What Is Your All-Time Greatest Red Sox Lineup?
While the Boston Red Sox hot stove news has been, well, few and far between, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect upon some of the greats that have worn the local laundry. I am always intrigued as to what other people think in regards to this, so I ask of you, fellow Red Sox fans; what is your all-time Red Sox lineup?
I have composed this slideshow with my picks for all positions on the field as well as a starting rotation and closer. All of the research was compiled while spending a ridiculous amount of time on Baseball Reference. Take a look and enjoy the history of such a marvelous ball club!
Jimmie Foxx 1936-1942, 7 years of service
You can call him Beast, or Double X, either way Jimmie Foxx was an amazing player during his seven seasons with the Red Sox.
Foxx played 887 games, scored 721 runs, with 1051 hits, 181 of those being doubles, 45 being triples. He added 222 home runs with 788 RBI and swiped 38 bases. His career batting line looked like this: .320 average, .429 OBP, .605 SLG and a 1.034 OPS.
Between the years of 1936 and 1942, Foxx was a six time All-Star, the 1938 American League MVP and came in second in the 1939 MVP race. He lead the league in multiple categories in 1938: RBI: 175, batting average: .349, .462 OBP, .764 SLG and a 1166 OPS. Foxx was also a career .930 fielder.
There is no shame in coming up short to Jimmie Foxx, so Mo Vaughn should not feel bad at all. In his eight years of service with the Red Sox (1991-1998) the three time All-Star would end up winning an MVP award of his own in 1995 to match his Silver Slugger award that year as well. 1995 would prove to be Vaughn's best year in Boston, as he lead the league in RBI that year as well with 126.
For comparison's sake, this is what Vaughn's stat line looks like:
1046 games, 628 runs, 1165 hits, 199 doubles, 10 triples, 230 home runs, 752 RBI, 28 stolen bases, .304 batting average, .394 OBP, .542 SLG and a .936 OPS. Vaughn was a career .988 fielder in Boston.
Dustin Pedroia, six seasons of service (so far) 2006 to the present.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images
I have to admit, I did not think Dustin Pedroia would get the nod at this position, but after doing my research, it truly was difficult not to give it to him. While many are familiar with what he has accomplished, here is a recap for you:
Pedroia won the 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2008 American League MVP, is a three time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger recipient in 2008. Pedroia led the league in runs (118), hits (213), and doubles (54) in 2008 while leading the league in runs (115) in 2009 as well.
On top of the accolades, his stat line is very impressive. In 715 games for the Red Sox he has amassed 479 runs, 862 hits, 206 doubles, eight triples, 75 home runs, 344 RBI, 82 stolen bases and his batting line looks like this: .305 BA, .373 OBP, .463 SLG and a .837 OPS. His career fielding percentage is .990. He is only 28 and still well within the prime of his career.
I'm still shocked that Bobby Doerr was not the winner in this category. The Hall of Famer had quite the decorated career in his own right. The 10 time All-Star spent fourteen seasons in a Red Sox uniform and lead the league in slugging in 1944 with a .528 SLG.
His career stat line looks like this: 1865 games, 1094 runs, 2042 hits, 381 doubles, 89 triples, 223 home runs, 1247 RBI, 54 stolen bases. His batting line looked like this: .288 BA, .362 OBP, .461 SLG and a .823 OPS. His career fielding percentage was .980.
Wade Boggs (1982 through 1992) 11 years of service
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Winner, winner, chicken dinner, Mr. Boggs? All kidding aside, Wade Boggs was the easy choice for this selection. Not only was he an eight-time All-Star for the Red Sox, but he also won six Silver Slugger Awards while leading the league in batting average five times, OBP six times, OPS twice, runs twice, doubles twice, and hits once in 1985.
His stat line: 1625 games, 1067R, 2098H, 422 2B, 47 3B, 85 HR, 687 RBI, 16 SB, with a .338 BA, .428 OBP, .462 SLG and an OPS of .890. His fielding percentage was .962.
Boggs was probably one of the purest hitters Fenway Park had ever seen.
Jimmy Collins put together a fine career in his own right, but he was not good enough to beat out Boggs for my all-time great third baseman.
His stat line looked like this: 741 G, 448 R, 881 H, 171 2B, 65 3B, 25 HR, 385 RBI, 102 SB with a .296 BA, .336 OBP, .423 SLG with a .759 OPS. Collins was however, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
Nomar Garciaparra spent 9 seasons in Boston from 1996 through 2004.
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Nomar Garciaparra was one of the finest short stops of his generation, let alone in Red Sox history. In his nine years with the Sox, Nomar was a five time All-Star, was the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year, won a Silver Slugger award in 1997 and was the runner up for the 1998 American Leage MVP award.
His stat line looked like this: 966 G, 709 R. 1281 H, 279 2B, 50 3B, 178 HR, 690 RBI, 28 SB with a .323 BA, .370 OBP, 553 SLG for a .923 OPS. His career fielding was .968.
You can argue that with Nomar the Red Sox would not have won the 2004 World Series. What you can't argue is the impact he had on the organization.
This was actually a closer decision than I thought it would be. Joe Cronin had some very impressive numbers for himself, but was just barely edged out for the starting gig on my team. He spent 11 seasons in Boston from 1935 through 1945.
In his time in the Hub, Cronin was a five time All-Star and lead the league in doubles in 1938 with 51.
His stat line: 1134 G, 645 R, 1168 H, 270 2B, 44 3B, 119 HR, 737 RBI, 31 SB with a .300 BA, .394 OBP, .484 SLG with a .878 OPS. His career fielding percentage was .951.
Ted Williams spent his entire 19 year career with the Red Sox, from 1939-1960.m
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The Kid, Teddy Ballgame, Splendid Splinter, Thumper or whatever you want to call him, Ted Williams was the greatest player to ever wear a Red Sox uniform. If you don't agree with that statement, it's okay by me but you're still wrong.
The SEVENTEEN time All-Star was a two time American League MVP and was the runner up for the award four times. Over the course of his career Williams lead the league in runs six times, doubles twice, home runs four times, RBI four times, batting average six times, OBP twelve times, slugging nine times, OPS ten times. His career .482 on-base percentage is first overall in all of Major League Baseball.
His career stat line looked like this: 2292 G, 1798 R, 2654 H, 525 2B, 71 3B, 521 HR, 1839 RBI, 24 SB, with a .344 BA, .482 OBP, .634 SLG and an OPS of 1.116. His fielding percentage was .974. By the way, he did all of this with 4 years of military service thrown in the middle of his 20's.
In the closest race you'll see on this list, the runner up for left field is none other than Manny Ramirez. Did I just make you choke right there? Okay, mission accomplished. The real runner up is Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski.
Yaz was absolutely no slouch and put in 23 years of service with the Red Sox. Yaz was an eighteen time All-Star, the 1967 American League MVP, six time Gold Glove winner, and he lead the league in runs twice, hits twice, doubles three times, batting average three times, OBP four times, OPS four times as well as home runs (44) and RBI (121) in 1967.
His stat line: 3308 G, 1816 R, 3419 H, 646 2B, 39 3B, 452 HR, 1844 RBI, 168 SB with a .285 BA, .379 OBP, .462 SLG and a .841 OPS. His fielding percentage was .982.
Fred Lynn spent 7 years in Boston from 1974 to 1980.
While I was tempted to put Jacoby Ellsbury into the conversation here, I don't think he has amassed enough time in the bigs to really have a vote. That narrowed my decision down to two men. Fred Lynn came across as the more deserving of the two candidates.
Lynn was a six time All-Star in Boston and won both the American League MVP and American League Rookie of the Year awards in 1975. He was also a four time Gold Glove winner.
During his time in Boston his stats looked like this: 828 G, 523 R, 944 H, 217 2B, 29 3B, 124 HR, 521 RBI, 43 SB while adding a .308 BA, .383 OBP, .520 SLG for a .902 OPS. His fielding percentage was .988.
Tris Speaker was the next obvious choice. Speaker was the American League MVP in 1912 while leading the league in home runs with 10 that season (no, that was not a type-o) and OBP with a .464. He also lead the league in doubles twice and hits with 193 in 1914 during his nine years of service in Boston.
His stat line: 1065 G, 704 R, 1327 H, 241 2B, 10 3B, 39 HR, 542 RBI, 267 SB with a .337 BA, .414 OBP, .482 SLG for a .896 OPS. His career fielding percentage was .974.
Dwight Evans spent 19 years with Boston from 1972 to 1990.
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In my opinion, number 24 should have been retired long ago for Dewey. Dwight Evans was one of the finest right fielders to play the game, and boy, he had a laser for an arm.
In his time with the Sox, Dewey was a three time All-Star, eight time Gold Glove winner, two time Silver Slugger winner, lead the league in OPS twice and lead the leage in HR (22) in 1981, runs (121) in 1984 and OBP (.402) in 1982.
His stat line looked like this: 2505 G, 1435 R, 2373 H, 474 2B, 72 3B, 379 HR, 1346 RBI, 76 SB with a .272 BA, .369 OBP, .473 SLG and a .842 OPS. His fielding percentage was .987.
It is shocking to me that Evans never received more than 10.4% of the vote to make it into Cooperstown.
Oddly enough, the runner up to Dewey IS in the Hall of Fame. Harry Hooper played twelve years for the Red Sox from 1909 to 1920.
During that time his stat line looked like this: 1647 G. 988 R, 1707 H, 246 2B, 130 3B, 30 HR, 497 RBI, 300 SB with a .272 BA, .362 OBP, .367 SLG and a .729 OPS.
Obviously Hooper was a fine triples hitter and had incredible speed with 300 bags stolen. What is amusing to me is that the man never led the league in any category other than plate appearances (688 in 1910) but managed to put together a fine all-around career.
Carlton Fisk spent 11 years in Boston from 1969 to 1980.
I have a feeling this could be a highly debated category. Carlton Fisk, Pudge, was arguably the best catcher Boston had ever seen. Sure, we remember all of his heroics, but the true day-to-day work he put in is why he is my number one choice behind home plate.
Not only was he a seven time All-Star, but he was also the 1971 Rookie of the Year, won a Gold Glove in 1972 and lead the league in triples that year as well with nine.
Fisk's stat line looked like this: 1078 G, 627 R. 1097 H, 207 2B, 33 3B, 162 HR, 568 RBI, 61 SB with a .284 BA, .356 OBP, .481 SLG and an OPS of .837. His fielding percentage was .988 behind the plate.
Jason Varitek may seem like a solid backup catcher today, but not that long ago he was your every day five-hole hitter, and he was good at it.
In his 15 years of service with the Red Sox, Tek has been a three time All-Star and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award in 2005.
His stats: 1546 G. 664 R, 1307 H, 306 2B, 13 3B, 193 HR, 757 RBI, 25 SB, with a career .256 BA, .341 OBP, .435 SLG and a .776 OPS. His fielding percentage is an impressive .994.
Defensively you can argue that Tek should be the first guy out but the offense kills him on this one.
David Ortiz has spent 9 seasons with the Sox, from 2003 to the present.
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There is only one...
You know it, I know it, we all know it... there is no honorable mention, no runner up, nobody even close to the impact David Ortiz has had on this organization in the DH role. A player who was in relative obscurity in Minnesota, Ortiz came to Boston and became Big Papi, the home run hitting, clutch swinging god of Fenway.
In his nine years Ortiz has been a seven time All-Star, won five Silver Slugger awards, was the runner up for the 2005 American League MVP, lead the league in home runs in 2006 with 54, lead the league in RBI twice and in OBP in 2008 with a .445.
His career stat line in Boston: 1287 G, 844 R, 1367 H, 348 2B, 13 3B, 320 HR, 1028 RBI, 7 SB, with a .289 BA, .387 OBP, .570 SLG and a .985 OPS.
Pedro Martinez spent 7 years in Boston from 1998 to 2004.
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This section is a little bit easier, I will just list my top 5 pitchers with a couple of stats and the order in which I would roll them out.
01 Pedro Martinez
In my opinion, Pedro was the finest pitcher I've ever seen perform. During his seven years of service in Boston from 1998 to 2004, Martinez went 117-37. that is a winning percentage of .760. His ERA was 2.52 with a WHIP of .978. Pedro appeared in 203 games for the Sox, starting in 201 of them. He pitched 22 complete games with 8 shutouts in 1383.2 innings of work.
Martinez was a four-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young Award winner as well as the runner up twice for the award, and was the runner up for the 1999 American League MVP award while in Boston. He would be the ace of my staff, no question.
02 Cy Young
The man was so good they named the award after him. In his 8 years of service from 1901 to 1908 with the Red Sox, Young went an amazing 192-112 in 2728 innings pitched. He played in 327 games, starting 297 of them.
Cy Young pitched 275 complete games with 38 shutouts. His WHIP was all of .970.
03 Babe Ruth
Before he was the Sultan of Swat, George Herman Ruth was a fine pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He spent six years with the club from 1914 to 1919 and amassed a record of 89-46 with a 2.19 ERA.
In his 158 games, he started 143 of them and racked up 1190.1 innings of work. Ruth pitched 105 complete games with 17 shutouts. His WHIP was 1.142.
04 Roger Clemens
It is no secret that I am a Clemens fan. The man was amazing in Boston and had some fine years for the club. During his 13 years here from 1984 to 1996, Clemens was a five time All-Star, three time Cy Young Award Winner and won the American League MVP in 1986.
He posted a record of 192-111, almost identical to Cy Young, with a 3.06 ERA in 383 games. Clemens started 382 games with 100 of them being complete. He added 38 shutouts in his 2776 innings of work. His WHIP was 1.158.
05 Smoky Joe Wood
Wood spent eight years in Boston from 1908 to 1915 and posted a record of 117-56. His 1.99 ERA is the lowest you'll see on this list.
Smoky Joe played in 218 games for the Red Sox and started 157 of them. 121 of those were complete games, adorned with 28 shutouts in 1416 innings of work, posting a WHIP of 1.080.
CLOSER Jonathan Papelbon
This decision for me came down to Pap or Dick Raditz and Papelbon had the numbers. While he spent seven seasons with the Red Sox from 2005 to 2011, Papelbon posted a winning record of 23-19 with a 2.33 ERA. He appeared in 396 games and even started three of them.
It is not the front end of the stats that interest me. Papelbon finished 334 games for the Sox and mounted 219 saves in 419.1 innings of service, maintaining a 1.018 WHIP.
That folks, is one fine pitching staff.
There's the Dream Team...
So, I have built the argument. The only question is, will you play along?