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Where David Ortiz Ranks Among Greatest All-Time Red Sox Hitters

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

Where David Ortiz Ranks Among Greatest All-Time Red Sox Hitters

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    On Wednesday night, the Red Sox exploded for eight home runs and 20 total runs against the Detroit Tigers, and among their 19 hits was career hit No. 2,000 for slugger David Ortiz.

    Earlier this season, Ortiz passed Harold Baines for the most hits all-time while serving as a DH, and I wrote an article examining where he fits into the list of greatest designated hitters of all-time.

    Ortiz is not just one of the greatest DHs of all-time though, as he is also one of the best hitters in the storied history of the Boston Red Sox. Here is a look at where he ranks among the best offensive threats in Red Sox history.

Honorable Mention

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    SS Joe Cronin (1935-1945)
    (1,134, 3,892 AB, .300/.394/.484, 1,168 H, 119 HR, 737 RBI, 645 R)

     

    C Carlton Fisk (1969, 1971-1980)
    (1,078 G, 3,860 AB, .284/.356/.481, 1,097 H, 162 HR, 568 RBI, 627 R)

     

    SS Nomar Garciaparra (1996-2004)
    (966 G, 3,968 AB, .323/.370/.553, 1,281 H, 178 HR, 690 RBI, 709 R)

     

    3B Mike Greenwell (1985-1996)
    (1,269 G, 4,623 AB, .303/.368/.463, 1,400 H, 130 HR, 726 RBI, 657 R)

     

    CF Fred Lynn (1974-1980)
    (828 G, 3,062 AB, .308/.383/.520, 944 H, 124 HR, 521 RBI, 523 R)

     

    2B Dustin Pedroia (2006-2013)
    (996 G, 3,942 AB, .302/.370/.454, 1,190 H, 98 HR, 486 RBI, 637 R)

     

    SS/3B Rico Petrocelli (1963, 1965-1976)
    (1,553 G, 5,390 AB, .251/.332/.420, 1,352 H, 210 HR, 773 RBI, 653 R)

     

    1B Mo Vaughn (1991-1998)
    (1,046 G, 3,828 AB, .304/.394/.542, 1,165 H, 230 HR, 752 RBI, 628 R)

10. Dwight Evans (1972-1990)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     2,505 8,726.272/.369/.473 2,373  379  1,346  1,435 

     

    Career Overview

    Dwight Evans may never have been an elite player, but he was one of the game's top outfielders throughout his time in Boston, and he was as consistent as they come at the plate.

    He tallied 11 seasons with at least 20 home runs and hit at least .280 eight different times during his 19 season with the Red Sox. He was a three-time All-Star and also one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, taking home eight Gold Glove awards.

    His career ended with a season in Baltimore in 1991, but there is no question he'll always be remembered as a member of the Red Sox. He may yet get some hall of Fame consideration when he hits the Veteran's Committee ballot, though he spent just three seasons on the regular ballot after retiring.

9. Bobby Doerr (1937-1944, 1946-1951)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     1,865 7,093.288/.362/.461 2,042  223  1,247  1,094 

     

    Career Overview

    Bobby Doerr ranks as one of the best second basemen of all time, as his 53.3 career FanGraphs WAR ranks 20th all-time among players at the position, and tops among Red Sox second basemen.

    A nine-time All-Star, Doerr was one of the first elite offensive players at his position, as he tallied 12 straight seasons with double-digit home runs and topped the 100 RBI mark six different times.

    He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1986, and while his overall numbers may be topped by guys like Mo Vaughn and Fred Lynn, the fact that he put up the numbers he did as a second baseman earns him the No. 10 spot on this list.

8. Tris Speaker (1907-1915)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     1,065 3,935.337/.414/.482 1,328  39  542  704 

     

    Career Overview

    Tris Speaker spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Red Sox, before they shipped him to the Indians for Sad Sam Jones, Fred Thomas and $55,000 in April of 1916.

    He hit over .300 in all seven of his full seasons with Boston, including posting a .383/.464/.567 line with league-highs of 53 doubles and 10 home runs to win AL MVP honors in 1912.

    The impressive numbers continued after he joined the Indians, as he won a batting title with a .386/.470/.502 line in his first season in Cleveland, and he piled up 2,187 hits after leaving Boston. Still, he's one of the best outfielders of all time, and his time with the Red Sox was certainly impressive enough to crack this list.

7. Manny Ramirez (2001-2008)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     1,083 3,953.312/.411/.588 1,232  274  868  743 

     

    Career Overview

    It was a tumultuous eighth season in Boston for Manny Ramirez, as he made headlines as much for his prolific run production numbers as he did for his consistent antics often chalked up as just "Manny Being Manny."

    There's no question he was a driving force in the middle of the Boston lineup though, as he tallied at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in each of his first six seasons with the team, and put together a string of nine straight such seasons dating back to his time in Cleveland.

    His time in Boston didn't end ceremoniously by any means, as he was dealt to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2008 despite the fact that the Red Sox were contending for a postseason spot, but he played a huge role in bringing World Series titles to Boston in 2004 and 2007.

6. Jim Rice (1974-1989)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     2,089 8,225.298/.352/.502 2,452  382  1,451  1,249 

     

    Career Overview

    Jim Rice finally earned his Hall of Fame induction in 2009, his 15th and final year on the ballot, and while some will argue how deserving he was of that honor, there is little question he was among the most feared hitters of his era.

    He led the AL in home runs three times, including 1978 when he hit .315/.370/.600 with 46 home runs and 139 RBI to capture AL MVP honors, and he finished in the top five in MVP voting five other times.

    The slugger ranks third in Red Sox history in home runs and RBI, and while he's not quite on the level of Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, he is still comfortably in the top 10 here.

5. Jimmie Foxx (1936-1942)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     887 3,288.320/.429/.605 1,051  222  788  721 

     

    Career Overview

    One of the best run producers in the history of the game, a 28-year-old Jimmie Foxx was acquired from the A's in 1936 for a pair of players and $150,000, and he proved he still had plenty left in the tank after joining the Red Sox.

    He won AL MVP honors in 1938, hitting .349/.462/.704 with 50 home runs and 175 RBI, the fourth-highest single-season RBI total in baseball history.

    Foxx put together six elite-level seasons before falling off as a 33-year-old in 1941, and he was waived and picked up by the Chicago Cubs the following season. He's best remembered for his time with the Athletics, but his short time in Boston was impressive enough to land him a spot on this list.

4. Wade Boggs (1982-1992)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     1,625 6,213.338/.428/.462 2,098  85  687  1,067 

     

    Career Overview

    Wade Boggs does not have the power of some of the other guys on this list, but he was one of the best pure hitters of all time, and he spent 11 of his 18 seasons with the Red Sox before joining the rival Yankees and winning a World Series title in 1996.

    He won five batting titles in a six-year span from 1983-1988, and recorded seven-straight 200-hit seasons from 1983-1989 while hitting an impressive .352/.446/.483 over that span.

    Boggs does not have his No. 26 retired by the Red Sox, despite meeting their criteria of being in the Hall of Fame and playing 10 seasons with the team, and him jumping ship to join the Yankees may well have something to do with that. Regardless of whether or not his jersey is honored, he still has his place among the greatest Red Sox of all time.

3. David Ortiz (2003-2013)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     1,494 5,503.292/.390/.572 1,608  369  1,177  973 

     

    Career Overview

    After six sub par seasons with the Minnesota Twins, David Ortiz joined the Red Sox as a 27-year-old in 2003 and his career immediately took off, as he hit .288/.369/.592 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI to finish fifth in AL MVP voting.

    He's made the All-Star team nine times in his 11 seasons in Boston, and from 2004-2006 there may have been no more dangerous hitter in baseball, hitting .296/.397/.614 and averaging 47 home runs and 141 RBI per season.

    His legacy is built as much on postseason success as it is on regular season performance, as he's hit .283/.388/.520 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI in 66 career playoff games. He was the driving force behind the team's legendary 2004 ALCS comeback against the Yankees, and will forever have a place in Red Sox history for helping break the Curse of the Bambino.

     

2. Carl Yastrzemski (1961-1983)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     3,308 11,988.285/.379/.462 3,419  452  1,844  1,816 

     

    Career Overview

    The Red Sox all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles and RBI, there is no doubt Yastrzemski is one of the greatest to ever don a Red Sox uniform.

    He won the AL MVP in 1967 and made the All-Star team a whopping 18 times, including 15 straight years from 1965-1979, as he was one of the elite outfielders in an era ripe with Hall of Fame talent.

    His numbers are as much about talent as longevity, as he played an impressive 23 seasons and ranks second all-time in baseball history in games played.

     

1. Ted Williams (1939-1942, 1946-1960)

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     Red Sox Career Stats

    GamesAt-BatsBA/OBP/SLGHitsHRRBIR
     2,292 7,706.344/.482/.634 2,654  521  1,839  1,798 

     

    Career Overview

    A strong case can be made for Ted Williams not only being the best hitter in Red Sox history, but the best hitter in the history of the game.

    His career numbers would be even better had he not missed three seasons in his prime while serving his country, but he still ranks as one of the most prolific hitters ever, and put up phenomenal numbers during his 19 seasons in the league.

    He won six batting titles, topped 30 home runs seven times and is the last player to hit .400 in a season when he batted .406 in 1941. He's the clear-cut choice for the No. 1 spot here, and is truly one of the all-time greats.

     

     

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