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Best Red Sox of All-Time

Digg! The Top MLB Closers of all-time

Below is a list of the top 10 best Boston Red Sox players of All-Time, as determined by MLB Center Red Sox Correspondant Elizabeth Dreeson


10. Joe Cronin
Cronin played for the Red Sox from 1935-1945 with a career .301 batting average, and 2,285 career hits, and the Red Sox retired his number 6. He was an All-Star seven times, he batted .300 or higher and drove in 100 or more runs eight times. He was also a manager and general manager for the Red Sox in the ‘40’s. In a memorable fight in 1938, he intercepted Jake Powell when he tried to charge the mound after being hit in the stomach by Red Sox pitcher Archie McKain.

9. Tris Speaker
Tris Speaker played for the Red Sox from 1907-1914 with a career average of .345. Speaker got the starting center fielder job in 1909 and was part of the “Million Dollar Outfield” in 1910 along with Duffy Lewis (LF) and Harry Hooper (RF). Speaker’s best season was 1912, when Fenway Park opened and when the Sox won the World Series for the second time. He had 222 hits that season and scored 136 runs. He set a major league record when he had three batting streaks of twenty or more games (30, 23, and 22).


8. Johnny Pesky
In Fenway Park, the foul ball pole in right field is called “Pesky’s Pole”. According to Pesky, pitcher Mel Parnell coined the nickname because of Pesky’s legendary, controversial home run in 1948 over the fence near the pole; in fact, it may have even hit the pole. That home run was one of only six home runs Pesky ever hit at Fenway Park. He was the first American League player to score six runs in a nine-inning game. He led the American League in base hits three times. His career average was .307 and he has been a valuable member of the Red Sox organization serving as a first base coach in the 70’s (including the amazing 1975 World Series) and a batting coach to Jim Rice

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7 . Jimmie Foxx
Jimmie Foxx played for the Red Sox from 1936-1942 with an astounding .325 career batting average, 534 home runs, and 2,646 hits. He was nicknamed Double X and The Beast, and he is the second youngest player of all time to reach 500 home runs at only age 32, and he was the second player to reach that mark. He had a spectacular 1938 season with the Sox hitting 50 home runs, driving in 175 runs, batting .349, and winning his third MVP award. He served as the Red Sox team captain as well.

6. Wade Boggs
Boggs played with the Red Sox from 1982-1992 with a career .328 batting average, and 3,010 hits. He played third base, and appeared in 12 consecutive All-Star games. His best season was 1987 with a .363 batting average and 89 RBIs. He won five batting titles throughout his career and batted .349 as a rookie. From 1982-1988 he hit below .349 only once, in 1984 when he batted .325. From 1983-1989 Boggs had 200 hits consecutively each year. He also had six seasons 200 or more hits, 100 or more home runs, and 40 or more doubles.

5. Bobby Doerr
Bobby Doerr spent his entire career with Boston; from 1937-1941. He batted .288 with 2,042 career hits. The Red Sox retired his number 1. He led American League second basemen in double plays five times, he led in put outs and fielding percentage four times each, and in assists three times. He has an amazing career fielding percentage of .980. He set Red Sox records for career games (1,865), at bats (7,093), hits (2,042), doubles (381), total bases (3,270), and runs batted in. However, these were all later broken by arguably the best hitter of all time, Ted Williams. Doerr hit for the cycle twice in his career, and he set a second base record in 1948 by handling 414 chances over 73 games without an error.

4. Cy Young
Cy Young pitched with the Red Sox from 1901-1908 and is revered as one of the best pitchers, if not the best pitcher, in the history of the game. He holds the all time records for wins with 511, 7,355 innings pitched, 2,803 strikeouts, and 749 complete games. His career ERA is 2.38, and his lowest ERA of his career was 1.26. He has 76 career shutouts, which is fourth all time, and he won at least 30 games in a season five times, with ten other seasons with 20 or more wins. He pitched three no hitters, and the first perfect game of baseball’s “modern era”. He earned the AL Triple Crown for pitchers in his first year in the American League. Baseball honored Cy Young by naming the award given annually to the best pitcher of each league.

3. Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk played for the Red Sox from 1969-1980 as a catcher. He had a career batting average of .269, and recorded 2,356 hits over his career. In 1972, his first full year with the Red Sox, he won the AL Gold Glove at catcher, and the AL Rookie of the Year award. He caught 2,226 career games, more than any other catcher in history, and was an 11 time All-Star. The most memorable moment of his career came in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series in the 12 th inning against the Cincinnati Reds. He hit a home run that appeared to be going foul down the left field line so he started jumping and waving his hands, willing the ball to be fair. The ball struck the foul ball pole, and the walk off home run carried the Sox to Game 7. Another memorable Fisk moment was his fight with Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees. On August 1, 1973 at Fenway Park, the game was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth. Thurman attempted to score by barreling into Fisk, which triggered a ten-minute, bench clearing brawl, and heightening the tension between the classic rivalry. The left field pole is called the Fisk Foul Pole, in honor of the 1975 game. Ken Burns, who created a beautiful series on the decades of baseball, considers that game to have re-triggered interest in baseball.

2. Carl Yastrzemski
“Yaz” played for the Red Sox his entire career, 1961-1983, and was part of the “Impossible Dream Team” of 1967. He played outfield primarily, and was known for his ability to track down flies, but he also played first base and designated hitter. He batted .285, with 3,419 hits, and 1,844 RBI’s. He also served as a Red Sox captain, and is the last player in baseball to win the Triple Crown (1967). He was an 18 time All-Star, a seven time Gold Glover, and was the first American League member of the 3,000 hit club to hit 400 home runs. He shares the record with Brooks Robinson of the Orioles for longest career with one team, 23 seasons.

1. Ted Williams
Ted Williams also known as the “Splendid Splinter” or “Teddy Ballgame” is arguably the greatest hitter of all time. He also played his entire career in Boston, from 1939-1960 in which he batted .344, batted in 1,839, collected 2,654 hits, and hit 524 home runs. He played left field for the Red Sox, won the AL MVP twice, lead the league in batting six times, and won the Triple Crown twice (1942 and 1947). He is the last player in Major League Baseball to bat over .400 in one season (.406 in 1941). In fact, his career year was 1941 where he batted .406, hit 37 home runs, batted in 120 runs and scored 135 runs. He holds the highest career batting average of anyone with more than 500 home runs. In the 1946 All-Star game he went 4-4 with two home runs and five RBI’s. In his last at-bat on September 23, 1960, he hit a home run. The Red Sox retired his number 9. One of Teddy’s final and most memorable public appearances was at the 1999 All-Star game, when he was brought out to the mound in a golf cart. “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer”.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Babe Ruth: Every baseball fan knows the story about Babe Ruth. How in 1918 he was traded to the New York Yankees for cash to fund the corrupt Red Sox owner’s Broadway show, and after that year the Sox entered into an 86 year drought in which they came agonizingly close to a World Series win several time, but never won it. This became known as the Curse of the Bambino. Babe Ruth was both a pitcher and a first baseman. He batted a career .342, held the record of 714 home runs for some time (before it was broken by Hank Aaron) and had 2,873 career hits. As a pitcher, he had a career 2.28 ERA, with 107 complete games out of only 163 games pitched. Even though he spent the majority of his career with the Yankees, he is regarded as the greatest player of all time.
  • Jim Rice: Jim Rice played for the Red Sox for his entire career, from 1974-1989, with a career .298 batting average, 2,452 career hits, and 382 home runs. He was a captain for the Red Sox, he topped 20 homers 11 times, 100 RBIs eight times, was an All-Star eight times, hit .300 in seven seasons and he finished in the top five in the AL MVP voting six times. Also, Rice hit 39-plus homers four times. During this time most of his stats were leading in the AL. He’s been on the top ten list in various categories numerous times. This past year he came sixteen votes away from eternal enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, and he’s on the ballot for his fifteenth and final at-bat this year.
  • Tony Conigliaro: Nicknamed Tony C. he played from 1964-1975 with a career batting average of .264. In his 1964 Rookie season batted .290 with 24 home runs, and in his 1965 he led the league in home runs with 32. On August 18, 1967, in a game against the California Angels, he was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone, and knocked unconscious. He missed the rest of that season; however, in the next season, he was named Comeback Player of the Year. He was forced to retire earlier than expected because his eyesight had been permanently damanged.
  • Jim Lonborg: Jim Lonborg pitched with the Red Sox from 1965-1971. He had a career ERA of 3.86 with 368 complete games of 425. In 1967, as a part of the Impossible Dream Team, he led American League pitchers in wins, games started, and strikeouts.
  • Freddy Lynn: Fred Lynn played for the Red Sox from 1974-1979 as a centerfielder. He batted .283 with 1,960 hits and 306 home runs. He had an amazing 1975 season in which he won the Rookie of the Year award as well as the AL MVP award. He was the first player ever to win both in one season. Lynn and Rice were dubbed as the “Gold Dust Twins”. In 1975 Lynn also led the league in doubles, runs scored, and slugging percentage, and finished second in batting average at .331. On top of that he won a Gold Glove Award. When he was with the Red Sox, he was elected to the All-Star team every year.
  • Mike Greenwell: Mike Greenwell played his entire career with the Red Sox, from 1985-1996. He batted .303 with 1,400 hits, and played left field. He was nicknamed “The Gator” because he wrestled with alligators during the offseason. In 1988, Greenwell hit .325 with 22 HR, and 119 RBIs, and finished second in MVP voting.
  • Dwight Evans: Dwight Evans spent his entire career with the Red Sox, from 1972-1991. He played right field with a batting average of .272. However, Evans was mostly known for his amazing fielding. He won eight gold gloves and his throwing arm was among the best in baseball of his time. From 1980-1989, Evans hit more home runs (256) than any other player in the American League.
  • Mo Vaughn: Mo Vaughn also played his entire career with Boston, from 1991-2003. He batted .293 with 328 home runs and 1,620 hits. He was nicknamed the “Hit Dog” and played first base for the Red Sox, selected as an All-Star three times, and won the AL MVP in 1995. In 1995 he established himself the reputation of one of the most feared hitters in the AL when he hit 39 home runs with 126 RBIs and a .300 batting average. However, his best season with the Red Sox was 1996 when he batted .326 with 44 home runs and 143 RBIs. From 1996-1998 Vaughn batted .315 or higher, and averaged 40 home runs and 118 RBIs.

Recent Honorable Mentions

  • Pedro Martinez: In 1999 Pedro finished with a 23-4 record with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, which earned him the Pitchers Triple Crown, and the Cy Young Award. Between August 1999 and April 2000, Martinez had ten consecutive starts with ten strikeouts. In the 1999 All-Star Game, he became the first pitcher to strike out the side at an All-Star game. In 2000, he posted a 1.74 ERA, and won his third Cy Young Award. He finished his career with the Red Sox with a 117-37 record,the highest winning percentage a pitcher has ever had with one team.
  • Nomar Garciaparra: In 1997 “No-mah” was named Rookie of the Year when he hit 30 home runs and drove in 98 (which set a new record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter). In 1999 Nomar batted .357, and in 2000 he batted .372. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles. Everyone knows the tragic ending to this story. We’re sorry Nomar.
  • Curt Schilling: Schilling was an integral part of the Red Sox 2004 World Series victory. The most memorable game being Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS where Curt pitched through seven laborious innings, and blood was visibly seeping into his sock. He has 3,116 career strikeouts and a career 3.46 ERA.
  • Jason Varitek: Jason Varitek has played with the Red Sox since 1997, and has been their starting catcher since 1999. Most importantly he’s been their captain since 2005. He’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and he has always been an important part of the team, and in helping pitchers.
  • Manny Ramirez: Manny Ramirez had an amazing career with the Red Sox. He’s always had the reputation of just “being Manny”. His career batting average is .314 and he hit number 500 at the end of May 2008. He was an important part of both 2004 and 2007 Red Sox victories (he was the MVP in 2004).
  • David Ortiz: David Ortiz has been Boston’s “Big Papi” since he’s been with them. He has a career batting average of .287. He also played a major role in leading the Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years. From 2003-2005, 20 of his home runs were clutch—either tying or giving Boston the lead. He hit .400 in the 2004 playoffs, and hit a memorable walk-off home run in Game 4 of the ALCS—the definition of clutch. In 2006 he set a new Red Sox record by belting 54 home runs, three of which were walk off.
  • Dustin Pedroia : This small second baseman of the Boston Red Sox is in the process of making a huge name for him. He has won the Rookie of the Year Award, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger Award, the AL MVP, and has had a six year contract extension all within two years.


Digg! The Top MLB Closers of all-time


By Elizabeth Dreeson
Boston Red Sox Correspondent