Red Sox History: A fan's all-time Red Sox defensive team

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Center Field - Jim Piersall

What a list one can build at this position. Fred Lynn was graceful and fearless, so the Red Sox padded the outfield walls before he went all Pete Reiser (look him up) on them.

Coco Crisp was another gatekeeper in the outfield and, as the Tampa Bay Rays can attest, quite handy with his fists. There is Jim Piersall, and the 1958 season was a typical defensive statistical season for the gifted and flawed Piersall. Piersall's life can be viewed here.

Casey Stengel once said that Piersall was the best right fielder in baseball's history, and he played right field until Jackie Jensen arrived. Jensen was a great outfielder, and coupled with Piersall, that locked down right and center.

Piersall was instinctively outstanding and would glide to the ball. Fenway is a formidable outfield at all three spots, and Piersall had no issue. Going back on a ball, charging a ball, or making an accurate toss was all part of a top-of-the-line defensive package.

Piersall won a GG in 1958 with Boston and another with Cleveland, to whom he was traded after that season. It was a trade that shocked more than a few fans at the time, but just watching Piersall play center was a lesson in baseball defensive excellence.