Boston Red Sox: Best players on the worst teams the last 20 years

7 of 7

1994 – Ken Ryan and Scott Cooper
Team record: 54-61 (fourth in AL East)

Of course, 1994 was quiet come September, as Don Fehr and Bud Selig wiped out all games past August 12th as well as the World Series. Somewhat oddly, Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary was the one thing left for fans, unless you had tickets to the Sioux Falls Canaries.

It seemed like everybody was having a monster season in ’94 before they closed up shop. See: crazy numbers from Jeff Bagwell, Matt Williams, Ken Griffey and Frank Thomas that put a chase for the home run record in sharp focus before things came crashing to a halt. It was a simpler time: only one of the aforementioned sluggers was named in the Mitchell Report.

Over in Boston, the ho-hum Red Sox played the first year of Duquette’s tenure with many of former GM Lou Gorman’s players, among themAndre Dawson, Danny Darwin, Frank Viola, Otis Nixon, Joe Hesketh and Billy Hatcher. Roger Clemens rebounded from a bloated ’93 (11-14, 4.46) with a 9-7, 2.85 mark in 24 starts.

There were other bright spots. Mo Vaughn was coming into his own at first base while Scott Cooper made his second consecutive All-Star appearance at the hot corner. Cooper, who likely benefited from the rule that every team must have an All-Star representative, nonetheless put together a solid .282/13/53 line in 369 at-bats. He would be traded the following April for lefty reliever Rheal Cormier and “Hard Hittin'” Mark Whiten, who remains a favorite of freestyle rappers but slumped to .185 in 108 Boston at-bats.

In the bullpen, the Red Sox thought they had their closer of the future in 25-year old local product Ken Ryan, who had worked his way through the Red Sox system from Seekonk High School to post 13 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 42 appearances. Ryan faltered the next season, was hurt and later traded for Heathcliff Slocumb.