Five Red Sox players who should have their jersey numbers retired
5 Red Sox who deserve to have their jersey number retired
On Monday, the New York Yankees announced that they will retire former right fielder Paul O’Neill’s number 21 later this season. O’Neill played nine seasons with the Yankees, batting .303 while averaging nearly 100 RBIs per season and leading the team to four World Series Championships. Could we see such a thing from the Red Sox this season to match their rival?
O’Neill will become the 23rd former Yankee to have their number retired, meaning nearly a quarter of jersey numbers are unavailable to the current roster. He was unquestionably a significant part of Yankees history, but considering he played less than a decade with the team and was never the best player on those championship teams, his jersey retirement is up to debate.
Even though the Red Sox came into existence the same year as the Yankees, their jersey retirement collection pales in comparison to their division rivals. The Sox have just 11 numbers hanging from the grandstands, and they have much stricter requirements for the honor.
To be eligible for jersey retirement, a player must play ten years in Boston, be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and retire as a member of the Red Sox. In recent years, however, those requirements have become less mandatory.
Both Pedro Martinez and Wade Boggs retired as members of other teams, while Martinez played less than ten years with the Red Sox. In addition, both Johnny Pesky and recent retiree David Ortiz had their numbers retired without being inducted to the Hall of Fame (although Ortiz would eventually be elected).
With the Red Sox being more open to retiring the numbers of their all-time greats, let’s take a look at five players who could eventually see their numbers retired.