Boston Red Sox: Most important players in franchise history

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02: David Ortiz
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02: David Ortiz /
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(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Mookie Betts

Call this one a bonus entry, call it premature, call it woefully misguided…you may be right on all three counts. But I’ve decided to include Mookie Betts on the list because for the six seasons that he was on the Red Sox, he was the face of the franchise, the best player on the team, and the next logical superstar progression from David Ortiz.

Betts came into the league in 2014 and immediately served notice that he was going to be something special. After two solid seasons in 2014 and 2015, Mookie broke out in a big way in 2016 with an MVP-caliber season. It was an award he would’ve won if not for Mike Trout, although he did finish second in the voting. Not coincidentally, that was also Ortiz’ final season and the passing of the torch to Betts.

The 2017 Red Sox suffered a bit of an identity crisis (not to mention a power outage) in the wake of Ortiz’ retirement, but Betts helped carry that team to another AL East division title and a postseason berth. It was in 2018 where Mookie made his presence known as one of the best players in the league as he won the AL MVP and numerous other awards while leading the Red Sox to their most recent World Series victory.

As we all know, Mookie is now a Dodger and his time in Boston came to a sudden and too soon end. However, he’s one of the most important players in Red Sox history (recency bias acknowledged) because he bridged the gap between the Ortiz era and the new, too-short Mookie era. He was not only the Red Sox best player but one of the top five best players in the league, something the team hadn’t had in a long time.

Next. Top 5 Mookie Betts moments. dark

Betts was the first Red Sox player to win a league MVP since Dustin Pedroia in 2008 and seemed poised to win many more. He was the quiet, unassuming face of the franchise with the big smile and the silky smooth game. He’s gone now and perhaps his Red Sox tenure doesn’t carry the same gravitas as the other players on this list, but over the last decade he was the most important player on the Red Sox.