Dan Duquette and the Carl Everett Era

Carl Everett doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. We all know that by now, but it’s still funny to think at one point, this guy was the future of the organization.

We can thank Dan Duquette for a lot of things. He was instrumental in laying the player foundation that helped the ’04 Red Sox capture a World Series title. His resume of personnel moves is littered with excellent decisions. From Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon to Kevin Youkilis, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe — Duquette had a heavy hand in helping to end the 86-year drought in Boston.

As we take a stroll down memory lane and relive the ‘Carl Everett Era’, it’s kind of amazing to think that the Red Sox would even try and take on a prima donna of this nature. Granted, the team had offensive needs and a highly-touted prospect named Adam Everett that they were willing to deal (thanks to Nomar). But the Red Sox really needed pitching, and instead of trading for a left-handed solution to compliment Pedro Martinez, Duquette acquired a problem in the outfield in Everett.

In order for an organization to take on a problem child, it first has to be stabile and have a clear chain of command with structure, success and vision. The 2000 Red Sox had none of that. For all the sparkling accolades of Pedro, Nomar and Derek Lowe on the field, the organization was buried under its own weight and burdened by power struggles.

Duquette constantly undermined manager Jimy Williams. John Harrington, the Red Sox CEO, (part of the Yawkey legacy) was constantly undermining Duquette and the players were stuck in the middle of this battle. Trading for a volatile player, implementing him into a volatile organization and expecting it to work out was fool-hardy.

Coming off consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since 1915-16, the Boston Red Sox were poised (from the media and fans perspective) to win a World Series in 2000. Sports Illustrated selected the Red Sox in the pre-season to be World Series champs. But these were the days of “Pedro and pray for rain”. The starting rotation after Martinez was suspect and the historically pitching-starved organization continued to repeat their time-tested flaws by back-filling the rotation with guys like Jeff Fassero , Pete Schourek and Bret Saberhagen. (The organization was also overly-consumed with with lobbying the city of Boston to pony up $250 million to pay in part for a new Fenway Park.)

Adding Everett presumably gave you a five-tool, middle of the order player, but it did not resolve the pitching issues and the question instantly became, “How long will this last before it gets bad?”

It didn’t last too long in 2000. By July, the Red Sox were struggling to stay above water and although the division was within striking distance, the team would not go out and acquire a difference maker. Duquette played around and acquired Mike Lansing, Rolando Arrojo and Dante Bichette, but it wasn’t enough. The Yankees had already acquired David Justice and despite their own struggles, kept the Red Sox at bay.

A lot of people forget though just how good Everett was in 2000, especially in the first half when he hit .329 with 24 HRs and 69 RBI. Everett was the best player in the American League and chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP” rang down from the Fenway Faithful. It was the classic ‘honeymoon’ phase and shortly after, the marriage between Everett and Boston became tumultuous.

On July 15 Everett bumped home plate umpire Ron Kulpa twice and was eventually suspended for 10 games. It marked the beginning of the end for the much-maligned centerfielder. His first half, MVP-like performance became overshadowed by the umpire incident, bad play and locker room turmoil in the second half of 2000.

1st half: .329/.403/.647, 24 HRs, 69 RBI
2nd half: .261/.329/.502, 10 HRs, 39 RBI

It wasn’t just the second half fade that was a problem for Everett either. He was widely known for his bizarre opinions, absurd behavior and notorious temper tantrums. He is famous in Boston for the umpire ‘head-butting’ incident,  missing and skipping team practices, not taking the team bus, fighting with Joe Kerrigan and Jimy Williams and telling reporters that he does not believe in dinosaurs because they are not in the Bible.

First of all, paleontologists don’t believe one another on their own discoveries—how can I believe in people who don’t even believe in it themselves? And biblically, there’s no mention of dinosaurs. According to the word of the Bible, Adam had dominion over all animals; according to man, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. So either God’s a liar, or…well, I don’t believe that God’s a liar. – Everett

He is the originator of arguably the greatest nickname in Boston media, “Curly Haired Boyfriend” which stemmed from a discussion between Gordon Edes and Everett where Everett declined an interview stating, that he didn’t talk to Globe reporters, especially “you and your curly haired boyfriend.” The ‘curly haired boyfriend’ that Everett alluded to was none other than pot-stirring Boston Globe journalist, Dan Shaughnessy.

That interaction with Edes set off a media firestorm and escalated into Shaughnessy shooting back in an article referring to Everett as ‘Jurassic Carl’, a nod to Everett’s assertion that dinosaurs never existed. Everett never got along with the media and to this day maintains his disdain for the writers in this town. Note: Some time later the Shaughnessy nickname was converted to “CHB” and credited to Bill Simmons. It remains the name of choice for many fans when referring to Shaughnessy.

Everett may have been unstable but Boston was pretty lucky when he was here as it was the most valuable point in his career. Everett was a 4.5 WAR in 2000 and virtually below replacement every year after that. For all the trouble Boston had with him, he was at least at his peak in 2000.

His antics and performances are well-documented as a Red Sox, But his most infamous Boston memory isn’t the theatrics, the MVP-like half, the All-Star selection, the Home Run Derby performance or even the dinosaur quotes. The best thing Carl Everett ever did to a Red Sox fan happened on September, 2nd, 2001.

A chilly Sunday night in Massachusetts delivered a memorable and dramatic moment in Red Sox-Yankees history and it was Everett who was forever linked to the night.
Mike Mussina took a perfect game into the ninth and got a great defensive play by utilityman Clay Bellinger at first base to open the inning. After fanning Lou Merloni for his 13th strikeout, Mussina quickly got ahead of Everett, who was batting for No. 9 hitter Joe Oliver.
Battling a right knee injury, Everett fell behind 0-2 before taking a pitch. The former All-Star lined Mussina’s next offering into left-center field for a clean single, ending Mussina’s bid for the perfect game in the 89-year history of Fenway Park. USA TODAY

Mussina was one strike away from a perfect game.

Fenway Park erupted as Everett rounded first and the celebration ensued as Red Sox fans cheered like they had just won the pennant. Breaking up Mussina’s perfect game was glorious for everyone in Boston. It stopped another dagger from piercing their hearts and prevented another painful memory to answer to in this hated rivalry.

The Duquette experience with Everett last just two years. It was filled with many ups and downs and ended in 2001 just as it did in 2000 – disappointing. It marked the end of an era in Boston and little did we know at the time, it was about to soon change for the good. The days of power struggles, media wars, back-stabbing and instability were just about over. Everett was on his way out and so was Duquette and Harrington and the failed Yawkey legacy.

It took until 2002 to finalize the transaction, but the good fortune in Boston began in December 2000, when Harrington announced:

The Red Sox are For Sale

Categories: Boston Red Sox

2 Responses to “Dan Duquette and the Carl Everett Era” Subscribe

  1. Mr Punch November 10, 2010 at 6:59 AM #

    Wasn't it Everett who pointed out that MLB had screwed up interleague play by emphasizing rivalries in two-team markets when the real purpose should be to allow fans in other cities to see teams/stars from both leagues? Crazy, no doubt, but smarter than Bud Selig.

    • Darryl Johnston November 10, 2010 at 8:14 AM #

      Yes, yes he was and that is a great point. And for all the drama with Everett, I aleways enjoyed him being around. The whole system was a mess at the time and I always felt bad for Pedro/Nomar.