Red Sox outfielder Tris Speaker – No. 36
Tris Speaker began his career with the Red Sox during the dead-ball era when home runs were few and far between while speed and getting on base was the name of the game. Speaker only topped double-digit homers four times, including when he led the league with 10 home runs in 1912 to earn an MVP award.
Speaker slashed .345/.428/.500 during his 22-year career. He led the league in hits twice and his 3514 hits are the fifth-most in MLB history.
While homers weren’t a big part of his game, Speaker was still an extra-base hitting machine. His 792 doubles are the most in major league history and he added 222 triples. His speed was also a threat on the base paths, swiping 436 bases in his career. 267 of those steals came during his tenure with the Red Sox, the second-most in franchise history.
They didn’t hand out Gold Glove awards in his day but Speaker would undoubtedly have an impressive collection if they did. Only Willie Mays recorded more putouts in center, and his 448 assists are the most ever by a center fielder.
It can be difficult to compare players from different eras because the game was so different when Speaker played. His talent would have made him an asset in any generation though. His penchant for racking up hits, stealing bases and providing excellent defense make him the best center fielder in Red Sox history.