Just who is the best? One measure is to remove the weakest and that from my view is Jensen, Williams, and Piersall. The major contribution to the negative is they didn’t win anything. This was a lackluster team whose main offense was built around the outfield. All three players were among my all times favorites but that bias does not make them the best.
Most certainly it would be great to create a compilation from all three teams or even from those not selected or with just a brief appearance in Boston. Babe Ruth would be on the outfield, but I would avoid Carl Everett or Izzy Alcantara.
I saw Rice, Evans, and Lynn combination and as James has professed in his “Baseball Abstract” they were the best of the decade of the 1970s and that is both leagues. However, his weight of evidence also suggests that Hooper, Speaker, and Lewis were the best of their decade and of their era. Fairly heady stuff.
What it comes down to is the eventual team performance and that is two World Series wins and a third after the Speaker appendage was shipped to Cleveland. Statistically, they match up well with their peers just as the other two groupings do with their peers. If someone wishes to make a case for Rice, Lynn, and Evans they would most likely convince me – it is that close.
Sources: “Tris Speaker: The Rough-And-Tumble Life Of A Baseball Legend” by Timothy Gay, “Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway’s Remarkable First Year” by Glenn Stout.