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!