Boston Red Sox: Best pitchers who could hit in franchise history

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 9: The facade is displayed as the Major League Baseball season is postponed due the coronavirus pandemic on April 9, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 9: The facade is displayed as the Major League Baseball season is postponed due the coronavirus pandemic on April 9, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

An All-Star team of Red Sox pitchers who could hit.

A pitcher attempting to hit is often on a scale from laughable to surprising depending upon the outcome. Since the implementation of the Designated Hitter in 1973, the American League (AL) and the rest of professional baseball excluding the National League (NL) have avoided this exercise in offensive futility except in certain circumstances. In another age it was different.

Prior to the emergence of the “Modern Era” considered from 1901 onward, a pitcher was expected to hit and would often play the field on days when mound duty was not needed. They could in some instances be exceptional at both – pitching and hitting. Guy Hecker won 26 games in 1886 and also a batting title hitting .341. What happened?

In that bygone age, baseball rosters were small and players had to be flexible. A rotation could be a two-man affair and the use of a pinch-hitter only came about with a rule change. As schedules expanded so did rosters and further specialization. As the years pushed forward so did the ineptness of pitchers with a bat in their hands but exceptions did exist.

This will be an attempt – an admittedly brutal one – of constructing an All-Star team of Red Sox hurlers who could mash or at least not embarrass themselves. Finding a position on the diamond for each is one of mostly guesswork and a pitcher would usually be confined to where the less defensive damage could be done – the outfield.