Jul 26, 2015; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk waves to the crowd after being introduced during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies at Clark Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
First Place: Carlton Fisk
ROY Totals: 131 G, 134 H, .293/.370/.538, 22 HR, 61 RBI, WAR 6.6
Career Totals: 2499 G, 2356 H, .269/.341/.457, 376 HR, 1330 RBI, WAR 68.3
Does the selection of Fisk assign me the label of a baseball Stephen Hawking for brilliance? This was the ultimate no-brainer selection for a catcher who played 24 seasons and finally retired at age 45. The service time was actually greater with the Chicago White Sox than the Boston Red Sox, but the first team that surfaces in a discussion is the Red Sox – to even the casual fan.
The home run was the key and that photo is now legendary. I can put on bragging rights to being at the park that evening along with what is about two million others with the same claim. Too bad game seven ruined the series for Boston fans.
A nine-time All-Star, three Silver Slugger Awards, a Gold Glove, some notorious feuds such as the on-going one with Thurman Munson of the Yankees. Historically the rivalry may have gotten a serious reboot with the various real and imagined flare ups with New York. As a side note, Fisk was almost sent to the Yankees via a trade in the 1980s.
Fisk was a number one draft pick by Boston in 1967 and was somewhat local being from the Republic of Vermont. Brought up to the bigs in 1969 for a few games and then back in 1971 for another handful before launching his Hall of Fame career.
The Boston years ended up with an ill-fated contract snafu that made Fisk a free agent and that status was ignored by Haywood Sullivan. The core of that great team of the 1970s was systematically dismantled by the Red Sox as had the great Red Sox teams back in the Harry Frazee era. The wounds were finally healed and Fisk ha his number retired by Boston and received an honorary 2004 World Series ring.