Boston Red Sox: History of the Shortstop Since 1974
This is the second part of my nine-part series, the History of Every Position at of the Red Sox.
This version of my series is abbreviated due to the fact that chronicling every shortstop in the Red Sox's history would make for a long slide show.
This article is in chronological order.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
Rick Burleson, 1974-1980
Burleson was the feisty and athletic shortstop played for Boston from 1974 to 1980 on some of the best Red Sox teams of the late 20th century.
Burleson never showed much power, his highest home run total was 8 in 1980, and largest RBI total was 62 in 1975.
However, Burleson was an excellent top-of-the-lineup hitter, posting averages in the high .200's in every season of his career, with only two exceptions: a .156 clip in 11 games with the Angels in 1982, and a .209 average in 1987 with Baltimore. His highest career average was .293 with the Red Sox in 1977.
Glenn Hoffman, 1980-1986 (1980-1983 as a starter)
Hoffman became the Red Sox starting shortstop as a rookie at the age of 21. Hoffman wasn't a strong hitter, hitting nine career home runs. His highest average with the Red Sox was a .283 clip in 1980. Hoffman was out of baseball by 1987.
Jackie Gutierrez, 1983-1985 (1984-1985 as a starter)
Gutierrez became the Red Sox starting shortstop as a 24-year-old rookie in 1984. Gutierrez, like Hoffman, wasn't a strong hitter, posting a .263 clip in 1984, and was out of baseball by 1989.
Rey Quinones, 1986
Quinones spent just one year with the Red Sox, but continued with their 'light hitting young shortstop' protocol of the late '80s. In Quinones's one season with Boston, Quinones hit .237, with two home runs and 15 RBI. Quinones was traded midseason to the Seattle Mariners for Spike Owen.
Spike Owen, 1986-1988
Owen was acquired for Rey Quinones, and immediately payed dividends. Owen was a light hitter, but a better defender. He also posted higher averages after his .153 clip in 47 regular season games in with Boston in 1986, as Owen hit .259 in 1987, and .249 in 1988.
Luis Rivera, 1989-1993 (1989-1992 as a starter)
Rivera provided a long-term solution for Boston at short.
Rivera was another light-hitting shortstop, as his highest average was .257 in 1989.
Rivera also showed little to no power, hitting six home runs with the Red Sox. Rivera's highest RBI total with Boston was 25 in 1991.
John Valentin, 1992-2001 (1993 to 2001 as a starter, 1993-1997 as a shortstop)
Valentin was a good shortstop and third baseman for a long time with Boston.
Valentin was a good power hitter, and a good contact hitter.
Valentin's highest average during his Red Sox tenure (he spent his final season with the Mets in 2002) was .306 in 1997. His best overall season was 1995 whe Valentin hit a .298 clip with 27 home runs and 102 RBI.
Nomar Garciaparra, 1997-2004
Garciaparra was a great shortstop in his time for Boston. Things got so bitter for Nomah at the end of his Boston tenure, that Theo Epstien had to trade him.
Nomah's highest average was a league leading .272 in 2000.
Nomah's best power season was in 1998 when he hit 35 home runs and 122 RBI.
Ever since Nomah's injury in 2001, he has never been the same player.
Orlando Cabrera, 2004
Probably one of the biggest mistakes of Theo Epstein's tenure as GM of the Red Sox was not resigning Orlando Cabrera after his half-season in 2004 with Boston.
Anyway, Cabrera was a great defensive shortstop, and hit a home run on the very first pitch he saw in a Red Sox uniform.
Cabrera should still be the Red Sox's starting shortstop. He still had good years ahead of him with the Angels and White Sox.
Edgar Renteria, 2005
Edgar Renteria was probably among the worst acquisitions ever for the Red Sox. Edgar couldn't hit and couldn't field.
In Edgar's one season with the Red Sox, he hit a respectable .276 with eight home runs and 70 RBI.
Alex Gonzalez, 2006
Another shortstop mistake was Theo letting Gonzo get away. A good fielder, he was probably the best shortstop for the Red Sox since O-Cab.
Gonzo hit a decent .255 with Boston, with nine home runs, and 50 RBI.
Gonzo is still a good defending shortstop, who is now with the Cincinnati Reds.
Julio Lugo, 2007-2009
Julio Lugo was another huge mistake at short. He couldn't hit (he hit .237 in his first season) and couldn't field.
Lugo was designated for assignment on July 18, 2009. And finally, Lugo was out of Red Sox Nation's hair.
Jed Lowrie, 2008-present
Lowrie is probably going to end up being the future of the Red Sox at short. He hit .256 in his first season in the majors, and in six games in the 2009 season, he hit .091.
Lowrie's a great defender, much better than Lugo. The future of the Red Sox.
Nick Green, 2009-present
Green spent all of his 2008 season in AAA.
Green was given a chance with the Red Sox in Spring Training 2009, and has lit the world on fire, making stunning defensive players, hitting in the clutch, and just being an all-around gamer.
Green is hitting .252 with 4 home runs and 30 RBI this season.