3 bench players who helped the Red Sox win a World Series

Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have a rich history when it comes to bench players making an impact during big moments. Who can forget Bernie Carbo’s three-run home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series? He took a 2-2 pitch into the center field stands to tie the game.

How about Dave Henderson’s shot against Donnie Moore in the 1986 ALCS that gave the Sox the lead? The two players had their moments, but neither guy helped win it all.

And as fans are reflecting on this roster from the last few years, there's definitely some nostalgia about the deep, ferocious Red Sox benches of yesteryear that perfectly complemented the starters to help the most successful rosters never miss a beat.

Bench players who helped the Red Sox win a World Series

Jacoby Ellsbury was a 23-year-old human firecracker when he came to the Red Sox in 2007. Ellsbury was a first-round draft pick in 2005 and he picked the right time to start blossoming into a superstar. In 33 games, he hit to a robust .353 batting average.

Regular center fielder Coco Crisp struggled going into the playoffs. Throughout both the ALDS against Anaheim and the ALCS against Cleveland, Crisp was a shell of himself and batted just .200 and .143. Manager Terry Francona needed a spark, and made a very gutsy call when he inserted the young Ellsbury into the regular center fielder spot. He responded by hitting .438 with more RBI (three) than Crisp had in the last two series combined (two). He also helped everyone get a free taco by stealing a base during the Steal a Base, Steal a Taco promotion. Can’t beat that!!

Xander Bogaerts’ story was a bit more improbable due to several factors. For starters, he was only 21 years old, but he showed poise reserved for much more mature players. He needed a position change to fit into the lineup since he was slated as the shortstop of the future. He played third base in some of the biggest games of his life.

He also took over for a slumping Wil Middlebrooks, who had a good season with 17 home runs in 348 at-bats. His terrible slump in the ALCS prompted manager John Farrell to make the change Francona did prior. Again, it paid off, but not quite as well as Ellsbury did. Bogaerts batted only .238, but it was his maturity and ability to hold down third base that allowed the Sox to ride on Big Papi’s shoulders and win it all for the third time in 10 years.

One look at the Red Sox's 2018 roster and you would think they were an All-Star team. They rode the wave of their loaded squad to the tune of 108 wins in the regular season. But as history shows year after year, they needed that one guy at the right time. It ended up being Steve Pearce.

Boston picked him up in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and Pearce provided a right-hand bat off the bench. He was extra valuable against the Los Angeles Dodgers because they were loaded with great left-handers, and with Clayton Kershaw at the top, they needed Pearce to come up big. He hit a home run off Kershaw in Game 5 and proceeded to hit another later on in the game. But he wasn’t effective against just lefties. In Game 4 he hit a game-tying home run off Dodgers closer and current Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen. His heroics earned him the 2018 World Series MVP trophy and a brand-new truck.

Bogaerts and Ellsbury went on to contribute in an everyday role, and both factored heavily in another championship victory, while Pearce added that extra veteran piece to secure the World Series titles. It shows that teams need 26 guys with different skills and backgrounds to be able to take the Duck Boats for a spin in the streets of Boston.

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