Red Sox Rookie of the Year winners: Ranking their careers

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Apr 13, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; A view of the scoreboard before opening ceremonies at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox home opener against the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox have had six Rookie of the Year winners. Just who had the best career?

The Major League Rookie of the Year Award has had six winners from the Boston Red Sox with some mixed career results, which is representative of the history of the award. Stardom does not often follow the honor.

Names that are recognized universally by ardent fans, occasional fans and the baseball indifferent are sprinkled among the winners. Jackie Robinson, the first recipient, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame as are several other ROY winners that are among the very best to every play.

The award certainly is not a signal for future success as many have shined brightly only to fade over performance issues or injuries. How many actually remember Joe Charboneau or John Castino? Even Mark Fidrych and Dontrelle Willis may or may not click a memory.

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The original award was for both leagues and not separated into two awards – one for each league – until 1949. The award did actually have its origins dating back to 1940 when it was issued by the Chicago chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 1947, it was open to all members.

There is one interesting connection to Boston and not the Red Sox, but the Boston Braves. Sam Jethroe at age 32 became the oldest award winner as a Boston Brave.

The award has been shared with the more prestigious Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards on a few rare occasions. Fernando Valenzuela won the Cy Young and ROY while Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki copped the double honor with an MVP. And that brought into a question of Ichiro being a true rookie.

The same argument surfaced with Black winners back in the 1940s and 1950s who has extensive professional experience in the Negro Leagues just as Ichiro and other Japanese stars had an extensive background in their professional league.

Each voter gets to select three rookies and points are scaled from three to one for each selection. Most points and you win. If a player had more than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched the previous season they were ineligible.

Next: Sixth Place

The Red Sox, have had six players win – the Dodgers have had the most at 16. And the Yankees – for informational purposes – have had eight winners. For the Red Sox, we will look at the best with the emphasis being on their career and not the one season in which they won.