I’m going to get in and out of the this one quickly and let the fans do the talking. Agree or disagree but get into it. Yes, I have been biased by my age. Here’s your All-Time Red Sox All-Star team.
Starting Pitcher: Cy Young
This is a no brainer for anyone with more than a passing knowledge of Red Sox baseball. I mean the freakin’ award for the best pitcher in each league is called the Cy Young Award. Young had to be better than a host of very good Boston pitchers; Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Smoky Joe Wood and Lefty Grove. Still Young’s dominance and longevity give him the edge.
Over a 22-year career with Cleveland (1890-98 and 1909-10), St. Louis (1899-1900) and Boston (1901-08), Young won an astounding 511 games, posted a 2.63 career ERA and simply set the gold standard for generations to come. Tip O’ the cap to Cy.
Catcher: Jason Varitek
Varitek is chosen not because he’s the most recent but because he’s the most important in many ways. Boston has had some excellent catchers; Rich Gedman in the eighties, Carlton Fisk from 1969-80 and Rick Ferrell (1933-37) but Varitek simply is better.
Tek has the stats with the best, the same emotional and intellectual intelligence as Pudge and one – make that two – defining characteristics. Jason Varitek got Boston to the Promised Land – twice, winning two world championships in 2004 and 2007 with Boston. He stuck it to Alex Rodriguez in the most humiliating way possible when it counted and proved to be the most sage student of the game among his peers. For these reasons Tek stands atop the catching heap.
First Base: Jimmie Foxx
There’s not anybody close in this category. Foxx’s career numbers break down like this:
Played for Boston: 1936-1942
887 G, .320 BA,222 HR, 788 RBI, 1,051 H, 624 BB
George Scott, Mo Vaughn, Pete Runnels and Jake Stahl all get honorable mentions but Foxx has no peer in Boston lore.
Second Base: Bobby Doerr
Dustin Pedroia may eclipse Doerr’s accomplishments but it’s doubtful at this point. In a article I wrote here, it’s pretty clear that Pedey would really have to hit the gas in a number of categories to catch Doerr statistically.
Not having seen Doerr play it would be hard to imagine him playing harder or being more of a leadership presence than Pedroia. Still, Doerr’s superior numbers put him at the top of the list ahead of Pedroia, Mike Andrews and Billy Goodman.
Third Base: Wade Boggs
I almost hate to say it because I loved the chicken man so much and then hated him for going to the Yankees but the dude has the goods.
In a 10 year span from 1982 to 1992 Boggsie hit .338 in 1,625 games and bagged 2,098 hits while walking an impressive 1,067 times. Sure, Jimmy Collins, Larry Gardner and Frank Malzone has great careers in a Boston uniform but nothing like Boggs.
Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra
Yeah he broke down late in his career. So what. Nomah was Boston’s most electrifying player at one of the most demanding and pivotal positions on the diamond.
For eight years (1996-2004), Garciaparra was always to be watched and for a few years, awed. He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and made six All-Star appearances while winning two batting titles, including his 2000 season when he smoked everyone with a .372 batting average.
Garciaparra’s accomplishments had to stand up against stiff competition. Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky Rico Petrocelli and Rick Burleson all were excellent in their Boston years. In the end, however, it’s Nomah forevah!
Left Fielder: Ted Williams
In what universe does Carl Yastrzemski not get the nod? The one in which Ted Williams exists. The Splendid Splinter’s other-wordly accomplishments simply outstrip Captain Carl especially considering The Kid’s dual military stints in both WW II and the Korean War.
Williams was a 19-time All-Star and indisputably one of the greatest hitters of all time for the Red Sox He was a two-time American League MVP, in 1946 and 1949.
Yaz was an 18-time All-Star. During his tenure from 1961-1983, he was a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, the 1967 American League MVP and triple-crown winner.
Oh yeah, there was another slouch who patrolled the Monster – Jim Rice.
From 1974 to 1989 Jim Rice terrorized pitchers and runners alike. Jim Ed was an eight-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and the 1978 American League MVP.
Center Fielder: Tris Speaker
I grew up marveling watching Fred Lynn. His easy loping strides and sweet lefty swing were things of beauty. I’d never seen seen a more graceful player ever. From 1974 to 1980 Fred Lynn was a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and in 1975 was the American League MVP and American League Rookie of the Year. He played in six All-Star games with Boston and in nine total his career.
Tris Speaker was simply better. A Hall-of-Fame center fielder, Speaker spent eight years with Boston, 1907 to 1915, in which he won two World Series and hit .337 during his career at the Fens.
Right Fielder: Dwight Evans
I’m going with my gut and heart on this one. The only other right fielder I’ve seen that blew me away like Dwight Evans was Roberto Clemente. To put it better, Evans approached Clemente’s ability to hit for average, power and seriously rivaled Clemete’s arm. No one – and I mean no one – ran on Dewey during his 19-year career with the Sox. Evans batted .272, smashed 385 homers and had with a .987 fielding percentage.
He won eight Gold Gloves and made one of Boston most memorable plays in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, catching a Joe Morgan smash headed for Williamsburg and then doubling up the runner at first. Evans batted .272 with 385 homers over his 20-year career. Only Carl Yastrzemski (3308) played more games in a Sox uniform than Evans (2505).
What do you think? Make you case.