The Benedict Arnold of the Rivalry is on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, which should make Yankees fans seethe.
Ellsbury was Boston’s first-round pick in the 2005 draft and debuted only two years later. As a rookie in 2007, he collected seven hits in the Sox’ World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies to win their second championship in four seasons.
Over seven seasons in Boston, Ellsbury finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, was an All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger-winner, and MVP runner-up in 2011, and led them to another championship during the 2013 Boston Strong season. Thrice, he stole 50+ bases and led MLB in swiped bags in 2009 (70) and 2013 (52).
Then, barely a month after the 2013 World Series, he committed the ultimate crime, defecting to the Yankees. They signed him to a seven-year deal worth $153M with an option for an eighth season. Injuries derailed the remainder of his career; he only played 520 games for New York between 2014-17, and never made it back to the majors after that.
Ellsbury’s career ended so badly that it’s surprising to see him make the ballot at all. Aside from his World Series rings and few accolades, he doesn’t have much of a case for election other than his incredible speed in the early years of his career. His 343 stolen bases rank 117th all-time and his 82.85 stolen base percentage is 29th.