Boston Red Sox: Ranking the top 10 players from the 2000s
Kevin Youkilis may be one of the most underappreciated homegrown players the Red Sox have produced in the last twenty years. He was certainly popular with fans and the media as a hard-nosed, gritty player but he was also really, really good. First called up as a rookie to fill in for the inured Bill Mueller during the historic 2004 season, Youk (as he was affectionately called) spent the first nine seasons of his career in Boston.
Initially a third baseman, Youk was converted into a first baseman and turned into one of the best in the league at that position, winning a Gold Glove in 2007. He also set the record for most consecutive games without an error by a first baseman at 238 games. More than his slick fielding and toughness playing through injuries, though, Youkilis was most well-known for his plate discipline.
Dubbed “The Greek God of Walks” in the famous book Moneyball, Youkilis walked a lot and had very good on base percentages throughout his career. During the decade (2004-2010), he hit .290 with 112 home runs, 470 RBI, 412 BB, 816 H, 501 R, a .393 OBP, and an OPS of .876. He was also very durable, playing through injuries and in 130 or more games in most seasons.
He won a World Series ring in 2004 even though he didn’t play beyond the ALDS, but he was a starter for the 2007 team that won it all and he was a vital part of that championship. He had a couple of solid years in 2011 and 2012 before being traded in June of 2012 during the miserable Bobby Valentine season.
Kevin Youkilis was one of the best and most fondly remembered Red Sox players of the 2000s and further ingrained himself into the fabric of Boston sports when he married one of Tom Brady’s sisters in 2012. Not bad for a guy who was called “an on base machine” during his time in the minor leagues.