We honor Dwight Evans as the Boston Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month. With the opening of the baseball season around the corner, the choice of “Dewey” Evans is fitting. He was a player who gave his all, all the time to the Boston Red Sox where he played from 1972 to 1990. He is one of the best players not in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Dwight Michael Evans made an immediate impact in his professional baseball career by winning the International League’s MVP in 1972. With AAA Louisville, Evans had 17 HR, 95 RBI and hit .300.
Dewey was called up to the tail end of the ’72 season. On September 16th , he pinch ran and was 0-for-1 at the plate. He played 18 games and decent numbers during his call up. In 57 plate appearances, Evans had 1 HR 6 RBI and batted .263.
Evans called right field in Fenway Park his home. He was a defensive standout and offensively could hold his own.
He would have his first taste of the postseason in 1975. Dewey batted well in the series with a .292 average, 1 HR and 7 RBI. However, it wasn’t Evans' bat that made the highlight reel.
In Game 6 versus the Reds, Evans robbed Joe Morgan of a sure home run into the bullpen in right. He doubled off the runner and gave the Red Sox life. His superb defensive play gave catcher Carlton Fisk the opportunity to hit his historic round tripper in the bottom of the 12th inning.
Dewey was part of one of the best outfields in Red Sox history along with Jim Rice and Fred Lynn. His defensive play was his trademark; he had the hardware to prove it. He won eight Gold Gloves in his tenure patrolling the grass near Pesky’s Pole.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that Evans found his batting stroke. In the strike shortened season of 1981, Dewey hit .296 with 22 homers (tied for league lead) and 71 RBI. He also was an on base monster with OPS of .937 and adding 85 walks.
The 1980’s was the decade of Evans. Few may know that he had more home runs and extra base hits than any player in the American League in that span. He also was the only player to stroke at least 20 round trippers in every year of the 80’s.
Dewey is amongst the Red Sox greats for all-time franchise numbers. Only Carl Yastrzemski (3308) has played more games for the Boston than Evans (2505).
Evans would finish his career in Baltimore and would retire after the 1991 season. In his 20 years in the big leagues, Evans batted .272, with 385 home runs, 1384 RBI, 1470 runs, 2446 hits, 483 doubles, 73 triples, and 78 stolen bases in 2606 games.
Dewey was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall Of Fame in 2000.