Dustin Pedroia is technically still a member of the Red Sox although the severity and persistence of his injury issues over the last few seasons make it look as though we’ve likely seen the last of him on the field. While he played more seasons after 2010 than he did before, it’s arguable that he had his best years for the Red Sox between 2006 and 2010.
Making his debut in 2006 for a cup of coffee with the big club, Pedroia began his true rookie season of 2007 as the team’s everyday second baseman. He struggled early on, but manager Terry Francona believed in him and kept playing him and it paid off. Pedroia broke through and ended up having an excellent season, winning American League Rookie of the Year by hitting .317 with 8 home runs, 50 RBI, 165 hits, 86 runs, an OBP of .380, and an OPS of .823.
In the postseason that year, he hit .354 with one home run and five RBI in the ALCS as the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians. He then hit .278 with one home run and four RBI in the World Series, helping the Red Sox win their second championship of the decade.
His 2008 season was even better as he won the AL MVP award by hitting .326 with 17 home runs, 83 RBI, 213 hits and 118 runs (both of which led the league), a .376 OBP, and an OPS of .869. He also won his first Gold Glove award (he’d win three more in 2011, 2013, and 2014).
For the years 2006-2010, Pedroia hit .284 with 54 home runs and 253 RBI. His stellar defense, gritty hard-nosed style of play (especially playing while hurt), and fierce determination to overcome his small size and become one of the premier second basemen of his generation has made Pedroia a fan favorite throughout his career and a borderline Hall of Fame candidate.