Greatest Red Sox players who should have stayed in Boston
By Drew Athans
The next guy on the list was a teammate of Carlton Fisk’s and one of the greatest phenoms the Red Sox have ever drafted and developed. Fred Lynn made his major league debut partway through the 1974 season before coming up for good as a rookie in 1975 and he announced his arrival in a big way. Lynn hit .331 with 21 home runs and 105 RBI in 1975, becoming the first and to date only player to win his league’s Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season.
Lynn continued to hit at a torrid pace in his seven seasons in Boston, compiling a .308 average with 124 home runs and 521 RBI. Lynn was also a wizard in center field, winning four Gold Gloves during his Red Sox career to go along with a batting title in 1979 when he led the American League with a .333 average. Lynn was, along with teammate Jim Rice, one of the Gold Dust Twins as the pair of highly touted rookies were called.
Along with Dwight Evans, they made up one of the greatest outfields in Red Sox history, only being challenged for that distinction by the Mookie Betts/Jackie Bradley/Andrew Benintendi triumvirate of 2017-2019. Lynn was fearless in the field, diving and crashing into the wall to get to every ball he could. Unfortunately, that took a toll on his body as he started to suffer from knee injuries by 1980.
The Red Sox inexplicably traded Lynn to the California Angels before the start of the 1981 season and while he continued to enjoy some success over the remainder of his career, he never again hit the heights he did in Boston as the injuries limited him to the day he retired. Lynn is one of the biggest “what could have been” stories in Red Sox history, not only in terms of ending his career in a different uniform, but also regarding the heights he could have reached had he stayed healthy.