Before anyone asks, “Where the hell is Ted Williams!?” please note: I’ve been a Red Sox fan since 1985, so most of the players on my list are going to be from that time frame. These are the players I know best. I did make a few picks from before my time, but you’re not going to find Harry Hooper or Tris Speaker; I just don’t know enough about them. A lot of intangibles went into making this list. Here are my picks for the Best All-Time Red Sox lineup.
While my picks were not necessarily based on statistics, I have included what I thought was the best all around year for each player.
1B Mo Vaughn
Year: 1995-- 39 HRs, 126 RBIs in strike shortened year, AL MVP
This was probably the toughest choice on my entire list. As much as I dislike him for bolting Beantown after the 1998 season, there were far too little first baseman to pick from. Kevin Youkilis is relatively new to the position, but could move up to Mo’s spot in the coming years if he stays at the level he is currently playing. But for now, Vaughn gets the nod. Mo was the Red Sox most powerful hitter, leading the team in home runs, RBIs while being a .300 hitter. Mo led the Red Sox to two playoff appearances in 1995 and 1998. One of Boston sports’ most popular athletes, Mo’s relationship with the media and Red Sox GM Dan Duquette soon soured and he signed with the Anaheim Angels in time for the 1999 season. His career was never quite the same.
2B Jerry Remy
Year: 1978-- 162 hits, 2 HRs, 44 RBIs, .350 OBP, All Star selection
I could just as easily picked Marty Barret, Dustin Pedroia, or Mark Lemke. But it’s my list and I’m going with Remy, even if his affect on the Red Sox is occurring well after his playing days have ended. Honestly, there wasn’t much to pick from. But his standing as President of Red Sox Nation and color commentator on NESN broadcasts are good enough for me. Great moments include: a mini feud with ESPN writer Bill Simmons; nearly falling out of the booth while playing the air guitar; and sharing his favorite pick up lines while making fun of the contestants on Sox Appeal. No one will ever confuse him with the greatest players in the history of the Red Sox, but he’s as much a part of Red Sox lore as anyone.
SS Nomar Garciaparra
Year: 2000-- .357 BA, 27 HRs, 104 RBIs
A phenom right out of college, I can remember listening to WEEI and hearing about the Nomar kid in Pawtuckett. He didn’t disappoint. In his first full season he won Rookie of the Year, hit 30 HRs with 98 RBIs, and managed a 30 game hit streak. He followed that up with a 1998 campaign that included 35 HRs and 122 RBIs. The next two years saw Nomar rise to the level of the elite hitters in the game batting .357 and .372 in back to back years. Considered one of the best, if not the best hitter in the game, Nomar’s prime was cut short by a wrist injury before the mostly lost 2001 season. While a solid player in his finals years in Boston, he was no where near the player or fielder he was before the injury. Garciaparra’s tenure in Boston would end in 2004, nearly in the same vein as Vaughn’s had five years earlier.
3B Wade Boggs
Year: 1987-- .363 BA, 24 HRs, 89 RBIs
The chicken eating Boggs was an eight time All Star, who won 5 batting titles in the 1980s for the Red Sox. He made his living fighting off pitches and using the Green Monster in left to his advantage, adding more than his share of dents and dings. Unfortunately, Boggs is another Red Sox that had a less than stellar exit. After reaching career lows in 1992, Boggs bolted Boston for the hated Yankees. Although the sight of him riding around Yankee Stadium on that horse after the 1996 World Series makes me cringe, he’s makes the list. I wasn’t going with Scott Cooper for crying out loud.
C Carlton Fisk
Year: 1977-- .315 BA, 26 HRs, 102 RBIs
Pudge was a seven time all star, the 1972 Rookie of the Year, and is considered one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, but he will be most remembered for his home run off Pat Darcy in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. His reaction to the home run is one the greatest images in the history of sports and that alone is good enough for my list. Fisk took a number in the long, long list of players who left Boston with animosity, but has since made amends and recently had his # 27 retired by the team.
DH David Ortiz
Year: 2006-- .287 BA, 54 HRs, 137 RBIs
Big Papi has won over Boston with his home run power and his ability to come through in the clutch with alarming regularity. In the 2004 playoffs alone, he had four game winning hits. He set the single season Red Sox record for home runs in 2006 with 54 bombs.
P Pedro Martinez
Year: 1999-- 23-4, 2.07 ERA, 313 Ks, Unanimous AL Cy Young winner
And his 2000 numbers could have been a lot better if he got any run support. Well, that was a slight problem in 1999 as well. But for the first three years Pedro Martinez was in Boston, he was nearly unhittable. If you ask me, his 1999 effort might have been not only the best season by a pitcher ever, it might have been the best season ever by a baseball player. In the juiced ball/steroid/HGH era, the numbers Pedro Martinez put up looked gaudy. And I’ll never forget him coming out of the bullpen to mow down the Indians in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS.
RF Dwight Evans
Year: 1987-- 34 HRs, 10 RBIs, .305 BA
Dewey played 19 years for the Red Sox and amassed eight Gold Gloves playing right field. Evans goes down as one of the best defensive outfielders in Red Sox history and every team needs good defense; so defense along with longevity get Evans on my team.
CF Fred Lynn
Year: 1979-- 39 HRs, 122 RBIs, .333 BA
With lesser numbers than in 1979, Lynn won the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the American League in 1975 in helping the Red Sox to the World Series. He also tacked on six All Star selections and and four Gold Gloves in his time in Boston.
LF Carl Yastrzemski
Year: 1967-- 44 HRs, 121 RBIs, .326 BA, Triple Crown Winner, AL MVP
I'm going with Yaz over Ted Williams. Yaz holds Red Sox team records for games played, hits, runs batted in, runs, doubles, at bats, and total bases. He is also a member of the 400 home run and 3000 hit clubs. He was selected to 18 All Star Games and won seven Gold Gloves. Yaz played his entire 23 year career for the Red Sox. He led the Red Sox in the Impossible Dream season of 1967 taking the team to the World Series. In the year he became the last winner of the Triple Crown, Yaz and the Red Sox managed to reignite the city of Boston's passion for baseball that still goes strong today. Ted Williams might be the better pure player and the more recognized icon in baseball history, but Carl Yastrzemski is Mr. Red Sox.
There are the players. How do we bat them?
1. Wade Boggs
2. Fred Lynn
3. Mo Vaughn
4. David Ortiz
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Nomar Garciaparra
7. Dwight Evans
8. Carlton Fisk
9. Jerry Remy
You've got power throughout the lineup. Maybe lacking a little speed, but how much speed do you need when you're slugging the ball with these bats? You have stellar defense in the outfield. The infield defense leaves a little to be desired, but when Pedro's pitching in his prime, you have some room for error.
That's it. Thanks for reading and please leave feedback--good or bad.