The Boston Red Sox have one of the most storied histories among all baseball franchises, although that's not necessarily a good thing. After being the dominant team of the early 1900's, even winning the inaugural World Series against Pittsburgh in 1903, the Red Sox went 86 years without another championship, leading some to believe they were cursed.
Despite the annual letdowns in October, the Red Sox still have had many, many great players patrol the outfield or turn double plays in the infield of hallowed Fenway Park.
Trying to account for a great all around team, with a functional lineup rather than the best power hitters at each position, how would Boston's all-time roster look?
Catcher: Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk played a lot more ball in Chicago than he did in Boston, but Fisk is still one of the best Red Sox catchers, ever. During his nine year tenure with the Red Sox, Fisk hit .284, with 160 home runs and 562 RBI.
Fisk won the Rookie of the Year award in 1972, hitting .293 with 22 HR and 61 RBI, as well as being named to the American League All-Star team. It was the first of seven All-Star appearances as a Red Sox in Fisk's career.
After leaving the Red Sox, Fisk went on to play 13 more seasons with the Chicago White Sox before calling it a career after the 1993 season, earning four more All-Star appearances, adding three Silver Sluggers as well.
For his 24-year career, Fisk hit .269, with 376 home runs, 1,330 RBI, and 849 walks. Fisk will forever be warmly remembered for waving that home run fair in the 12th inning of the 1975 World Series Game Six.
Fisk's number 27 has been retired by the Boston Red Sox, and Fisk was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000, with 397 votes out of 499 possible.
First base: Jimmie Foxx
Foxx didn't have a long career with the Red Sox, but he is still one of the more storied players to man first base for the Red Sox. Foxx was the second player in MLB history to reach the 500 home run mark, and is still only the second youngest player to reach that mark.
Following the 1935 season when the Great Depression was at its height, A's owner Connie Mack couldn't afford all of his star players, and Foxx was one of several contracts that had to be sold away. Foxx was sold to the Boston Red Sox for $150,000, which is equivalent to $2,329,655 in today's money.
Foxx had some wonderful seasons in Boston, where he spent six seasons. He narrowly missed winning the batting triple crown in 1938. Foxx led the league with a .349 batting average and 175 RBI, but his 50 home runs were eight shy of the league leading mark.
Foxx's 50 home runs would remain a single season Red Sox record until David Ortiz crushed 54 of his own in the 2006 season.
When Foxx called it a career after the 1945 season, he finished with a .325 batting average, 534 home runs, 1,922 runs batted in, three MVP awards, and nine All-Star selections.
Foxx never had his number retired by the Red Sox, since he didn't play there for ten seasons, but he did make the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
Second base: Bobby Doerr
Doerr was probably the best second baseman the Red Sox have ever seen. He didn't play a very long time, retiring after 14 years at the age of 33, but he still did a lot for the teams he was a part of.
Doerr came onto the scene in 1938, belting five home runs and collecting 80 RBI in 145 games, while also posting a respectable .289 batting average. Doerr made nine All-Star games, and all nine were in the last nine consecutive seasons of his career, starting in 1940.
Defensively, Doerr played just as well as he did as a hitter. Five times in his career, Doerr led American League second basemen in double plays, and also tied league records in putouts, fielding percentage, and assists.
Doerr held all-time marks for double plays at second base and fielding percentage for many years, until Nellie Fox broke the double play record in 1963 and Red Schoendienst surpassed the fielding percentage mark in 1953.
Doerr retired after the 1951 season, finishing with a .288 average, 223 home runs, and 1,247 RBI. He held Red Sox all-time records for games played, at-bats, hits, doubles, total bases, and RBI, until they were later smashed by Ted Williams.
To reward all his tedious toiling, the Red Sox have since retired Doerr's number one. Doerr was also voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1986.
Shortstop: Johnny Pesky
Who else but Pesky for the shortstop spot? He has spent 70 years involved with baseball, and 58 of them with the Red Sox.
His longevity and familiarity have made him as much as an installment with the Red Sox as the Green Monster. His biography was named "Mr. Red Sox," and as many know the right field foul pole at Fenway Park is almost fittingly due to its location named the Pesky Pole.
Not only was Pesky a great player, but he is a great person. He tore up the league in his rookie season in 1942, batting .331 and leading the league with 205 hits as a 22-year old.
However, putting a damper on this, Pesky wouldn't see an at-bat until the 1946 season. Just like honorable teammate Ted Williams, Pesky answered the call to serve his country in World War II.
Pesky returned in 1946 and did much of the same. He hit .335, scored 115 runs, and again led the league with 208 hits. Pesky's 1946 campaign earned him his only All-Star mention, and he was a part of the first Red Sox team to appear in a World Series since the 1918 team that won it all.
On September 23, 2008, Pesky's number six was officially retired by the Red Sox for his 89th birthday.
Third base: Wade Boggs
While many of the Fenway Faithful may not be big Wade Boggs fans after defecting to the Yankees in 1993, it is still impossible to deny as great a hitter as Boggs a spot in the all-time lineup.
Boggs had some truly fine seasons with not only the Red Sox, but later on in his playing days with the Yankees and the (Devil) Rays before retiring after the 1999 season. Analyzing his stats, however, shows that his better years were all played with Boston.
Boggs etched his name into Red Sox lore throughout the 1980's and a few years into the 90's until his Red Sox days had to come to an end. He enjoyed some great years in Beantown. He led the leagues with 240 hits in 1985, he twice led the league in runs scored.
He won five batting titles with the Red Sox, including four consecutive from 1985-1988. His 1987 was the truly a career year, because he kept up his reputation as a great on-base hitter but also had some power numbers that he never was capable of doing before or again.
Boggs finished 1987 hitting .363, with 24 home runs and 89 RBI. He led the league with his .363 average, .461 on-base percentage, and 1.049 on-base + slugging percentage.
In 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, Boggs has 3,010 hits, 1,513 runs scored, a .328 batting average, and a .415 OBP. Boggs was also honored to 12 All-Star games, two Gold Gloves, and eight Silver Sluggers.
After retiring from baseball, Boggs was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, and has had his number retired by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Left field: Carl Yastrzemski
While longevity is a career theme relatively unheard of in the new era of free agency, Carl Yastrzemski is one of many from baseball's golden age who could tell you all about it. Carl spent all 23 of his seasons with the Red Sox, and is one of the most decorated players in Sox history.
For his career accomplishments, Yaz hit .285, with 452 home runs and 1,844 RBI. Yastrzemski sits comfortably above the prestigious 3,000 hit mark with 3,419. The great Yaz even walked 1,845 times and stole 116 bases.
In those 23 seasons of his career, Yastrzemski made 18 All-Star teams, won seven Gold Gloves, and also became the first member of the 3,000 hit club to hit more than 400 home runs.
Yastrzemski is most widely known for his 1967 season, which to this day marks the last time an American League player won the batting triple crown. Yaz led every major category, literally. He hit .326/.418/.622, with a 1.040 OPS, 112 runs, 189 hits, 44 home runs, and 121 RBI, all of which led the league.
Yastrzemski can also add an MVP award to his long resume, which has led to an election to the Hall of Fame, and his number, eight, being retired by the Red Sox.
Center field: Tris Speaker
The Red Sox have not had a lot of great guys who could get on base and steal bases in their long history as an organization. In need to get one of these guys into a functional lineup to hit at the top of the order, this spot came down to Tris Speaker or Harry Hooper.
Despite having less years played with the Red Sox, Tris Speaker wins the job.
Speaker is second all-time among Red Sox players with 267 stolen bases. He also ranks third all-time among Red Sox players with a .337 batting average. Speaker played 22 seasons in the Major Leagues, but only spent seven full ones in Boston.
As a rookie in 1909, Speaker hit .309, with seven home runs, 77 RBI, and 35 steals. Speaker, until being sold to Cleveland in 1916, comprised Boston's "Million Dollar Outfield" along with Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper.
Speaker had one of the best years of his career in 1912 with the opening of Fenway Park. He led the league with 53 doubles, 10 home runs, and a .464 on-base percentage. He also rounded out his line with 90 RBI and 52 steals.
In his career, Speaker led the league in doubles eight times, hits twice, and batting average once. His career line sits at a .345 batting average, 3,514 hits, 792 doubles, 117 home runs, 1,529 RBI, and 432 stolen bases.
Speaker was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.
Right field: Ted Williams
I may just be a Red Sox homer, but Ted Williams was the best player in the history of baseball. Teddy Ballgame, the Splendid Splinter, and the Kid are some of his almost common knowledge nicknames.
In his rookie season in 1939, Williams got off to a great start, hitting .327 with 31 home runs and a league-leading 145 RBI.
Unfortunately, Red Sox fans will always be left wondering "what if" regarding Williams' career stats. While Ted is currently the best statistical hitter in Red Sox history, Williams missed a lot of time in his career, but not due to injury.
Much like Johnny Pesky, the Kid made the honorable decision of serving for the United States Marine Corps, causing him to miss the 1943, '44, and '45 seasons. Now, fans can only wonder if Williams could or would have broken Babe Ruth's record had his career not been interrupted.
Williams still has some incredible accomplishments on his resume. He won two triple crowns. He is currently the last player to have hit .400 in a full season. He won two MVP awards. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966 on the first ballot.
Along with that, Williams finished with an outstanding career mark. His batting average was a robust .344, along with 521 home runs, 1,839 RBI, and 2,021 walks. Williams was named to 17 All-Star teams in his 19 seasons in the league.
His number, nine, has been retired by the Red Sox. Williams also boasts the highest batting average among all the players to hit 500 home runs.
Due to Yastrzemski manning left field, I am updating my original mess-up and moving Williams to right field. I realize I had Speaker here before despite him being one of the best defensive center fielders ever. I'm not even sure what drove me to it, but I'm fixing it.
Pitcher: Cy Young
Cy Young is the best pitcher ever in the history of baseball. For those of you new to baseball, they named an annual award commemorating the best pitcher after Cy Young.
The winningest pitcher in baseball history, Cy has been credited with a 511-316 record, along with a 2.63 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. With the Red Sox, Young went 192-112, with a 2.00 ERA, 1,341 strikeouts, 38 shutouts, 275 complete games, and a 0.97 WHIP.
Five times Young led the league in wins, three consecutive league-leading seasons with the Red Sox. Young also led the league in 1901 with a 1.62 ERA and 158 strikeouts.
After retiring from baseball after 22 seasons in 1911, Young finished with the aforementioned 511-316 record, as well as 749 complete games and 76 shutouts.
- Pesky, SS
- Speaker, CF
- Williams, RF
- Yastrzemski, LF
- Foxx, 1B
- Doerr, 2B
- Fisk, C
- Boggs, 3B
- Young, P
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