SportsTemps home

Thursday, August 1, 2013

All Time All Stars - Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox franchise is one of the greatest in the sport.  There are several Hall of Famers from Ted Williams to Cy Young who wear the Boston "B" on their bust in Cooperstown.  Yet, despite this the team went nearly 90 years between championships.  How does this happen?  I'm not even sure but fans will be excited to see some of the improvements the franchise has made since their original roster was created. As a refresher, below are the guidelines for choosing each team's roster.

  • Each team must be composed of fifteen (15) position players and ten (10) pitchers.
  • At least one pitcher must be a relief pitcher
  • Each position must have at least two players on the roster who can capably fill it.  Think of this as having a starter and a backup. 
  • At least one player chosen to represent a position must have played that position as their primary defensive position.  For instance, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth cannot be chosen as the only two representatives at first base since neither played there for the majority of their career.
  • Players must have been active no earlier than 1901.  I chose 1901 since that was the first year of the American League.  We need a cutoff at some point and this seemed logical to me. If a player accumulated stats prior to 1901 (Cy Young for instance) these stats will be disregarded.
  • To be eligible for a position a player must have played one full season as a starter there or 10% of his career games.  The same goes for starting and relieving.
  • The team a player represents should be the one that makes the most sense for that player. For instance, Alex Rodriguez has played for three teams but he's played 300 more games as a Yankee than a Mariner. He won an MVP as a Yankee and has more career WAR as a Yankee.  Therefore, he's going to be on the Yankee roster.
  • Batter handedness should not impact the players chosen.
Here we go...

Original Catchers: Rick Ferrell, Sammy White
Rick Ferrell shouldn't even be a Red Sock in my opinion.  He only played five seasons in Boston but played eight in St. Louis and eight in Washington. After looking over his numbers, I think he's a better fit for the Washington/Minnesota franchise so we'll scratch him off this list.  White had a couple of nice years but really is nothing special.  The state of the catchers on the original game is pretty disappointing.
Potential newcomers: Carlton Fisk, Jason Varitek
Fisk played two more seasons in Chicago than he did in Boston but his prime seasons occurred as a member of the Red Sox.  Plus, I think he's still bitter at White Sox management and is wearing a 'B' on his hat in Cooperstown. Varitek was never a special player but was consistently above average from 1999-2009.  He's an upgrade over White and makes this team as a backup to Fisk.

Original First Basemen: Pete Runnels, Billy Goodman, Joe Cronin, Carl Yastrzemski
Only Runnels can be called a first baseman in this bunch and even he split his time pretty evenly between first and second.  Runnels won two batting titles in Boston but his career high in home runs was 10.  His career on-base percentage is a solid .375.
Potential newcomers: Mo Vaughn, David Ortiz, George Scott
Vaughn was a big boy who could really hit.  He averaged 35 home runs a season in Beantown  and won the 1995 AL MVP award.  Ortiz is someone we're all familiar with.  He qualifies at first base because there's no DH spot here and he did play some first albeit not well (but, then again, neither did Mo Vaughn).  Scott, on the other hand, was a great defensive first baseman and had some power.  He might be a better fit on Milwaukee since the competition is already tough here.

Original Second basemen: Bobby Doerr, Billy Goodman, Pete Runnels, Johnny Pesky
Doerr is a Hall of Famer and his spot is safe.  Pesky is really a shortstop so we'll discuss him in the next group.  Goodman was a very similar player to Runnels as he could hit for average, get on base, and play multiple positions but had little power.  He won a batting title in 1950.  
Potential newcomers: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia has turned into a very nice player for Boston and his recent extension ensures he'll be in town for a long time.  I'm not sure if he's quite a HOFer but he's already won an MVP and is a five time All-Star.

Original Shortstops: Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Rico Petrocelli 
When people talk about great shortstops Cronin's name is rarely mentioned. I'm not sure why that is but he was fantastic in the 1930's.  He made seven all-star teams despite the game not being created until he was in his eighth season.  Johnny Pesky is a beloved Boston icon and even has the right field foul pole named after him.  Petrocelli was the power hitting shortstop of the 1960s and once hit 40 home runs in a season.
Potential newcomers: Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar could've been a Hall of Famer if not for injuries. He's got a tough competition ahead of him in the form of Pesky and Petrocelli.

Original Third Basemen: Frank Malzone, Joe Cronin, Rico Petrocelli, Johnny Pesky, Billy Goodman, Pete Runnels
A six time All Star, Malzone was a nice player but he's easily displaced by Boggs.  Everyone else here has already been discussed.
Potential newcomers: Wade Boggs, John Valentin, Kevin Youkilis
Wade Boggs is one of the five greatest third basemen of all time.  The man could really hit and was a solid defensive player.  John Valentin had a few nice seasons in the 90s but has no business on this team.  Kevin Youkilis may be about done but he was an offensive force in Boston.

Original Center Fielders: Dom DiMaggio, Doc Cramer, Reggie Smith, Carl Yastrzemski
This is a tough category to choose someone. Dominic was Joe's brother and a good player.  He missed three full seasons to serve in WWII which obviously hurt his numbers. Doc Cramer was a mix of Brett Butler and Harry Hooper.  I've never really been sure what to make of him. His offensive numbers are like that of Juan Pierre minus the steals.
Potential newcomers: Fred Lynn, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ellis Burks
Fred Lynn was the first player to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (1975) while he also was a good defensive outfielder. Ellsbury is a nice player but is injured too often to put up great numbers. Ellis Burks had three big seasons in his 18 year career but just one happened in Boston.

Original Corner Outfielders: Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Harry Hooper, Reggie Smith, Doc Cramer
Talk about a crowded position.  Ted Williams is the greatest offensive player ever not named Ruth (unless you like Bonds on 'roids).  Yastrzemski is a Hall of Famer and won a triple crown in 1967.  Quick side note: Ted Williams began his career in 1939 and retired in 1961. Yaz started in 1962 and played left field primarily until he moved to first base in 1975. In 1975 Jim Rice became the starter in left field until becoming a DH in 1988. So the Red Sox had a Hall of Fame player in left field from 1939-1987.  Think about that.
Harry Hooper was not a great hitter but is regarded as one of the greatest defensive corner outfielders of all time and is in the HOF.
Potential newcomers: Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Manny Ramirez, Mike Greenwell
I can tell someone's going to get screwed out of a roster spot already.  Greenwell was a good player but not up to par with the other three here.  Rice, as mentioned already, is a HOFer though not one of the better ones.  Dwight Evans is possibly the most underrated player of all time.  The man could get on base, hit for power, and played incredible defense. If he played nowadays he'd be a perennial MVP candidate.  Manny is just Manny - an excellent hitter who "played" left field.

Here's our recap.  Outfield is going to be tough to narrow down.

Original Red Sox New Red Sox
Pos Player Alt Pos. Pos Player Alt Pos.
C Rick Ferrell C Carlton Fisk
C Sammy White C Jason Varitek
1B Pete Runnels 2B/3B/SS 1B David Ortiz
2B Bobby Doerr 2B Bobby Doerr
2B Billy Goodman 1B/3B/OF 2B Dustin Pedroia
3B Frank Malzone 3B Wade Boggs
SS Joe Cronin 3B/1B SS Joe Cronin 1B
SS Johnny Pesky 2B/3B SS
SS Rico Petrocelli 3B OF Ted Williams
OF Ted Williams OF Carl Yastrzemski 1B/CF
OF Carl Yastrzemski CF/1B OF Manny Ramirez
OF Jackie Jensen CF OF Jim Rice
OF Harry Hooper
OF Reggie Smith CF
CF Doc Cramer OF
CF Dom DiMaggio OF

Right away you notice that the Bosox have lost a lot of positional flexibility.  Cronin loses third base under the new rules and neither Goodman nor Runnels made the first cut.  We'll need to add a backup at shortstop, third base, and at least one center fielder. Plus there are several other players that might make the cut as a hitter such as Mo Vaughn or Dwight Evans.  Listed below are the candidates for the last four spots.

  • Rico Petrocelli SS/3B - Rico's numbers took a hit due to playing in the 1960s. Had one great season where he hit 40 homers but never hit more than 30 otherwise.  Hit 210 home runs in his career.
  • Nomar Garciaparra SS/1B - What to say about Nomah? Won two batting titles in his first  four years.  At age 29 looked like a sure fire HOFer but then the injury bug hit big time. In 9 seasons with Boston hit .323/.370/.553.
  • Johnny Pesky SS/2B/3B - Led the league in hits as a rookie, missed three years due to WWII and then came back and led the league in hits two straight years.  Career high in HR was three but walked a ton too. An average defensive player but beloved by Red Sox fans.
  • Pete Runnels 1B/2B/SS- Versatile infielder won two batting titles in his five seasons in Boston.  Never had a power season but consistently got on base.
  • Billy Goodman 2B/1B/3B/OF - Goodman is extremely similar to Runnels. He could really hit for average and walked quite a bit as well.  His .354 batting average in 1950 was the second highest ever by a Red Sox infielder until Wade Boggs came along.
  • Kevin Youkilis 3B/1B - The Greek God of Walks was a doubles machine in his prime.  Unfortunately his prime was only five seasons while the other five seasons of his career are unimpressive.  He's still hanging on but the ride is almost over.
  • Reggie Smith CF/OF/1B - Why doesn't anyone know about this guy? He hit .300 when almost no one could (1969-75), hit for power (seven straight 20+ HR seasons), and led the league in both total bases and on-base percentage once.  Severely underrated.
  • Fred Lynn CF - Lynn was a great player in Boston but he slowly faded once he left.  Maybe if he stayed he'd have made the Hall of Fame. Was a 9 time All Star but made those teams in 9 straight years.
  • Dwight Evans OF/1B - Underrated due to playing in the 1980s and not the 2000s.  Led the league in walks three times, home runs once, and OPS twice. Won 8 Gold Gloves in right field.
  • Mo Vaughn 1B - 1995 AL MVP is the opposite of Petrocelli;  his numbers are inflated from playing in the 1990s.  Big time power but could hit for average too. His OPS+ in Boston was 140.
There will be four polls posted. One for backup SS, one for backup 3B, one for center field, and one for the last spot.

Updated poll results are below:
Backup SS: Nomar Garciaparra
Backup 3B: Kevin Youkilis
Centerfield: Fred Lynn
25th man: Dwight Evans
Post a Comment