The Red Sox have had many great players over the years, but some who simply found Fenway Park a hitters paradise never played for Boston.
Was in Boston sportscaster Bob Lobell that coined the expression “Why can’t we get guys like this?” That is often the lament of Boston Red Sox fans as a personal devil comes to Fenway Park to obliterate our pitching. Just imagine what they would do playing 81 games or 77 games “back in the day” each season at Fenway?
Occasionally all the baseball stars align and circumstances bring one to Boston at various stages of their careers. Jimmie Foxx came to Boston thanks to a depression that made the Athletics cash-strapped. Vern Stephens puts up some prodigious numbers when acquired by trade from the St. Louis Browns. Jackie Jensen was an afterthought that won an MVP Award in Boston.
Through the years, I have seen many players who I felt would absolutely sparkle in Fenway Park. Sometimes you get a dud in Dick Stuart, who would give all back and more on defense. Maybe a Rudy York, who had some decent, but not spectacular years left when he arrived. Jose Canseco even put up a two nice seasons in Boston. And all those Manny Ramirez years can clearly demonstrate what a power bat – especially a right-handed one is capable of accomplishing. Thankfully, we missed out on the ultimate drama queen – Alex Rodriguez.
There is a substantial list of players who anyone would want anywhere, such as Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg and Ernie Banks. I will admittedly be selective and leave off some obvious choices and actually put in some other obvious choices and some that will require a mad rush to Google. Some of it is my ingrained observational prejudices.
The list will not contain any active players. I would certainly enjoy seeing the heart of the Toronto Blue Jays hitting away at Fenway Park an entire season. Mike Trout can play anywhere and anytime for Boston. The welcome mat is out. The list is also strictly from the right side. This is Fenway Park, folks! Although I was tempted to add Wally Moon and his “Moon Shots.”
Of course, some of the players I will list are high maintenance baseball miscreants whom one would wish to avoid, but they could flat-out hit. Many provided real justification for getting to the park early to watch batting practice. A few never made it to Fenway Park or the visit was brief – usually at the end of a career – but one can always dream. Here is my personal “Sweet Sixteen.”