Results tagged ‘ Jim Rice ’

Tales from Exit 138: Fog on the Barrow Downs

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Another 5:30 am wake up call and on a Saturday morning no less. But it was a small price to pay to go watch the first official full-squad workout. Since it was a Saturday, I went with my dad, and we were on the road by 6. We left so early that there was still some fog on the sides of the alley, and we were able to watch the sun rise behind us and the moon fade in front of us.

I had all of the essentials packed, which includes my big notebook which I have been using since my first Portland Sea Dogs game in 2009 against the Altoona Curve. It was Daniel Nava’s Double-A debut, Luis Exposito DH’d, Adam Mills pitched, and Ryan Kalish had reached base in 18 straight games–not to mention the fact that he hit a two-run homer. Normally my notebook is full of all the papers I accumulated over the summer: scorecards, game notes, etc, but I had put that in a file so I wouldn’t get confused between those and my spring training papers.

For the pitchers and catchers workout, I had made a spread sheet full of statistics for all of the minor league players that I intend on scouting this spring. I also had a document with their mugshots because I memorize statistics, not faces. This time, I brought a list of players that the website “Sox Prospects” wants me to get pictures of. Hardly any of the minor league players on my list were present, but they will be by this time next week.

I was going to bring a scooter this time so that I would be more evenly matched with the complex, but I decided not to since I would be carrying my dad’s fancy camera around. This ended up being good intuition because I finally noticed this sign with some rules on it right before I walked into the complex. Among them was “No skateboarding.”

Initially, I had planned on attempting to kill two birds with one stone: I wanted to check out the minor league workout at the stadium, and then check out the normal one at the Player’s Development Complex. But when I asked the security guards if the minor league players were at the stadium, they did not seem to know what I was talking about. I further investigated this dilemma when I got home, and multiple twitter accounts have corroborated my theory that they had the weekend off.
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We arrived at the complex no later than 8:30, but I started to become suspicious around 9:15 when not even the catchers had emerged from the clubhouse. But it was nice to simply walk around the complex in the early morning and feel the wet grass between my toes. It smelled like baseball. Luis Tiant walked out to one of the fields about a half an hour before the players came out, and Jim Rice went up to the NESN booth with Peter Gammons & co.
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When the players finally did come out, I was on the wrong side of things. Not that it really mattered much, anyway, as only Lars Anderson stopped to sign on the way out. The catchers did pass where I was standing though.

Again, it was not the best day for autographs and pictures with players because it was the first full squad workout and everyone was figuring out the rotation. While I certainly do enjoy getting pictures with the players, that’s not the reason why I go: I go because I find the drills fascinating.

The players were split up by position, and it even seemed like the everyday players were kept together. I mainly watched the pitching and infield drills. What fascinates me is that these are essentially the same drills that you do in little league, high school, and college. The level of difficulty my change, but the game itself always stays the same.

I think that we take advantage of how good these players really are because they make everything look so easy: whether it is completing a 6-4-3 double play or something as simple as catching a fly ball, it’s not as easy as it seems.
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The infield drill that I enjoyed the most was the slow roller one. Lars Anderson was at first base, and Jose Iglesias, Yamaico Navarro, and Nate Spears had to charge the ball and get it over to first.
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Then I watched batting practice for a while. I completely ignored the regulars like Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez taking batting practice and instead focused on Josh Reddick, Daniel Nava, Lars Anderson, Yamaico Navarro, and Jose Iglesias taking batting practice.

At one point I was between two fields, hoping to catch players between them, and I said hello to Darnell McDonald as he walked by. I was completely shocked that he remembered me from Tampa. It was a quick “Oh yeah, I remember you,” but it was still a cool moment.

I anticipated the players going back in around 12, so I intended on getting a spot around 11:30. Little did I know that the players were going in around 11:30 instead, so I ended up in a pretty poor spot. After a while, a cleanly-shaven Kevin Youkilis came over and signed for nearly everybody down the line, and I was nearly smushed on my way out.
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I was on my way out of the complex when I noticed Jose Iglesias getting his stuff together. A few people were going over for autographs, but by no means was it a mob-scene, so I decided to go over and ask for a picture.
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There was, however, a rather large mob of people on my way out, and Mike Cameron was signing autographs for everyone. It was kind of a weird angle for a picture, but he quickly posed for one nonetheless.

So as you can see, the whole getting-pictures-with-players proces
s at the workouts is kind of random, and it has a lot to do with luck. I was able to gauge, however, where they go between drills, so I will do my best to position myself wisely when I go up again tomorrow (Monday). It’s an open house tomorrow, so regardless of whether or not I get anything done at the complex, there will definitely be autograph opportunities (which I will turn into photo opportunities). There are activities all day on the field for little kids, and let’s get real: we all know that the slime making booth at first base is the real reason why I’m going. 

I did have my very expired press pass with me on Saturday, but I did not put it to any use. I had intended to try and attend a press conference at the end, but they all seemed to be held at the beginning. Plus the security guards remembered me despite my attempted disguise of straight hair.  Honestly, I should just try some these-are-not-the-droids-you’re-looking-for Jedi mind tricks, and see how far I can get.

More stories to come from the Fort tomorrow!

They Break Your Heart…

As soon as the game ended, I wanted to come on here and write everything that I was feeling. It would have been the most impulsive, scapegoating article you may have ever read. I tend to forget that the emotions following the end of the season (especially a bad end) come in waves. 

At first, I masochistically sat in my room and cried. I could not believe we had lost that game. It didn’t seem possible; I was so sure of a victory. Even when the Angels were right on our tails, I was thinking: “Hey, our closer is in. There are two outs and two strikes. We got this!”. That thought went through my head twice. Then Vladmir Guerrero shattered that thought and replaced it with a single emotion: disbelief. 
Anyway, I felt it wasn’t proper to write when I was crying simply because I could barely see the screen and plus, no one is really coherent when they’re in that state of mind. Then I transitioned to anger, which blinded me for a little while because I was angry at only Jonathan Papelbon, and that’s not fair. I was scapegoating him for the entire series, not just the game, and that’s really not fair. 
Finally, the empty feeling pervades, and that’s the one that sticks. The Red Sox season is over, and without them, well my life is kind of empty. This feeling of emptiness was accompanied with disbelief again, and heartbreak: the same old song and dance. So I feel like I’ve done myself, and you guys a favor by not writing about this until today. 
I tend to scapegoat a lot when the Red Sox lose. Normally, I blame myself for choosing the wrong couch cushion to sit on, or something along those lines. And what some would call “obsessive compulsive disorder” severely augments during the playoffs. 
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I’m sure many of you can guess whom I decided to scapegoat during Game 1: CB Bucknor, the first base umpire–I was absolutely livid. However, regardless of how erroneous his calls were, it didn’t significantly effect the outcome of the game. The offense was dead, practically immobile; we were shutout for the first time since the 1995 ALDS. Our bats simply did not show up that day, similar to the absence of our bats during the first few weeks following the All-Star break. 
I went on to blame the Yankees for choosing Wednesday night instead of Thursday night to begin their playoff crusade. Obviously, they wanted to sabotage us by giving us an extra day off so that we would be rusty. I do think that the Yankees had a similar mentality in choosing which day to begin on, but I don’t think it was as intricately planned as I thought it was. Nevertheless, we were rusty. We hadn’t played a game since Sunday, so there wasn’t a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome of Game 1, it is still ironic and cruel humor to have an umpire whose last name is ‘Bucknor’ umpiring first base. 
The beginning of Game 2 rendered me hopeful when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a triple, and Victor Martinez drove him in. That turned out to be the most amount of scoring we would be doing for that game. Another night in which the lackluster Red Sox offense barely did anything. Both Beckett and Lester had decent outings, but they were out dueled by the stellar pitching from Lackey and Weaver. 
So what was wrong with the Red Sox? We had gotten ourselves in to a do or die situation. Not completely unfamiliar territory, but not the most pleasant to be in either. What had been the remedy in the years past when the Red Sox had their backs against the wall in say 2004 or 2007? To be honest, I think players only meetings were a significant aspect in rejuvenating the team. 
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As far as I know, there were no players only meetings this year. But think about who led those players only meetings in years past: Jason Varitek, our captain. It’s no wonder there were no meetings this year while our captain was sitting on the bench. When Terry Francona took him out of the last game of the season to a standing ovation at Fenway Park, I did not know that it may have been the last time I would have ever seen Varitek in a Red Sox uniform. 
The Victor Martinez pickup was brilliant; it was the perfect remedy when our offense was lackluster after the All-Star break, and I think he was a major player in helping the Red Sox get to the postseason. However, it seems to me like we kicked Jason Varitek to the curb. 
I know I lobbied relentlessly for his return in the offseason, and there hasn’t been a single moment this season in which I have regretted that. Sure his offensive numbers are subpar, but as I’ve said countless times, his mere presence on the field is invaluable. I know Victor Martinez’s bat is one of the most formidable in all of Major League Baseball, but we can’t just throw our captain under the bus because of his weak offensive numbers. We didn’t even do that to Big Papi during his horrendous slump. 
Take a look at our pitchers’ second half numbers. Guys like Josh Beckett, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen (among others) struggled the second half of the season. By no means do I want to blame their numbers on Victor Martinez, but I do think that familiarity with a catcher has a significant impact on their numbers. With a guy like Jason Varitek, a man who calls the game like no other (who else has four no-hitters on their resume?), pitchers don’t even have to think. Jason Varitek probably tells them when to breathe and when to blink, but he slowly drifted out of the picture by the end of the season. 
He didn’t even see a minute of postseason action–a time when the comfort of the pitchers is essential to success. Varitek is the true leader of the Red Sox, so I wonder how the team feels when they see their captain on the bench. I’m not saying bench Victor Martinez, but I know that there is another lineup where both Varitek and Martinez are present. If we were sitting Varitek because of his lack of offense, than I think it is perfectly justifiable to sit Big Papi. 
One more thing before I progress to the truly heartbreaking game. What about respect? Did the Red Sox treat Jimmie Foxx, Carl Yastrzemski, or Jim Rice like this? I don’t think so. I think we have seen Jason Varitek’s last moment in a Red Sox uniform. 
***
I tried to change this up a little for Game 3. I realized that the Manny Ramirez statue I had made in seventh grade was still in my room, so I launched it into my backyard. Then, another brilliant idea crossed my mind: a hunger strike! What if I was to refuse food until the Red Sox scored? I thought that Kevin Youkilis’ shot (that ended up being foul) signified my lunch, but I was wrong–and I was getting hungry. Jacoby Ellsbury’s spectacular catch almost prompted me to sneak a pretzel, but I refused. Luckily, Dustin Pedroia’s two RBI double allowed me to eat. I thought that the hunger strike was brilliant, and I was already planning on doing it again the next day during Game 4 when the Red Sox were still flying high on a 5-1 lead. 
I forgot Yogi Berra’s famous aphorism: “It ain’t over til it’s over”. I was so proud of my babies/projects that I forgot that Papelbon is human. Clay Buchholz blew me away in his
postseason debut… the fact that he performed the way that he did as a rookie is astounding. Not to mention the fact that Daniel Bard got out of a bases loaded jam with no outs with minimal damage. 
I was so sure we had that game in the bag… just like in years past when Red Sox fans were positive that they had the game won. It was heartbreaking to watch the win slip through our fingers. It was more than just a sweep. In 2005 when the Red Sox got swept by the White Sox, they lost Game 3 3-0. But we had this game. We could have pushed it to Game 4. But as we all know, they break your heart. 
We can’t just blame Jonathan Papelbon–it was the offense that failed to score runs in the first two games as well. So as Red Sox fans, we suck it up. The wound will remain open, but we blink back the tears and look forward to next season. 

If I were a General Manager…

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of us our familiar with the musical: Fiddler on the Roof. At one point, the main character, Tevye day dreams about what he would do “if he were a rich man”. I’m starting to get the feeling that it may be a bad thing if I don’t remember the ending of the play considering I was a villager (with no lines) in the play when I was in seventh grade. I’m getting the feeling that he doesn’t become rich, but everyone ends up happy. 
Maybe the same can I apply as I share with you my daydreams about what I would do if I was Theo Epstein for a day. I doubt that I’m cut out for the general manager business though. I can only imagine the amount of stress and responsibility Theo has with putting together a team like the Red Sox each season. Nonetheless, it is a fun idea to entertain considering I’m constantly making suggestions as to what should be done. I wonder if I have enough stamina to be a general manager, a journalist, and a broadcaster (or even enough time). 
Before I talk about my fantastical crusade as a general manager, I have a few other things to get to. 
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I realized that I neglected to mention my thoughts on Casey Kelly in my last blog. For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, he was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008 not only as a pitcher, but as a shortstop as well. He spent the first half of this season pitching, and he will be spending the second half as a shortstop (from what I can remember of the report). I would actually be completely okay with him training as a shortstop, and holding off on the pitching aspect. The Red Sox organization is already full of great pitchers with a lot of potential. Shortstops? Not so much. 
I’m pretty convinced that ever since Nomar Garciaparra left in 2004, that there is a minor curse when it comes to shortstops. Hanley Ramirez, the star of the Marlins, was homegrown talent, but he isn’t playing for the Red Sox. Was it a mutually beneficial trade? Yes. Would I do the trade again? Absolutely. 
We signed Julio Lugo expecting him to be a pesky leadoff hitter like he was with the Rays. Unfortunately, that did not work out as he was designated for assignment and traded to the Cardinals a couple of days ago. Jed Lowrie is homegrown talent, but he has barely had a season. Nick Green (who must have been thoroughly exorcised considering he came from the Yankees) has been a pleasant surprise, but nothing outstanding, though I shouldn’t try to compare anyone to Nomar. 
Shortstop is currently our weakest position in my opinion, catching (I will address this later) coming in second. We need to have a legitimate “shortstop for the future” developing in the minors. 
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I really wish I had seen Mark Buehrle’s perfect game live, but as I am not a fan of the White Sox or Rays, I didn’t have some sort of crazy premonition that compelled me to watch the game. To put this feat in a historical context is really incredible, all of the statistics that come up amaze me. It’s kind of funny how people consider perfect games to be so exciting, yet technically speaking, nothing happens since the opposing team is literally shut down. It’s the beauty of the pitching though, and the fact that it is so rare and precious that makes it beautiful to me. 
I don’t have to be a White Sox fan to appreciate this, I think that every baseball fan should find this to be beautiful and stunning. I can understand that it must have been embarrassing for the Rays to be shut out like that, but it’s really just something you tip your cap to. It is something that I will always remember. 
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I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Hall of Fame inductions, which I was delighted to watch on MLB Network. I was in absolute awe to see 50 living legends all in one place, and I’ll be completely honest with you: there was a good portion of them that I hadn’t heard of, but that just makes me even more excited to go to the Hall of Fame in a few weeks. 
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It was really inspiring to see Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice give their speeches. Henderson was so humbled by it, and I loved the way that he got into the game, and the part about following your dreams. Jim Rice just looked euphoric– it was great to see him drop his usual demeanor and just laugh. 
Watching the whole Hall of Fame induction ceremony inspired me even more to begin my crusade to enshrine Pete Rose there. I will save my argument for another post, but I would really like to have a makeshift plaque made for him, and bring it to Cooperstown myself. Believe me my friends, I am getting him in there. 
So with the trade deadline coming up, there are plenty of trade rumors going around. I nearly spit my water everywhere when I read that Bronson Arroyo may be headed to the Yankees (this rumor has been squelched for the record). I couldn’t imagine my Arroyo in pinstripes. But this brings me to my main point (I guess?), what I would be doing if I was Theo Epstein. 
I am actually very happy with the Adam LaRoche trade, not because he is adjusting extraordinarily well to Pittsburgh, but because he is a significant upgrade from Mark Kotsay. I never thought Kotsay was anything unique, in fact I was a bit upset when we re-signed him because I thought Chris Carter or Jeff Bailey would be sufficient, if not better. Plus, we didn’t lose any significant prospects (if I don’t talk about them, they aren’t significant). 
We all knew that we had to get Julio Lugo off of our hands. Nice a guy as he may be, he just simply hasn’t been living up to the organization’s expectations, and regardless of his contract, it was for the greater good of the team that he is gone. Chris Duncan is in Triple-A right now, and I am dying to scout him. 
I am actually perfectly content with our roster right now. We don’t need to be involved in a break-the-headlines trade like last year because our left fielder isn’t complaining
about his lifestyle. Poor Manny, $20 million a year and adored by fans– tough life. Yet we still are involved in trade talks. 
I have heard the Roy Halladay rumors, and I was not attracted to him for a second (same thing happened with Mark Teixeira). I know what kind of pitcher he is, but I know what kind of pitching we have in the minors. Would Halladay solidify what has been perhaps a somewhat disappointing rotation (specifically Dice-K and Penny’s lack of depth)? Sure, and I’m pretty sure his contract is locked up for a few years. 
Think about what we might have to give up for him though. They asked the Yankees for Joba, Phil Hughes and two more prospects. I am very protective of our bullpen, and even more so of our prospects because the good ones (that are likely to go in a trade) are my projects. Roy Halladay may be the ace of the American League, but I’d be willing to say that Michael Bowden is the next Roy Halladay. That is how much I believe in our prospects. Think about how important Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden could be in the future. 
I have also heard the Victor Martinez rumors. When I said that I think catching is our second weakest position, I do not mean currently. Most of you know how hard I lobbied for Jason Varitek’s return, and I for one have not been disappointed. When I say catching is our weakest position, I mean for the future. George Kottaras is only around because he can catch a knuckleball, and I personally prefer Dusty Brown. I’d rather stick around and wait for Joe Mauer to become available. Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek are both legitimate catchers, who both deserve a lot of playing time. Should Martinez come to the Red Sox, I would think that someone’s playing time would be significantly impacted. 
I think we should stay right where we are right now. We are still very legitimate contenders, but we have to look to future acquisitions too. 

Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice to the Hall of Fame!!

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I was in my American Lit. class when the clock struck 1:30. I tensed up and started breathing a little heavier. “Oh my God, Oh my God!” I whispered, checking my phone every ten seconds to see if my father had texted me with any news.

“What?” Ben, the kid sitting next to me asked. “It’s 1:30!” I said. He gave me a weird look, so I explained “The people elected into the Hall of Fame are announced now!” He rolled his eyes, and continued listening to whatever it was we were talking about in class–something about Hemingway. As soon as the bell rang, I was determined to find an iPhone and check ‘Red Sox Mobile’.
I walked over to the little area that my friends and I sit in and started saying “I need the internet!” repeatedly. I went up to my friend Will, and demanded the iPhone. I went to the Red Sox website–nothing! So I went to MLB.com, but still nothing! Fine, it had only been ten minutes since 1:30 but still–no news?? This bothered me the rest of the day until finally, when school ended, I had a voicemail from my father. Jim Rice was finally in the Hall of Fame!!
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I was so happy when I heard the news! Jim Rice had finally made it, after fourteen years of coming so close, but losing (sounds like a few World Series years right?) he made it in his fifteenth and final at-bat. 
He now joins the other two Red Sox captains, Carl Yastrzemski and Jimmie Foxx in the Hall and is the fourth Red Sox player elected to spend his entire career there. 
Okay, it’s not like it wasn’t close. He received 76.2% of the votes, but hey, he deserves it! 
In early December, I wrote an entry on why Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. Some of you may vaguely remember it, but if not, you can read (or look at it) here
When I got home from school, the first thing I turned on was MLB Network, and Jim Rice was at an interview. I tried to watch it but my brother started complaining and got another remote from the other room, and attempted to change the channel. I wouldn’t let him, and finally he gave in. 
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Another to enter the famous “Hall” today, was Rickey Henderson. He is absolutely incredible. He had 3,055 career hits and 1,406 stolen bases! In one year, he stole 130–in one year!! I think that’s absolutely incredible. 
I have the utmost amount of respect for these players, and I am happy that it will be perpetuated in the Hall of Fame. 
**More to come on Takashi Saito soon**

Best Red Sox Players in History-Your Opinion?

So for the other site that I write for on a weekly basis, MLB Center, as the Red Sox Correspondent, I finally finished the “rough draft” of the article: The Top 10 Red Sox Players of All Time. Not only is it the Top 10 of all Time, but there are some honorable mentions, and some “future stars” as well. I’m sure a lot of you already know some stories about most of these players, but if you have any personal stories (or opinions) that you’d like to share, I think that’d really add to the story. You will of course be quoted in the final story. 

Top 10
Boston Red Sox Players

Elizabeth Dreeson-Red Sox Corespondent

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

 

 

 

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 12th
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 rove 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.

-Elizabeth

 

The Last Shot on the Ballot for a former Red Sox Captain-Jim Rice

Jim-Rice--C10107298.jpgThere have only been four captains of the Red Sox since 1923: Jimmie Foxx, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and now Jason Varitek. The hall of fame ballots are out yet again, and it is Jim Rice’s final at-bat on this ballot. Just a year ago, Rice came so close to enshrinement, missing only 16 votes! He received 72.2% of votes, and he needed 75%… talk about close! Jim Rice played his entire career with Boston (1974-1989) gave pitchers a sickening feeling when he came to the plate (along with other Red Sox stars like Yaz, Fisk, Lynn, Boggs, Evans, Armas during that era). The left-fielder’s career statistics speak for themselves:

He had 2,452 hits, 382 home runs, 1451 RBI’s, batted .298, and slugged .502. If that’s not enough for you, the other two Red Sox captains, Jimmie Foxx and Carl Yastrzemski, have both been inducted into the hall of fame. 

Jimmie Foxx.jpeg

Jimmie Foxx played first base, batted an astounding .325, collected 2646 hits, 534 home runs, and 1751 runs, and 1922 RBI’s.  

carl-yastrzemski-hof-1.jpg

Yaz played left field, first base, and was a designated hitter (and is notorious for his ability to track down flies), had 1816 runs, 3419 hits, 452 home runs, 1844 RBI’s, and batted .285. 
Even though these other captains have better career statistics (over all), remember Rice only played 16 seasons. Foxx played 20 and Yaz played 23, so if Rice had played longer, perhaps his stats would’ve reached this height. According to Bresciansi, a historian for the Red Sox, Rice 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 Rice’s stats were leading in the AL. He’s been on the top ten list numerous times in numerous categories. Other players like Duke Snider and Billy Williams have similar career statistics and they’re in the hall of fame. In 1978 he played every single game. The list of his accomplishments go on and on.

So, I urge everyone with a hall of fame ballot to put a checkmark, bubble in, or do whatever it is that you do, to help ensure that Jim Rice gets the eternal honor that he deserves in Cooperstown. 
-Elizabeth
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