My favorite Red Sox players

Pedro - drgandy
On Friday, the Boston Globe ran down the worst breakups in Red Sox history going around the diamond by position. It's a nice (and sobering) read.

It made me ask myself "who would be on my personal 'favorite Red Sox' team?" My list is here and includes famous names such as Pedro Martinez and obscure names such as Jeff Frye

On Friday, the Boston Globe ran down the worst breakups in Red Sox history going around the diamond by position. It’s a nice (and sobering) read. It made me ask myself “who would be on my personal ‘favorite Red Sox’ team?” My list is here.

The ground rules are that you can only name players that you personally followed. For example, I can’t list Ted Williams because I wasn’t even alive when he played. I also can’t list Marty Barrett because I was too young to have remembered or followed him. After reading my list, tell me yours in the comments!

Keep in mind this is a “favorite” Red Sox list, not a “best at that position” list.

C Mike Stanley -  Just always liked him. He always performed for us and was a nice veteran presence. Haven’t heard anything from him since he left his bench coach job with the SOx in 2002.

1B Brian Daubach – What can you say about this guy? He was the model of consistency and teamed up with Trot Nixon to kick off the Sox’s image as dirt dogs in the early parts of this decade.

2B Jeff Frye – He was the precursor to Dustin Pedroia: short and not given much of a chance. After two solid years in 1996 and ’97, he seemed to be getting a hold on the starting second base job. Unfortunately, he’d get injured, miss 1998 and never be the same again.

Nomar – adm

SS Nomar Garciaparra – Yeah, the breakup was terrible and left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. But the glory days of ’97 to ’03 are what I remember more. That and this picture.

3B Bill Mueller – When your nickname is Billy Ballgame, it’s kind of clear why he’s a favorite.

LF Dante Bichette – Mostly my favorite because he came to Boston at the stage of his career where he was breaking down but his glory days were still fresh in everyone’s mind. I remember being up in the left-field upper deck during a game when Bichette smashed a home run off the Coke bottles.

Jacoby – Samara Pearlstein

CF Jacoby Ellsbury – He’s electrified the Red Sox team and fanbase in a way that I never saw before. His defense and speed is a welcome breath of fresh air on a team that long relied on the three-run home run.

RF Troy O’Leary – A pretty common trend in this ‘favorites’ list is how many of them were “plucked off the scrap heap.” You can’t help but not root for these guys. O’Leary was an underrated left fielder during his time and gave way to Manny Ramirez.

DH David Ortiz – His goofy smile and clutch home runs forever changed the culture of Boston baseball.

Bench OF Curtis Pride – Can’t have a favorite player list without Pride, the first deaf baseball player in a century and one I looked up to when I played baseball as a kid. (I’ve mentioned it in this space before in passing, but for those that are unaware, I’m deaf.)
Bench IF Lou Merloni – “Why are they booing?” “They’re not booing.. they’re Louuuuuuing.”

Bench C Jason Varitek – The Captain.

Pedro – drgandy

SP Pedro Martinez – Watching him put together perhaps the best two-year span a pitcher has ever had in history in 1999 and 2000 was nothing short of breathtaking.

SP Tim Wakefield – Plucked off the scrap heap, throws a knuckleball, has great character and loyalty. Served in pretty much every single role as a pitcher for the Sox in his career here and deserves a spot in the Red Sox Hall of Fame when all is said and done.

SP Bret Saberhagen – Here was a former pitcher on top of the world coming to Boston broken down… and resurrected his career, albeit briefly.

SP John Burkett – I had a soft spot for Burkett because he didn’t throw hard (like Paul Byrd) but simply got the job done. Always felt bad that he missed out on a World Series in his final year, 2003.

SP Jon Lester – Just can’t say enough about this kid. He’s thrown a no-hitter, won a World Series, beat cancer and is developing into one of the best left-handers in the game today.

RP Rich Garces
– El Guapo. The pressure for him to lose weight finally got to him… and he was terrible. Shouldn’t have dropped those pounds. He’s probably the one former Sox who outpaces every other former Sox in amount of Sox t-shirts still around and being used.

SF Wall of Fame – Dave Nelson

RP Rod Beck – Beck had a distinctive windup, a mullet and a look that was menacing. How can you not like a guy who makes millions as the game’s best closer then living in a trailer park behind a minor league park just to keep living the dream?

CL Jonathan Papelbon – The Red Sox have never had a long-term dominating closer (along the lines of Beck, Robb Nen, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, etc.) until Papelbon came along. Did you know he needs just 20 more saves to become the all-time saves leader for the Red Sox? And he’s entering his age 28 year!

Categories: Bill Mueller Bret Saberhagen Brian Daubach Curtis Pride Dante Bichette David Ortiz Jacoby Ellsbury Jason Varitek Jeff Frye John Burkett Jon Lester Jonathan Papelbon Lou Merloni Mike Stanley Nomar Garciaparra Pedro Martinez Rich Garces Rod Beck Tim Wakefield Troy O\'Leary

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

7 Responses to “My favorite Red Sox players” Subscribe

  1. Joe Veno February 16, 2009 at 8:23 AM #

    I watched Daubach hit a walk-off double in Fenway, that was pretty great.

  2. Tim Daloisio February 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM #

    I won't go into the player by player detail…but here are the highlights:
    C Jason Varitek: I know I shouldn't be, but I am thrilled that he is back.
    1B Mo Vaughn (hat tip to Millar)
    2B Mark Bellhorn (Pedroia was too easy)
    SS Orlando Cabrera: It was so brief, but so much fun to watch him every day in the glory of 2004. At the same time, I am glad that they let him walk as he wasn't the long term answer at SS. Although they certainly could have done better than the Renteria, Gonzo, Lugo trio that followed. I always rooted hard for Nomar, but looking back, my heart wasn't really there for him.
    3B Mike Lowell – Close with Billy Mueller here
    LF Come on….Manny, hands down…loved rooting for him as much as any player I've watched in the last decade.
    CF Johnny Damon
    RF Trot Nixon
    DH Can't not have Papi on this list somewhere
    B I'll only use one bench spot to shout out to Crazy Carl Everett. What a pain, but he doesn't believe in dinosaurs…come on!
    SP Pedro Martinez – I really only need this name on the list for it to be complete. I am still in awe of the games I saw him pitch at Fenway Park
    SP Derek Lowe
    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Dice K – For the sheer uncertainty of it all
    SP Curt Schilling
    RP Mike Timlin
    RP Keith Foulke – Will never truly get the credit he deserves for being the most important player on the 2004 team.
    CL Jonathan Papelbon – Man is it easy for other team's fans to hate him…and that makes me love him all the more.

  3. Shane February 16, 2009 at 2:26 PM #

    C Varitek
    1B Youk – He's fast becoming one of my favorite players all time
    2B Pedroia – He's my size and just a little younger. While I know I can't be a major leaguer, he gives me hope.
    SS Nomar
    3B Lowell – Almost Wade Boggs. He was my favorite player as a little kid but I was 9 when he left the team and that was a few years before I became a real fan of baseball in general.
    DH Papi – He is my all time favorite player
    LF Manny I've got my 2004 and 2007 DVDs to remember him by
    CF Coco He never became what we wanted, but he was still bad ass
    RF Trot
    Schilling – Very few people can both piss me off and cause me to keep reading their blog
    Dice-K I think he'll always be frustrating, but still get results
    CL Foulke

  4. Shane February 16, 2009 at 2:28 PM #

    Oh, I forgot
    Sean Casey – Because he got my girlfriend interested in watching baseball games with me when ever he got to bat

  5. Mike Kriskey February 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM #

    C – Jason Varitek (for the mitt in A-Rod's face, if nothing else)
    1B – Mo Vaughn (the proto-Ortiz)–soon to be Youkilis
    2B – Marty Barrett (hidden ball tricks, heads-up play)–soon to be Pedroia, but I'll always love Marty
    SS – Spike Owen (liked his name–that's enough when you're a kid, but I still like hard-nosed little guys)
    3B – Mike Lowell (guts and class)
    LF – Manny Ramirez (and yes, I'm glad he's gone now, but when he was good…
    CF – Ellis Burks (this is a tough one–I could go with Johnny Damon)
    RF – Trot Nixon (love his personality, but it's close with Dwight Evans)
    DH – David Ortiz (come on, now)
    Bench OF – Tom Brunansky (Pure sentiment: Polish like me, we have the same birthday–that's enough to be your favorite player when you're a kid)
    SP – Bruce Hurst (just a dogged, never-give-up guy)
    SP – Curt Schilling (for 2004, and he also showed a lot of guts in 2005)
    SP – Tim Wakefield (Always liked him, but I fell in love in the 13th inning of Game 5 in the 2004 ALCS. Three passed balls after two outs, with no pouting, no showing up of Varitek. Just calm encouragement. Then the K.)
    SP – Oil Can Boyd (Don't know why I like him so much. If he were pitching against my team I'd hate his guts. He pitched in the first game I ever saw at Fenway, so that probably has something to do with it. Did you hear he wants to make a comeback at 49? Godspeed, you maniac.)
    SP – Pedro Martinez (for the greatest couple of years any pitcher has ever had–and without steroids, I'd bet)
    RP – Mike Timlin (when he sucked, it hurt twice as much, because I rooted for him so hard)
    CL – Jonathan Papelbon (come on, now)
    Manager – Joe Morgan (The streak to start his career, a snowplow driver from Walpole, and his great "I'm the manager of this nine" after scuffling with Jim Rice when he sent up Spike Owen to bunt for the slugger.)

  6. Gerry February 16, 2009 at 11:19 PM #

    I can choose from a broad palette of players, having watched many of them at Fenway. My favorites are often the best, imo, at their positions
    Williams, Absolutely no one like him anytime, any team.
    Yaz, Rice, Manny, Lynn, Evans, Jensen, Conigliaro, Piersall,were forces for pitchers and hitters to reckon with. Dewey's arm alone was worth the price of admission.
    IF: Malzone/Lowell about equal. Not just talented, but great to watch, and similar in many ways.
    Pesky/Runnels, Doerr/Pedroia, Youk
    C. Fisk, Tek. Two of the best, fun to watch. Competence personified.
    SP. Lonborg, Pedro, Tiant, Lester, Schilling, Beckett
    RP. Papelbon, Radatz, Ferris, Stanley, Lee, Eck, Wake, Lowe
    DH. BIg Papi
    Manager: Terry Francona.
    I was too young to remember much about Dom DiMaggio, but my older brothers and their rabid fan friends say Jacoby Ellsbury is most like him and will produce like him, and watching Jacoby can be incredible. I also had a hard time leaving Wade Boggs out, but Malzone was great and Mike Lowell reminds me so much of him. I loved to watch Dick Stuart hit, and followed Mo avidly from AAA to the west coast, but Youk is the best total package I have ever seen at 1b in terms of talent, fun to watch, and "glad he's on our team".
    If you never saw Dick Radatz close, or Luis Tiant pitch, you missed something special. As an aside, it seemed that in Don Buddin's brief stint, he would hit 2 or 3 towering barely foul ball homeruns a couple of times every game, and then pop out. He was good to the kids and everyone hoped he made it.

  7. JimT April 5, 2009 at 2:27 PM #

    A few of my favorites,
    Tommy Harper, he could hit home runs and stole bases when the Red Sox never stole bases. Always had a smile going. It was a terrible shame when he was mistreated in Florida. I sat in the left field seats often in the early 70's and Harper was always ready to say hello and chat it up. My all time favorite Red Sox.
    George Scott, what a glove, it was like watching magic.
    Rich Gedman, much like Tek he would grind it out and always gave his best.
    Reggie Smith, what an amazing athelete. He could run, hit, hit for power and had a cannon for an arm. He used to do flips and somersaults much like Ozzie Smith did before the games.
    Least favorite, Danny Cater. The guy wasn't that good of a hitter, was slow, slow, slow on the basepaths and could play Fist Base worth a darn. I stll get annoyed when I think about trading Sparky Lyle for that guy!