No. 1 Starter (righty): Pedro Martinez
No. 1 Starter (lefty): Lefty Grove
No. 1 Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Starters: Roger Clemens, Luis Tiant, Dennis Eckersley, Tim Wakefield
Closer: Dick Radatz
Starters: Babe Ruth, Smokey Joe Wood, Curt Schilling, Bill Lee, Jim Lonborg
A lot of questionable calls here. Pedro, at his peak, is definitely the top right-handed pitcher to toe the Fenway mound, but Grove is less clear-cut as leading lefty.
Ruth was considered the AL's best left-hander while hurling for Boston's 1915-16 and 1918 world champs and could also hit a little.
Grove's top years were already behind him when he got to town, and he eventually became a once-a-week hurler. Even their records (105-62 for Grove, 89-46 for Ruth) make this a bit of a toss-up.
Closer is another tough one. Papelbon certainly dominated for much of his seven seasons with Boston—including with the 2007 World Series winners—but in his last two years blew several big games.
Radatz may have been the most dominant pitcher in the American League, starters included, while hurling for awful Boston teams from 1962-64. Papelbon did it longer as a three-out specialist, but Radatz was a workhorse who routinely went two or more innings and in '63 alone was 16-9 with 29 saves and 181 strikeouts in 157 innings for a 72-90 club.
Of the first-reserve starters, Clemens and Tiant are sensible choices, but while Wakefield may be one of the most beloved players in team history, nobody can rightfully claim he was a better pitcher over a prolonged stretch than the likes of second reserve Joe Wood (117-56 from 1908-15) or Mel Parnell (123-75 from 1947-56)—who inexplicably, was not even a second-reserve selection.
Eckersley had just two good years as a starter in Boston and is in the Hall of Fame for his relief work with the A's and Cardinals. Like Remy, he is on this list because of his popularity as a broadcaster with the Sox.
The third reserves have a few sentimental choices as well. As wonderful as Jim Lonborg was in pitching the 1967 Sox to an Impossible Dream pennant, his entire body of work does not warrant his selection.
Ditto for Bill Lee, who was a cult hero for the college crowd and a three-time 17-game winner in the '70s, but not the equal of Parnell, swing man Ellis Kinder (86-52 with 91 saves) or World Series champs Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard of Fenway's great early years.