The first great Red Sox super-sub was not Brock Holt
Imagine having a player you can plug into just about any defensive slot, have him bat .300 and hit in and stabilize the lead-off slot – the combination of versatility and hitting talent that adds an extra dimension to any team and provides a bit of comfort for any manager.
Does this sound like Brock Holt? It’s not.
"“Not a glamorous slugger, not a colorful, flamboyant personality, not a magnet for autograph hounds…built like an undernourished ribbon clerk….”"
Billy Goodman is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, is a former All-Star and won a batting title while shuffling around the diamond during the late 1940s and into the 1950s for the Red Sox.
The above quote was by Al Hirshberg in a 1951 Saturday Evening Post article on Billy Goodman and could be used for Holt.
Goodman, like Holt, is diminutive by baseball standards and is a left-handed bat. Goodman, like Holt, will not be on any home run lists. In a 16-year MLB career Goodman blasted a grand total of 19 home runs.
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Goodman was also a consummate pitch selector as his walks more than doubled his strikeouts. Billy had that talent for extended at bats that are enlightening for the rest of the line-up and frustrating for any pitcher.
Goodman had excellent bat control and finished his career with a slash line .300/.376/.378 and managed to even get into a World Series with the remarkable Go-Go White Sox of 1959.
Brock Holt is continuing on the same path, at least for one season. Maybe, like Goodman, his career will finish in similar fashion and an induction into the Red Sox HOF?
I saw Goodman play in the 1950s and he was a spark plug with the bat – the proverbial “tough out.” A gritty player who had to overcome size with innate ability and determination. The same qualities, I see displayed in Holt.