Jim Rice's number retirement came two days after his 2009 Hall of Fame induction.
1 (for Bobby Doerr); 4 (Joe Cronin); 6 (Johnny Pesky); 8 (Carl Yastrzemski); 9 (Ted Williams); 14 (Jim Rice); 27 (Carlton Fisk); and 42 (Jackie Robinson).
The first seven men wore Red Sox uniforms with distinction; the eighth, Robinson, was denied the chance to do so after a sham 1945 tryout at Fenway based on the color of his skin. Robinson's number has been retired by every ML team, but its presence here is particularly significant because of what could have been.
Red Sox management has set down ground rules for this exclusive club—all retirees (besides Robinson, of course) must have played at least 10 years for Boston, retired a Red Sox and later made the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
These rules, however, have been altered twice.
In 2000, after his selection to the Hall of Fame, the Red Sox gave Carlton Fisk a consulting job with the team so he could "retire" with Boston and have his number retired that summer—even though he had spent the last half of his playing career with the White Sox.
Pesky never made the Hall of Fame; by raising up his "6" a day after his 89th birthday in 2008, the Sox honored his six decades with the team as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster and instructor.
Although he actually fit none of the original three criteria for number retirement, it's hard to imagine anybody being more dedicated to the franchise.
Assuming the rules can be broken again, whose numbers are the best candidates to join these legends in the years to come? Let's take a look.