Selecting the Boston Red Sox's All-Time Dream Team
The Boston Red Sox's current team seems to be doing just fine for the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun here.
One of the joys of being a sportswriter is the opportunity to compile fantasy rosters of all-time greats and try to imagine just how awesome they would be together on the same team.
Here, I’ve put together, to the best of my knowledge, an ideal roster of Red Sox legends. Enjoy!
Catcher: Carlton Fisk
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The original “Pudge,” as he’s known throughout baseball, is a living Red Sox legend.
Carlton Fisk is best known for his heroism during the 1975 World Series, but he was also a reliable All-Star catcher for the Red Sox. In the 10 years he spent in Boston, Fisk hit .285 with 162 home runs and over 1,000 hits. Fisk was also instrumental in the Red Sox’s 1975 playoff run.
In 2000, Fisk was inducted into the Hall of Fame, becoming one of only 16 catchers to ever receive the prestigious baseball honor. Fisk is not only a Red Sox great, he is also one of the best players ever to take the field. The Red Sox retired his number, 27, the same year Fisk was voted into the Hall of Fame.
Runner-up: Jason Varitek
First Base: Jimmie Foxx
If not for the gentleman playing left field on this team, Jimmie Foxx would be the greatest power hitter in Red Sox history. In six seasons with the Red Sox, Foxx slugged 217 home runs, made it to six All-Star teams, won a batting title and an MVP award in the same year, and posted an OPS of 1.039.
Needless to say, Foxx’s achievements are numerous. He finished his career with 534 home runs and impressive overall statistics that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. While Foxx only played six of his 20 major league seasons with the Red Sox, he left a an impressive reputation behind. He is still well known in Boston as a slugger for the ages.
Runner-up: Mo Vaughn
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia
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One of only three players on this list who are still active, Dustin Pedroia beats out Red Sox legend Bobby Doerr for the top spot at second base.
Doerr was truly a star for the Red Sox, and his presence in the Hall of Fame proves as much. However, Pedroia’s statistics are marginally more impressive than Doerr’s.
Over his 14-year career, Doerr posted a very strong .288/.362/.461 batting line. In his first eight years in the big leagues, Pedroia has hit .303/.370/.460. On defense, both players were and are Gold Glove-caliber second basemen.
While the difference between the two players is really very minimal, Pedroia’s clubhouse leadership also comes into play here. While Doerr was certainly a strong figure on his team, Pedroia is the unquestioned leader of the Boston Red Sox. That unofficial title gives him the slight edge here.
Runner-up: Bobby Doerr
Third Base: Wade Boggs
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One of the best pure hitters of his time, Wade Boggs was an easy pick at third base.
Boggs finished his career with a strong .328 batting average and over 3,000 hits, more than enough for a first-ballot induction into the Hall of Fame.
More importantly, his most productive seasons came in a Red Sox uniform. While playing in Boston for 10 years, Boggs won five batting titles, appeared in seven All-Star Games and earned himself six Silver Slugger awards.
Considering his unbelievable production, I think Red Sox fans can forgive Boggs for playing for the Yankees for five years.
Runner-up: Jimmy Collins
Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra
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During his tenure with the Red Sox, everybody knew that Nomar Garciaparra was going to be in the Hall of Fame. That’s how good he was. Unfortunately, we now know that a string of injuries later in his career will likely prevent him from ever reaching that goal. However, that shouldn’t detract from his accomplishments in Boston.
In his first full season with the Red Sox, Nomar led the league in hits and nearly became the first 30-30 player in Red Sox history, a performance that earned him the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year award. He didn’t stop there.
Over his seven seasons in Boston, Nomar posted a .325 batting average, won two batting titles and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting five times. He was truly a superstar.
Runner-up: Joe Cronin
Left Field: Ted Williams
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Undoubtedly the best player on this list, Ted Williams, or Teddy Ballgame as he has been appropriately nicknamed, is often referred to as the greatest hitter ever.
Williams finished his career with an absurd .344/.482/.634 batting line that earned him a quick spot in the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, that .482 on-base percentage is the best mark ever achieved by a major league baseball player.
Williams spent his entire career with the Red Sox. During that time, he earned 19 All-Star appearances, won six batting titles, two Triple Crowns and two MVP awards. He probably would have won even more MVP titles had he not played at the same time as superstars Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Williams, like many on this list, is not only known among Red Sox fans, he is a baseball icon throughout the sport.
Runner-up: Carl Yastrzemski
Center Field: Dom DiMaggio
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The Red Sox’s speedy center fielder, Dom DiMaggio played alongside the aforementioned Williams for much of his career.
During his time with the Red Sox, DiMaggio posted a .298/.383/.419 batting line, hitting mostly out of the leadoff spot. He routinely hit double digits in stolen bases and led the league in triples in 1950.
While he never reached the level of achievement that Williams did, DiMaggio was a very effective All-Star-level player for his entire career, earning seven All-Star appearances and a permanent spot in the Red Sox’s own Hall of Fame.
Runner-up: Tris Speaker
Right Field: Dwight Evans
This lineup is just flooded with superstars.
Not only did Dwight Evans have a killer mustache back in the day, he was also an extremely valuable power hitter.
Evans finished his career with a .272/.370/.470 batting line and nearly 400 home runs. Evans was also the worthy recipient of eight Gold Glove awards. He was a superstar in his day.
Personally, I believe it’s completely absurd that Evans is not in the Hall of Fame. He was one of the best in the business during his time. Even Bill James believes he should be in the Hall.
Runner-up: Buck Freeman
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
This is the easiest choice I’ve had to make on this list.
By now, everyone is very aware of the accomplishments of David Ortiz during his 10 years of Red Sox baseball. While in Boston, Ortiz has hit .290/.389/.573 with 343 home runs and over 1,000 runs batted in. Ortiz has also appeared in eight All-Star Games and has five Silver Slugger awards to his name.
Furthermore, Ortiz owns the record for most home runs and most RBI by a designated hitter ever in history. If it weren’t for the work of one Edgar Martinez, Ortiz would be the greatest DH to ever live.
Runner-up: None. Let’s be honest, there’s nobody else close.
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Pedro is one of the greatest pitchers to ever live. The legendary starter will always be remembered as a Boston hero, as he was instrumental in the successful 2004 World Series run.
While with the Red Sox, Martinez won four ERA titles, led the league in strikeouts three times and earned two Cy Young awards. For a brief time at the height of his career, Martinez absolutely dominated the game of baseball. Nobody could hit him, plain and simple.
While he didn’t win any awards for his accomplishments, Young had a major award named after him. I’d say that’s good enough.
In his 22 years of baseball, Young holds the all-time record for games, innings pitched, wins and complete games. He was truly unstoppable. Young spent eight of those dominant years in a Red Sox uniform.
During his time in Boston, Young posted a 2.00 ERA and won nearly 200 games. Suffice it to say, he left a lasting impression on the Red Sox and on baseball as a whole.
Roger Clemens (aka The Rocket) has taken some bad press lately, as he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs later in his career. While I certainly don’t defend his dubious use of banned substances, he still remains one of the greatest men to every throw a baseball.
Clemens spent 13 of his 22 brilliant years with the Red Sox, finishing his time in Boston with a 3.06 ERA, 192 wins and two Cy Young awards. He also holds the record for most strikeouts in a single game with 20.
Smoky Joe Wood
Although it’s been some time since Wood tossed a baseball for the Red Sox, his performance is well documented, and rightfully so.
In eight years with the Red Sox, Wood posted a minuscule 1.99 ERA and won over 100 games. Wood would have undoubtedly won more than a few Cy Young awards, had the honor existed during his time.
Tiant makes the fifth spot for several reasons.
First, he was an absolutely brilliant pitcher. While he never won a Cy Young award, Tiant led the league in ERA twice and won over 200 games. He won over 100 of those games in a Red Sox uniform.
The second reason for his inclusion is that Tiant is one of the well-known gentlemen of baseball. He cares deeply about the Red Sox and the game as a whole. Today, Tiant can be spotted at just about every Red Sox game, rooting on his old team long after his retirement.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
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Another rare easy decision here.
If not for the presence of Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon would likely be the best reliever of the last decade. The fiery closer owns a 2.36 career ERA as well as five All-Star appearances and 260 saves.
While with the Red Sox, Papelbon posted a 2.33 ERA and racked up 219 saves, more than any other reliever in Red Sox history.
Today, you can see Papelbon playing for the Phillies, still demolishing opposing hitters like it’s no big deal.
Runner-up: Lee Smith