Boston Red Sox Designated Hitter lineage
Hall of Fame Division
Don Baylor was a linebacker who happens to wear a baseball uniform. A former MVP brought to Boston to take full advantage of Fenway Park and Baylor did not disappoint by hitting 31 home runs and having 94 RBI while hitting .238.
Baylor won the Silver Slugger Award for his 1986 efforts and once again led the league in his specialty of being hit by pitches. In 1987, Baylor was slumping off his 1986 totals and was traded to the Twins who were making a late season – and successful – pennant push.
Andre Dawson is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and anyone who saw “The Hawk” in his prime would understand why. Dawson was a five-tool player, a former MVP and a perennial Gold Glove winner. When he signed with Boston what was left was his right-hand bat that the Red Sox hoped had some punch left.
Dawson played two seasons or parts of two seasons with the Red Sox as his knees continued to debilitate his performance. Off-season surgery did not really improve and in Boston
You never forget your first – DH that is. Orlando Cepeda was what the DH was designed for – an aging slugger who had limited defensive ability and that was “Cha Cha,” a former MVP. Multiple All-Star and in his prime a five-tool player on the great Giants teams of the late 1950s and early 60s. Cepeda also knew Fenway as a guest when the Cardinals – for whom Cepeda then played – faced the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series.
The Red Sox jumped first when the DH was instituted and beat out competitors for Cepeda’s services. The 35-year-old right-hand power hitter was working on knees that had ceased to cooperate with the rest of the body. Despite that Cepeda appeared in 142 games and banged out 20 home runs and 86 RBI while hitting .289. Essentially that was a career swan song for Cepeda.
A Tony Perez in his prime would have been one dangerous bat at Fenway Park. I am not sure if that ball he hit off Bill Lee in the 1975 World Series has landed? The Perez that arrived in Boston was simply nearing the end and initially Tony played first base in 1980 before putting in some DH time the next two seasons. Perez did hit 40 home runs and notch 175 RBI in his 304 game Boston career.