Boston Red Sox top 25-man roster in franchise history

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Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

Carlton Fisk

Career stats: .269/.341/.457, 376 HR, 1330 RBI, 128 SB, 68.3 WAR
With Red Sox: .284/.356/.481, 162 HR, 568 RBI, 61 SB, 38.3 WAR

Fisk was born to be a Red Sox player, literally. The 6’3″, 200-pounder projected the physique of an Olympian athlete around the streets of Charlestown, and was always considered a local boy by all of the Fenway faithful.

He was an 11-time All-Star, the American League Rookie of the Year and the Gold Glove Award winner in 1972, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and had his jersey numbers retired in both Boston and with the Chicago White Sox, the only other team that he played for.

The numbers speak for themselves, but his life was more than that. The fact that his jersey in Boston was #27 and #72 in Chicago was evidence of a stubborn man who would not see defeat as acceptable.

Ask the New York Yankees fans about the rivalry between Fisk and their own famous catcher, Thurman Munson. The plate collision between the two, as Munson tried to score on a bunt that Fisk recovered, sent shock waves throughout both teams and their fans, resulting in a bench-clearing brawl and both catchers getting ejected.

Fisk solidified his status as one of the greatest Red Sox players of all time in the 1975 World Series, against the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati. His arms waving the ball fair captured the essence of what the Red Sox stood for. Nobody gave the team a chance to beat the great Johnny Bench and the Reds, but Fisk helped lead the Red Sox in a heavyweight title fight that they just lost in seven games.

That was as close as the Red Sox would get to another World Series Championship for over a decade. However, Fisk’s contributions refueled the greatest feud in sports with the Evil Empire. He was considered a Bostonian, and when he went toe-to-toe, literally and figuratively, with the Yankees, Fisk was one of Boston’s own. It was like Fisk represented each Massachusetts blue-collar worker who wanted to take a shot against the sworn enemy from New York.

Fisk represented the heart that beat in every chest in Boston, and for that he deserves to be considered the best Red Sox catcher of all time.

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