This is a group of players who were pretty good for the Red Sox in the 1990s but didn’t quite make the cut. First up is Jody Reed who is a weird case in that he spent the first six years of his career in Boston and straddled both the 1980s and 1990s. From 1987 to 1992 he was a very good shortstop and second baseman.
He hit .280 with 17 home runs and 227 RBI in his Red Sox career and led the American League in doubles in 1990 with 45. He wasn’t good enough for me to put him on the 1980s list and he’s really not good enough to be on this list, but because he was decent enough to merit consideration and played a roughly equal amount in both decades, I thought he deserved inclusion here.
Tom Brunansky was acquired by the Red Sox in a 1990 trade and played well for them, including helping them win the AL East with a diving catch in the ninth inning of the season’s final game to save the victory and clinch the division. Between 1990 and 1992 “Bruno,” as he was called, hit .254 with 46 home runs and 144 RBI. After leaving in 1994, he came back in 1994 for the final season of his career and hit 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 48 games before the strike ended the season and his career.
Finally, we’ll end with a trio of players who began their Red Sox careers in the late 1990s but didn’t become Red Sox legends until they blossomed in the 2000s. Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe were acquired in the same trade in 1997 in one of the biggest heists in franchise history. The Red Sox swindled the Seattle Mariners by sending reliever Heathcliff Slocumb in return for the duo.
Varitek, of course, would go on to be the Red Sox catcher and captain until his retirement in 2011 and Lowe would be a valuable starter and reliever (including a 20-win season in 2002). Both were vital in helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. Their teammate Trot Nixon was also crucial in ending the 86 year drought.
He came up with the Red Sox in 1996 and was a mainstay in right field through the 2006 season before finishing the final two seasons of his career elsewhere. All three of these players were core players of the 2004 champions but were just starting their careers in the late 1990s when the Red Sox made the postseason in 1998 and 1999.