                 670                        David Ortiz*          812

Rico Petrocelli       661                        Johnny Pesky       776

For the same reason of wading through the massive amount of statistics, I limited my selections of pitchers to a minimum 200 appearances in a Red Sox uniform.

Wins:                                             Earned Run Average:

1. Roger Clemens      192               Joe Wood                 1.99

2. Cy Young                192               Cy Young                  2.00

3. Tim Wakefield*     184              Dutch Leonard         2.13

4. Mel Parnell             123              Pedro Martinez        2.52

5. Luis Tiant                122              George Winter         2.91

6. Pedro Martinez      117               Tex Huson               2.94

7. Joe Wood                 117              Roger Clemens        3.06

8. Bob Stanley             115              Ellis Kinder              3.28

9. Joe Dobson             106             Lefty Grove               3.34

10. Lefty Grove            105             Luis Tiant                  3.36

Strikeouts:                                     Complete Games:

Roger Clemens         2590               Cy Young               275

Tim Wakefield*       1993                George Winter      141

Pedro Martinez        1683                Joe Wood              121

Cy Young                   1341                Lefty Grove           119

Luis Tiant                  1075                Mel Parnell           113

Bruce Hurst             1043                 Luis Tiant              113

Joe Wood                  986                  Roger Clemens     100

B. Monbouquette     969                 Tex Huson              99

Frank Sullivan          821                 Dutch Leonard       96

Jim Lonborg             784                 Joe Dobson            90

Innings Pitched:                               Shutouts:

1. Tim Wakefield*         2933.0          Roger Clemens          38

2. Roger Clemens          2776.0          Cy Young                    38

3. Cy Young                    2728.1           Joe Wood                   28

4.  Luis Tiant                  1774.2           Luis Tiant                   26

5. Mel Parnell                 1752.2          Dutch Leonard           25

6. Bob Stanley                1707.0          Mel Parnell                 20

7. B. Monbouquette      1622.0          Tex Huson                   19

8. George Winter           1599.2          Joe Dobson                 17

9. Joe Dobson                1544.0          B. Monbouquette       16

10. Lefty Grove              1539.2           Lefty Grove                 15

Saves have been included simply for historical significance.  I’m listing the full top ten, but lowering the minimum to 100 appearances in a Red Sox uniform.

Saves:

1. Jon Papelbon*               208

2. Bob Stanley                    132

3. Dick Radatz                    104

4. Ellis Kinder                      91

5. Jeff Reardon                    88

6. Derek Lowe*                    85

7. Sparky Lyle                      69

8. Tom Gordon                    68

9. Lee Smith                         58

10. Bill Campbell                 51

Now a lot of names repeat themselves in these lists of all-time stats, while a few names were omitted for lack of appearances, such as Pete Runnels for a few hitting categories and pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett for strikeouts as well as Babe Ruth for a number of pitching categories including ERA (4th with 2.19), complete games (8th with 105) and shutouts (11th with 17).  I left out stats such as Extra Base Hits, Slugging and On-Base percentages as they were simply more of the same names in different order.  You can view them yourself here:  http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/history/all_time_leaders.jsp

Okay, there are the stats for the most part (no, I’m not including fielding stats because a few of the categories are geared towards infielders, particularly first basemen and catchers), so lets take a look at award winners.

Most Valuable Player: This is the BBWAA MVP award created in 1931, and does not include the Chalmers Award (1911–1914) or the League Awards (1922–1929).

Dustin Pedroia* (2008), Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Yaz (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1949 & 1946) and Jimmie Foxx (1938).

Rookie of the Year:

Dustin Pedroia (2007), Nomar Garciaparra (1997), Fred Lynn (1975), Carlton Fisk (1972), Don Schwall (1961) and Walt Dropo (1950).

Now lets take a look at a few more historical league leaders…

… We’ll cover hitting first…

Batting Champions
Year Player Average
2003 Bill Mueller .326
2002 Manny Ramirez .349
2000 Nomar Garciaparra .372
1999 Nomar Garciaparra .357
1988 Wade Boggs .366
1987 Wade Boggs .363
1986 Wade Boggs .357
1985 Wade Boggs .368
1983 Wade Boggs .361
1981 Carney Lansford .336
1979 Fred Lynn .333
1968 Carl Yastrzemski .301
1967 Carl Yastrzemski .326
1963 Carl Yastrzemski .321
1962 Pete Runnels .326
1960 Pete Runnels .320
1958 Ted Williams .328
1957 Ted Williams .388
1950 Billy Goodman .354
1948 Ted Williams .369
1947 Ted Williams .343
1942 Ted Williams .356
1941 Ted Williams .406
1938 Jimmie Foxx .349
1932 Dale Alexander .367
Home Run Champions
Year Player HR
1984 Tony Armas 43
1983 Jim Rice 39
1981 Dwight Evans 22
1978 Jim Rice 46
1977 Jim Rice 39
1967 Carl Yastrzemski 44
1965 Tony Conigliaro 32
1949 Ted Williams 43
1947 Ted Williams 32
1942 Ted Williams 36
1941 Ted Williams 37
1939 Jimmie Foxx 35
1919 Babe Ruth 29
1918 Babe Ruth 11
1912 Tris Speaker 10
1910 Jake Stahl 10
1903 Buck Freeman 13
Triple Crown: Batting
Year Player Avg., HR, RBIs
1967 Carl Yastrzemski .326, 44, 121
1947 Ted Williams .343, 32, 114
1942 Ted Williams .356, 36, 137

… And now the Pitching…

ERA Champions
Year Player ERA
2003 Pedro Martinez 2.22
2002 Pedro Martinez 2.26
2000 Pedro Martinez 1.74
1999 Pedro Martinez 2.07
1992 Roger Clemens 2.41
1991 Roger Clemens 2.62
1990 Roger Clemens 1.93
1986 Roger Clemens 2.48
1972 Luis Tiant 1.91
1949 Mel Parnell 2.78
1939 Lefty Grove 2.54
1938 Lefty Grove 3.08
1936 Lefty Grove 2.81
1935 Lefty Grove 2.70
1916 Babe Ruth 1.75
1915 Joe Wood 1.49
1914 Dutch Leonard 0.96
1901 Cy Young 1.62
Strikeout Champions
Year Player Strikeouts
2002 Pedro Martinez 239
2001 Hideo Nomo 220
2000 Pedro Martinez 284
1999 Pedro Martinez 313
1996 Roger Clemens 257
1991 Roger Clemens 241
1988 Roger Clemens 291
1967 Jim Lonborg 246
1942 Tex Hughson 113
1901 Cy Young 158
Triple Crown: Pitching
Year Player Wins, ERA, Ks
1999 Pedro Martinez 23, 2.07, 313
1901 Cy Young 33, 1.62, 158
Cy Young
Pedro Martinez 2000
Pedro Martinez 1999
Roger Clemens 1991
Roger Clemens 1987
Roger Clemens 1986
Jim Lonborg 1967

Now, for the sake of being fairly thorough and not wanting to completely leave the legendary defensive efforts in limbo, here are the list of Gold Glove Winners…

Gold Gloves
Player Pos Year
Dustin Pedroia 2B 2008
Jason Varitek C 2005
Tony Peña C 1991
Ellis Burks OF 1990
Dwight Evans OF 1985
Dwight Evans OF 1984
Dwight Evans OF 1983
Dwight Evans OF 1982
Dwight Evans OF 1981
Fred Lynn OF 1980
Fred Lynn OF 1979
Dwight Evans OF 1979
Rick Burleson SS 1979
Fred Lynn OF 1978
Dwight Evans OF 1978
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1977
Dwight Evans OF 1976
Fred Lynn OF 1975
Doug Griffin 2B 1972
Carlton Fisk C 1972
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1971
George Scott 1B 1971
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1969
Reggie Smith OF 1968
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1968
George Scott 1B 1968
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1967
George Scott 1B 1967
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1965
Carl Yastrzemski OF 1963
Jackie Jensen OF 1959
Frank Malzone 3B 1959
Jim Piersall CF 1958
Frank Malzone 3B 1958
Frank Malzone 3B 1957

So, has any of this cemented anything?  No… but it has provided a little bit more depth into the varied history of the players who have worn the Red, White and Blue of the Boston Americans across the many decades.  Looking at a few of these league leading categories, it also sheds some light on periods where offense seemed to overshadow pitching and how both seemed to dwarf defense… but then again, the Yawkey regime was always known for the sizzle of the home run show over the actual steak of baseball.

Okay, for the next installment I’ll be looking at those who are inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and probably a few players who should have been but weren’t.  Hey, you can’t make an omelete without breaking some eggs and sure as hell can’t have any sort of ‘Best of…’ or ‘Top (insert number here)..’ list without a little controversy.

The Honored Numbers…

Going back to my post on ‘Retired Numbers’ I wanted to expand upon my thoughts a little further.  This is a short list of players and their uniform numbers who should, in my opinion (and maybe in a few of yours as well) be honored (not retired) by the Red Sox.  Yes, most are members of Red Sox Hall of Fame, but having something more publicly displayed (aside from the red and blue banners on the Right Field/3rd Base exterior) for people in the stands and folks in the viewing audience certainly couldn’t hurt.  After all, in such a historic venue as Fenway Park with such a history laden team as the Boston Americans not everything in view needs to be an advertisement. 

For players whose numbers are being honored, place their number in road uniform coordinated navy blue and gray as opposed to the retired number coordination of the home red and white.  Equally coordinated would be the player’s name, in road font, above the number but equally placed on the border of the gray circle.  Should be fairly simple, right?

For players who didn’t wear a number and are being honored, find an equally coordinated way to either place their name in the gray circle or maybe just place them on a higher section of the wall displaying the honored numbers (I recommend the right field bleachers).  They do something similar at Comerica Park in Detroit.

I know there will be at least one controversial pick….

 

James “Jimmie” Foxx, was the second major league player to hit 500 career home runs, after Babe Ruth. Attaining that plateau at age 32 years 336 days, he held the record for youngest to reach 500 for sixty-eight years, until superseded by Alex Rodriguez in 2007. His three career Most Valuable Player awards are tied for second all-time. ‘Double X’ played six years for Boston, including a spectacular 1938 season in which he hit 50 home runs, drove in 175 runs, batted .349, won his third MVP award, and again narrowly missed winning the Triple Crown. Foxx is one of nine players to have won three MVPs; only Barry Bonds (7) has more. On June 16, 1938, he set an American League record when he walked six times in a game. In 1939 he hit .360, his second-best all-time season batting average. His 50 home runs would remain the single-season record for the Red Sox until David Ortiz hit 54 in 2006. Jersey #3

 

 Nomar Garciaparra is a six-time All-Star (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006).  Garciaparra was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 5th round of the 1991 draft, but did not sign.  Garciaparra was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 1994 following a successful career at Georgia Tech. He played in the Red Sox minor league system for three years (1994–Sarasota, 1995–Trenton, 1996–Pawtucket).  He made his Major League debut on August 31, 1996, as a defensive replacement against Oakland. His first Major League hit was a home run off of Oakland pitcher John Wasdin on September 1. Nomar would then ultimately take Wasdin deep a record thirteen times over his career. Garciaparra is known for his idiosyncratic tics when batting. This habit includes an elaborate routine of glove adjustments and alternating toe taps on the ground prior to an ensuing pitch.  At the time, Boston’s starting shortstop was John Valentin, who finished ninth in MVP voting in 1995. By late 1996, Nomar won the job. Garciaparra’s talent was enough to displace Valentin, who was moved to second base (then third base) to make room for young Garciaparra, who batted .241 with 4 home runs, 16 RBI, and 5 stolen bases in his initial stint with the club near the end of 1996. As a rookie in 1997, he hit 30 home runs and drove in 98 runs, setting a new MLB record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter and most homers by a rookie shortstop.  His 30-game hitting streak set an A.L. rookie record.  He was named Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote, competed in the Home Run Derby, and finished eighth in MVP voting.  He also won the immediate admiration of Red Sox fans, who referred to him in Boston accents as “NO-mah!”. His popularity in New England was reflected in the Saturday Night Live “The Boston Teens” sketches, where Jimmy Fallon’s character Pat Sullivan always wore a Garciaparra T-shirt and would repeatedly reference his admiration for him. Garciaparra even appeared in one of the sketches, where he was introduced as the boyfriend of Sully’s sister (played by guest host Kate Hudson).  He finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBI in 1998, and placed as the runner-up for AL MVP. Garciaparra then led the American League in batting average for the next two years, hitting .357 in 1999 and .372 in 2000, finishing in the top ten in MVP voting both years. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles, and the first since Joe DiMaggio. He hit safely and scored a run in the first five games of his post-season career (1998–99), and is joined by Ian Kinsler (2010) as the only other player to start his post-season career in that manner.

In February of 2001, Garciaparra appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the headline “A Cut Above… baseball’s toughest out”. The week after the issue hit newsstands, Garciaparra suffered a broken right wrist that would ruin his season and alter the trajectory of his career. He recovered by the start of the 2002 season and drove in 120 runs while hitting a league-leading 56 doubles. However, he had a difficult time playing as strongly defensively as before, and his batting average dipped substantially, though it was still an excellent .310.  Before the 2002 season, a new ownership group purchased the Red Sox. The baseball operations staff, led by Theo Epstein, stressed on-base percentage on offense and strong defense, two areas where Garciaparra was about to decline precipitously from his pre-2001 levels. Still, Garciaparra recovered from an injury-filled 2001 season to bat .310 with 24 home runs and 120 RBIs in 2002. The star shortstop was up for a contract extension following the 2004 season and hoped for a deal before that deadline. Still considered one of the best shortstops in baseball, he hoped to receive salaries similar to peers Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.  In 2003, Garciaparra had a good season in which he was second in the majors in triples, fifth in the AL in hits, and second in the AL in runs scored. Unfortunately, a September slump caused his batting average to dip, but it still ended at a very good .301. He followed that with a poor post-season, contributing zero home runs, one RBI and ten strikeouts in 12 games against the Oakland Athletics and rival Yankees, who eliminated the Red Sox in a thrilling seven-game series.  Meanwhile, new stars and cult heroes, led by David Ortiz and Kevin Millar, began to emerge in Boston. Millar convinced nearly every player on the roster other than Johnny Damon and Garciaparra (whose wedding with Mia Hamm followed the season) to shave his head.

After the 2003 season, Red Sox management explored trading Manny Ramírez to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Alex Rodriguez.   However, the MLB Players’ Union objected to Rodriguez’s willingness to sacrifice a huge amount of his $250 million contract to facilitate a deal to Boston, and the New York Yankees then struck a deal with Texas to bring A-Rod (who gave up $14 million with union approval) to their team. The Red Sox then had covert trade talks involving Nomar with the Chicago White Sox, but the subsequent agreement to trade Garciapara and others for a package centered around Magglio Ordóñez quickly became public. Garciaparra thus returned to Boston for the start of the 2004 season in the final year of a contract signed in 1997, and it quickly became clear that he was enraged with the team and would not return to Boston after the season. On July 31, 2004 (the MLB trading deadline), Garciaparra was the key player involved in a four-team deal that sent Nomar and Matt Murton to the wild card leading Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox received Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Nomar expressed his appreciation to Red Sox fans in a speech to the media, and left for the Windy City. At first, Garciaparra was assigned jersey number 8, because Cub catcher Michael Barrett wore number 5.  A few days later, they switched numbers.  On March 10, 2010, Garciaparra signed a one-day contract with the Boston Red Sox to retire as a member of the organization.  On May 5, 2010, The Red Sox hosted “Nomar Garciaparra Night”, honoring Nomar before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was given two official seats from Fenway by Johnny Pesky, one bearing Nomar’s own #5, and the other bearing Pesky’s #6.

 

Dominic DiMaggio, nicknamed “The Little Professor”, played his entire 11-year baseball career for the Boston Red Sox (1940–1953). He was the youngest of three brothers who each became major league center fielders, the others being Joe and Vince.  An effective leadoff hitter, he batted .300 four times and led the American League in runs twice and in triples and stolen bases once each. He also led the AL in assists three times and in putouts and double plays twice each; he tied a league record by recording 400 putouts four times, and his 1948 totals of 503 putouts and 526 total chances stood as AL records for nearly thirty years. His 1338 games in center field ranked eighth in AL history when he retired. His 34-game hitting streak in 1949 remains a Boston club record.  7× All-Star selection (1941, 1942, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952)  Jersey #7

 

Roger Clemens nicknamed “Rocket”, broke into the league with the Boston Red Sox whose pitching staff he would help anchor for 12 years. Clemens was drafted 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 1983 and quickly rose through the minor league system, making his major league debut on May 15, 1984. In 1986, his 24 wins helped guide the Sox to a World Series berth and earned Clemens the American League MVP award for the regular season. He also won the first of his seven Cy Young Awards. Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron angered the pitcher by saying that pitchers should not be eligible for the MVP. “I wish he were still playing,” Clemens responded. “I’d probably crack his head open to show him how valuable I was.” Clemens remains the only starting pitcher since Vida Blue in 1971 to win a league MVP award. On April 29, 1986, Clemens became the first pitcher in history to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning major league game, against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Only Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson have matched the total. Clemens attributes his switch from what he calls a “thrower” to a “pitcher” to the partial season Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver spent with the Red Sox in 1986. Clemens accomplished the 20-strikeout feat twice, the only player ever to do so. The second performance came more than 10 years later, on September 18, 1996 against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Clemens’ second 20-K day occurred in his third-to-last regular season game as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Clemens recorded 192 wins for the Red Sox, tied with Cy Young for the franchise record.

No Red Sox player has worn his #21 since Clemens left the team in 1996.

 

Luis Tiant.  The Braves signed him to a minor league contract to play with their Triple-A Richmond, where he pitched well, and was acquired by the Louisville Colonels, a farm team of the Boston Red Sox.  He was quickly called back up to the majors, and despite struggling through 1971 with a 1-7 record and 4.88 ERA, he would soon become one of the greatest and most beloved pitchers in Red Sox history and a great idol in Boston.  Starting to be known as El Tiante at Fenway Park, in 1972 Tiant regained his old form with a 15-6 record and led the league with a 1.91 ERA. He would win 20 games in 1973 and 22 in 1974.  Though hampered by back problems in 1975, he won 18 games for the American League Champion Red Sox and then excelled for Boston in the postseason. In the playoffs he defeated the three-time defending World Champion Oakland Athletics in a 7-1 three-hitter complete game, then opened the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. His father and mother, having been allowed to visit from Cuba under a special visa, were in Fenway Park that game to watch their son defeat The Big Red Machine in a 6-0 five-hit shutout. All six Red Sox runs were scored in the seventh inning; Tiant led off that inning (the designated hitter was not yet in use in World Series play) with a base hit off Don Gullett and eventually scored on Carl Yastrzemski’s single for the first of those six runs.  Tiant won Game 4 as well (throwing 163 pitches in his second complete game in the series) and had a no-decision in Game 6, which has been called the greatest game ever played, after Carlton Fisk’s dramatic game-winning walk-off home run in the 12th inning.  Tiant went 21-12 in 1976, 12-8 in 1977, and 13-8 in 1978.   Tiant is only 1 of 5 pitchers to have pitched four or more straight shutouts in the 50-year expansion era, with Don Drysdale (six, 1968), Bob Gibson (five, 1968), Orel Hershiser (five, 1988) and Gaylord Perry (four, 1970) being the others.  He was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.  Jersey # 23

 

Dwight Evans nicknamed “Dewey”, started his career by winning International League MVP honors, but in his early major league career, he was primarily a defensive standout with a modest bat. In the second half of his career, he became a powerful batter.  Evans made his Major League Baseball debut for the Boston Red Sox on September 16, 1972 in a game against the Cleveland Indians.  The Red Sox won 10-0 behind the pitching of Luis Tiant who threw a 3-hit complete game. Evans pinch ran for Reggie Smith in the 6th but was stranded at 2B, he played in right field where he recorded 1 PO. Evans went 0-1 at the plate in his debut. Evans played in 18 games in 1972 for the Red Sox, and had 57 plate appearances (.263 BA, 15 H, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 HR).  Despite the strike-shortened 1981 season, Evans had his best all-around year. He paced the league in total bases (215), OPS (.937), walks (85), times on base (208), and tied Eddie Murray, Tony Armas and Bobby Grich for the home run title with 22.  He also ranked second in runs scored (84) and on-base percentage (.415), and third in slugging percentage (.522). He added a .296 batting average with 71 runs batted in. In 1987, at age 35, Evans recorded career highs in batting average (.305), HRs (34) and RBI (123). 

Evans was named an Outfielder on The Sporting News AL All-Star team in 1982, 1984 and 1987 and was also tabbed as an Outfielder on the AL Silver Slugger Team by The Sporting News in 1981 and 1987. Evans would win the Gold Glove award in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985.  In his 20-year career, Evans batted .272, with 385 home runs, 1384 RBI, 1470 runs, 2446 hits, 483 doubles, 73 triples, and 78 stolen bases in 2606 games. Only Carl Yastrzemski (3308) played more games for the Red Sox than Evans (2505).  From 1980 through 1989, Evans hit more home runs (256) than any other player in the American League. He also led the A.L. in extra base hits over the same period of time. He is the only player to hit 20 or more home runs during every season of the 80’s (1980–1989).  Evans hit a home run four times on Opening Day. On April 7, 1986, he set a major league record by hitting the first pitch of the season for a home run, eclipsing the mark held by the Chicago Cubs’ Bump Wills, who hit the second pitch for a home run on April 4, 1982.  He spent his final season with the Orioles, batting .270 with six homers and drove in 38 runs in 101 games.  In 2000, Dwight Evans was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Originally Evans was assigned the uniform number 40 but quietly he wanted to wear number 24, the number of his idol Willie Mays. In 1973 Sox gave him number 24, the number he wore for the rest of his career in Boston and one year with Baltimore. Other Red Sox players to wear the same jersey number since Evans retired include Kevin Mitchell, Mike Stanley, Manny Ramírez, and Takashi Saito.

 

Wade Boggs hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles. Boggs was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. His finest season was 1987, when he set career highs in home runs (24), RBI (89), and slugging percentage (.588). He also batted .363 and had a .461 on-base percentage that year, leading the league in both statistics. In 1999, he ranked number 95 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.  A left-handed hitter, Boggs won five batting titles starting in 1983. He also batted .349 in his rookie year which would have won the batting title, but was 121 plate appearances short of the required minimum of 502. From 1982 to 1988, Boggs hit below .349 only once, hitting .325 in 1984. From 1983 to 1989, Boggs rattled off seven consecutive seasons in which he collected 200 or more hits, an American League record for consecutive 200-hit seasons that was later matched and surpassed by Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki. Boggs also had six seasons with 200 or more hits, 100+ runs and 40+ doubles. Although he would not win another batting title after 1988 (his batting title that year broke Bill Madlock’s Major League record of four by a third baseman), he regularly appeared among the league leaders in hitting.

In 1986, Boggs made it to the World Series with the Red Sox, but they lost to the New York Mets in seven games. The photo of him fighting back tears, taken by George Kalinsky, photographer for the Mets, emblemized the emotions of many Red Sox fans after their team’s loss at Shea Stadium.  Jersey # 26

 

George Herman Ruth, Jr., best known as “Babe” Ruth and nicknamed “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat“,  originally broke into the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher, but after he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, he converted to a full-time right fielder and subsequently became one of the league’s most prolific hitters.  After a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935, Ruth retired. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Ruth appeared in five games for the Red Sox in 1914, pitching in four of them. He picked up the victory in his major league debut on July 11.  The Red Sox had many star players in 1914, so Ruth was soon optioned to the minor league Providence Grays of Providence, Rhode Island for most of the remaining season. Behind Ruth and Carl Mays, the Grays won the International League pennant.  During spring training in 1915, Ruth secured a spot in the Red Sox starting rotation.  He joined a pitching staff that included Rube Foster, Dutch Leonard, and Smokey Joe Wood. Ruth won 18 games, lost eight, and helped himself by hitting .315.  He also hit his first four home runs.  The Red Sox won 101 games that year on their way to a victory in the World Series. Ruth did not pitch in the series, and grounded out in his only at-bat.  In 1916, after a slightly shaky spring, he went 23–12, with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts, both of which led the league. On June 27, he struck out ten Philadelphia A’s, a career high. On July 11, he started both games of a doubleheader, but the feat was not what it seemed; he only pitched one-third of an inning in the opener because the scheduled starter, Foster, had trouble getting loose. Ruth then pitched a complete-game victory in the nightcap. Ruth had unusual success against Washington Senators star pitcher Walter Johnson, beating him four times in 1916 alone, by scores of 5–1, 1–0, 1–0 in 13 innings, and 2–1. Johnson finally outlasted Ruth for an extra-inning 4–3 victory on September 12; in the years to come, Ruth would hit ten home runs off Johnson, including the only two Johnson would allow in 1918–1919. Ruth’s nine shutouts in 1916 set an AL record for left-handers which would remain unmatched until Ron Guidry tied it in 1978.  Despite a weak offense, hurt by the sale of Tris Speaker to the Indians, the Red Sox made it to the World Series. They defeated the Brooklyn Robins four games to one. This time Ruth made a major contribution, pitching a 14-inning complete-game victory in Game Two.

 Ruth went 24–13 with a 2.01 ERA and six shutouts in 1917, and hit .325, but the Sox finished second, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox. On June 23 against the Washington Senators, after walking the leadoff hitter, Ruth erupted in anger, was ejected, and threw a punch at the umpire, which would result in a ten-game suspension. Ernie Shore came into the game in relief, the baserunner was out stealing, and Shore retired all twenty-six batters he faced, for which he was credited with a perfect game until the 1990s. Ruth’s outburst was an example of self-discipline problems that plagued Ruth throughout his career, and is regarded as the primary reason (other than financial) that then-owner Harry Frazee was willing to sell him to the Yankees two years later.  The left-hander was pitching a no-hitter in a 0–0 game against the Detroit Tigers on July 11, before a single deflected off his glove in the eighth inning. Boston finally pushed across a run in the ninth, and Ruth held onto his 1–0 victory by striking out Ty Cobb. In 1942, Ruth called this game his greatest thrill on the field.  In 1918, Ruth pitched in 20 games, posting a 13–7 record with a 2.22 ERA. He was mostly used as an outfielder, and hit a league-leading eleven home runs. His statistics were curtailed slightly when he walked off the team in July following an argument with Boston’s manager.  Ruth threw a 1–0 shutout in the opener of the 1918 World Series, then won Game Four in what would be his final World Series appearance as a pitcher. Ruth won both his starts, allowing two runs (both earned) in seventeen innings for an ERA of 1.06. Ruth extended his World Series consecutive scoreless inning streak to 29⅔ innings, a record that would last until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961.

In the years 1915–1917, Ruth had been used in just 44 games in which he had not pitched. After the 1917 season, in which he hit .325, albeit with limited at bats, teammate Harry Hooper suggested that Ruth might be more valuable in the lineup as an everyday player.  In 1918, he began playing in the outfield more and pitching less, making 75 hitting-only appearances. Former teammate Tris Speaker speculated that the move would shorten Ruth’s career, though Ruth himself wanted to hit more and pitch less. In 1918, Ruth batted .300 and led the A.L. in home runs with eleven despite having only 317 at-bats, well below the total for an everyday player.  During the 1919 season, Ruth pitched in only 17 of his 130 games. He also set his first single-season home run record that year with 29 (passing Ned Williamson’s 27 in 1884), including a game-winning homer on a September “Babe Ruth Day” promotion. It was Babe Ruth’s last season with the Red Sox. 

 

Denton True “Cy” Young,  joined the American League’s Boston Americans in 1901 for a $3,500 contract ($92,092 in current dollar terms). Young would remain with the Boston team until 1909. In his first year in the American League, Young was dominant. Young led the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA, thus earning the colloquial AL Triple Crown for pitchers. Young won almost 42% of his team’s games in 1901, accounting for 33 of his team’s 79 wins. In February 1902, before the start of the baseball season, Young served as a pitching coach at Harvard University. The sixth-grade graduate instructing Harvard students delighted Boston newspapers.  The Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first modern World Series in 1903. Young, who started Game One against the visiting Pirates, thus threw the first pitch in modern World Series history. The Pirates scored four runs in that first inning, and Young lost the game. Young performed better in subsequent games, winning his next two starts. He also drove in three runs in Game Five. Young finished the series with a 2–1 record and a 1.85 ERA in four appearances, and Boston defeated Pittsburgh, five games to three games.

After one-hitting Boston on May 2, 1904, Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Rube Waddell taunted Young to face him so that he could repeat his performance against Boston’s ace. Three days later, Young pitched a perfect game against Waddell and the Athletics.  It was the first perfect game in American League history.  Waddell was the 27th and last batter, and when he flied out, Young shouted, “How do you like that, you hayseed?”  Waddell had picked an inauspicious time to issue his challenge. Young’s perfect game was the centerpiece of a pitching streak. Young set major league records for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched and the most consecutive innings without allowing a hit; the latter record still stands at 24.1 innings, or 73 hitless batters.  Even after allowing a hit, Young’s scoreless streak reached a then-record 45 shutout innings. Before Young, only two pitchers had thrown perfect games.  Young’s perfect game was the first under the modern rules established in 1893. One year later, on July 4, 1905, Rube Waddell beat Young and the Americans, 4–2, in a 20-inning matchup. Young pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings before he gave up a pair of unearned runs in the final inning.  Young did not walk a batter and was later quoted: “For my part, I think it was the greatest game of ball I ever took part in.”  In 1907, Young and Waddell faced off in a scoreless 13-inning tie.  In 1908, Young pitched the third no-hitter of his career.  Three months past his 41st birthday, Cy Young was the oldest pitcher to record a no-hitter, a record which would stand 82 years until 43-year-old Nolan Ryan surpassed the feat.  Only a walk kept Young from his second perfect game.  After that runner was caught stealing, no other batter reached base. At this time, Young was the second-oldest player in either league. In another game one month before his no-hitter, he allowed just one single while facing 28 batters.  On August 13, 1908, the league celebrated “Cy Young Day.” No American League games were played on that day, and a group of All-Stars from the league’s other teams gathered in Boston to play against Young and the Red Sox. 

In 1956, about one year after Young’s death, the Cy Young Award was created. Originally, it was a single award covering the whole of baseball. The honor was divided into two Cy Young Awards in 1967, one for each league.

On September 23, 1993, a statue dedicated to him was unveiled by Northeastern University on the site of the Red Sox’s original stadium, the Huntington Avenue Grounds. It was there that Young had pitched the first game of the 1903 World Series, as well as the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball. A home plate-shaped plaque next to the statue reads:

“On October 1, 1903 the first modern World Series between the American League champion Boston Pilgrims (later known as the Red Sox) and the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates was played on this site. General admission tickets were fifty cents. The Pilgrims, led by twenty-eight game winner Cy Young, trailed the series three games to one but then swept four consecutive victories to win the championship five games to three.”

 

 

Retired Numbers

This was a post from some time ago.. but I still feel it’s rather an important perspective from a member of ‘The Nation’.

 

Let’s take a break from the heavy lifting today and cover something we all care about…. Red Sox retired numbers.

Now as we all know (unless you’re a caveman living under a rock.. no wait, they have car insurance so no excuses) the Sox finally retired Jim Ed’s #14.  The number had not been worn since he took it off in 1989 (except by himself during the coaching days) but couldn’t be raised to ‘Retired Row’ because hRetired row.jpge hadn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Yet Johnny Pesky had his number retired last year and did not meet such criteria.

Stop!

I’m not even going to go down that long and winding slippery slope of saying “Pesky doesn’t deserve it” or “Why is his there?” or anything like it.  Pesky’s #6 belongs there all day long, which brings me to my point…. so do a few others!

Pesky’s number was worn by a few guys to say the least before being retired but not in this century that I can recall.  Buckner (1st term of service), Tony Pena and Damon Berryhill to name a few wore it.  Pesky didn’t play 10 seasons with the Sox, retire a Red Sox or be elected to the Hall and still deserved the honor for his 60+ years of service to the hometown team.  Maybe we should consider a way to ‘honor’ a number without retiring it…?

Try this.  Dom DiMaggio.jpgLet’s use Dom DiMaggio and Dwight Evans for example (everyone will have a candidate, I’m sure… Boggs, Clemens, Tiant, Tony C., and dozens more).  Dom wore the number 7 which has most recently been worn by Christopher “Home Run Trot” Nixon and J.D. Drew.  If we put his number up, do we take it from Drew in some Ray Bourque to Espo notion?  No… high numbers in baseball look weak because of the prospect or minor league call up stigma.  Even if you are J.T. Snow wearing dad’s Patriots’ number.

The numbers on ‘Retired Row’ are fashioned after the Sox home jersey colors, so let’s take the ‘honored’ numbers (as compared to retired) and put them in the road colors.  Same size, just make the rear circle gray and the number a dark navy.  Perhaps even fashion a jersey styled name plate atop the number (made smaller to look proper) to remind everone of just who it is honoring or if honoring two great players who wore the number (Manny and Evans for sh!ts and giggles).  Place the numbers on ‘Retired Row’, past Jackie’s 42 or find another spot to display them, perhaps the top of the right field bleachers wall, and the Bleacher Creature’s can place the strikeout K’s below them during a game.

This way we see the ‘honored’ #7 for Dom, who didn’t meet the retired number criteria as set by the Red Sox organization but you can still give him his due in Sox history Dewey.jpgas a member of the ’46 team, a fantastic multi-time All-Star and all around teammate.  Same for Dwight Evans.  24 is forever going to be linked to Manny Being Manny, but for nearly twenty years and two World Series (including his part in one of the greatest Series’ ever) it was Dewey’s.  Put it up in road colors to ‘honor’ the player and his place in Sox history.  Same for Jimmy Foxx, Wade Boggs and Luis Tiant… two HOF’s who had excellent runs with the Sox and one great personality who epitomized the team and the city if even for just a few short years.  Just think, Wakefield probably won’t make it to the Hall, but we can still see his number resting proudly for generations to come, in his specific memory.

Now I know a lot of people like the Red Sox organizational criteria for having a number retired, it seperates us from the Yankees who seem to have maybe three or four numbers under 20 available (with #2 definately out of service and #6 most likely for Torre) and a long storied history of monument park.  Well, it’s like the Celtics people, when you are the penultimate dynasty in your sport who wins decade after decade, you have great players and recognize them.  I’m not saying I agree with it, but the loyalty factor is undeniable.  This way, we won’t take the numbers out of circulation and still give the ‘honored’ player his due.  If it’s done with class, as is most everything the Sox do, it can be something very special.  Special to the memories of the Fans.  Special to memories of the Player.  Special to the ongoing tradition of Red Sox Baseball.

Not mine, but important all the same….

This was posted to Yahoo Sports yesterday and it is on a subject I feel is very important to the history of not only ‘The Nation’ but any person who considers themselves a fan of Baseball.

 

 

It’s time for the Negro Leagues Museum to move to Cooperstown

I should start by saying one of the best days I ever spent in Kansas City was at the Negro Leagues Museum.

It was the day before the 2003 season began and my dad and grandfather were in town to see the White Sox play the Royals on Opening Day. We paid our admissions on that Sunday morning and started looking at the fantastic exhibits full of old uniforms and scorecards. Each case was full of descriptions and stories to pore over and I think I read every word on every card. The thought occurred to me that there weren’t many museums set up better for teaching one subject.

We looked at the amazing statues on the Field of Legends — everyone from Rube Foster to Oscar Charleston — and then watched a short movie featuring Buck O’Neil in the little theater. When we came out, O’Neil himself was standing outside and my grandfather engaged him in a little jabber the way old men often do. They called each other “young man,” patted each other on the back and laughed together. Like thousands of other visitors, we shook hands with Buck, thanked him and left feeling as if the President had shown up to talk with us on a White House tour. We finished our trip by touring the jazz museum next door and taking a short walk down 18th Street for heaping sliced meat sandwiches, unparalleled burnt ends and sweet strawberry soda at Arthur Bryant’s.

It’s a day that remains hard to beat, one I’d recommend to anyone visiting KC.

Yet when I look back at that visit — or any of my four or five other trips — one of the nagging memories is how devoid the museum was of other visitors. I once reported a story on Roger Clemens(notes) taking a tour when the Yankees were in town and the only people in the place were The Rocket, his entourage and O’Neil — who served as a proud tour guide.

And that’s why it comes as no surprise to read yet another story on how the Negro Leagues Museum is in financial trouble and facing an uncertain future. Part of the quagmire is based on a decrease in donations due to the recession, but a lot of the situation is based on the infighting among the museum’s leaders. It’s really quite sad. O’Neil died in 2006, but to see the way some already have forgotten his lessons and legacy suggests he actually passed away many decades ago.

So what to do about the museum — the only one of its kind — before it’s too late? After once being one of its biggest supporters, Joe Posnanski believes the people in charge have “lost their way” and that the place might be “doomed.” Baseball blogger @Wrigleyville23, meanwhile, thinks Major League Baseball should throw a lot of money at the museum to keep it afloat.

I think the solution lies in the middle. Move the museum to Cooperstown, N.Y., where it would have a better chance to flourish.

As Poz’s piece suggests, the methods and motives of the current leadership have started to completely overshadow O’Neil’s original plans for the museum. Its spotlight should shine on the performances of the great black players before the integration of the big leagues and their important place in the struggle for equal civil rights in America. That focus has seemingly disappeared in Kansas City and it seems doubtful that it will return. A fresh start in a new locale is needed.

As for Wrigleyville 23’s plan, I would add that it’s not only MLB’s obligation to keep the memory of the Negro Leagues alive but our obligation as the rest of the baseball world as well. Bringing the museum to Cooperstown would increase foot traffic and donations. More importantly, it would expose more baseball-minded folks to the Negro Leagues beyond the usual fare about Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell.

(And I should say here that I envision the museum not being absorbed by the existing Hall of Fame — which already includes Negro Leagues members and associated exhibits — but remaining autonomous in a specially built wing or in its own building. The Negro Leagues deserve more than being turned into a simple sidebar.)

There are undoubtedly any number of logistical problems and challenges that such a move would face, chief among them uprooting the museum from the city that O’Neil and the famous Kansas City Monarchs once called home. The move certainly would rob the museum of a certain local flavor — and I’m not just talking about the post-trip barbecue.

But the simple fact remains that the museum is struggling to draw visitors in a town that’s not exactly a magnet for tourists. So why not move it to the one place where everyone arrives with baseball on the brain? Wouldn’t that be the best way to present the memories that O’Neil worked so hard to preserve?

****

 

There are several points of comment which I must agree with in addition to the article as a whole.

This is not a ‘color’ issue, but yet it is. As fans, there is no dividing line… our color is the color of the team we root for and the red, white and blue of the MLB. It is partly our responsibility to ensure the history, a very rich one, of the Negro Leagues as part of Baseball’s history and not a sidebar or asterik. But there should also be a greater responsibility on.. well, Negro ball players. Be it African-American, Cuban, Latino… the Negro Leagues weren’t just a ‘dumping ground’ of black players as some ill-minded twits have referred to it (not necessarily here), it was a proving ground of talent and also character for Blacks and Latinos who were denied the opportunity to ply their craft in the ‘major’ leagues. They were denied by, but equal to their white counterparts… as history as easily proven and todays majority of African-American and foreign players need to recognize the sacrifices of those who came before them. Yes, in a way, even Ichiro needs to recognize Buck O’Neil.

So yes, Jimmy Rollins should be opening his checkbook. As should El Tiante (who we all know has a very special and distinct history with the Negro Leagues) Barry f#@&!n’ Bonds, Big Papi, Manny, Pudge Rodriguez, et al,… never mind any responsible white player who believes in the history of his sport. The owners should as well, let’s not forget the fortunes of teams such as the Dodgers and Indians were greatly affected early on in their historic decisions to take on minority players. And perhaps we as fans, the people who literally donate to their paycheck should remind them.

As a member of Red Sox Nation and the long, destructive history of the Yawkey administation’s deep seeded bias against colored people (Remember, we had a shot at Jackie Robinson long before Branch Rickey… and we deep sixed Willie Mays as well) and the talent they represented, I’m a firm believer that we need to fully recognize and support the Negro Leagues as a chapter in Baseball history. Not just MLB, but the evolution of the sport itself.

Should the Negro League Museum be moved to Cooperstown? Abso’freakin’lutely. Will it? Probably not. It is my understanding that the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a private entity working in conjunction with Major League Baseball… therefore an autonomous figure who can ultimately decide it’s own fate free of the MLB administration. Which is why the Negro Leagues are a sidebar to this point in Cooperstown. They have denied the NLM (Negro Leagues Museum) a wing and keep the exhibits to a ‘circulating’ display because there is just ‘so much of it’. Imagine trying to get the NLM as whole in the same building all together.

No, the museum needs to be in Cooperstown, but a free standing exhibit of its own equally celebrated year round and flooded in affection on Induction Day. Just like the Hall itself. Will it happen? Not easily. The folks who run Cooperstown also happen to be the long time city fathers of the town… and have kept growth moderate to suit their desire of keeping Cooperstown a ‘tiny historical hamlet’. Fine by me… we all love those sleepy tourist attractions which offer amazing historical notes. Getting the museum built to their specifications in their decided locale and at their decided price… who knows. In the end, it won’t matter if it is hitorically significant to their own Museum, its still competition. So, I’m sure if we the baseball loving public, former / current players and benefactors pay for it and let them run with a free hand… they may go for it… maybe.

If President Obama, one of the Nation’s biggest sportsfans were involved it sure would help. Hmmm… you know… if Obama, Big Papi, Al Sharpton and Jimmy Rollins showed up on my doorstep with a plan for the NLM, I’d sure as hell listen.

Just sayin’.