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Red Sox Greats

May 12th 2006

Red Sox Greats

Carl Yastrzemski

This is an article about Boston Red Sox greats including Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams.

Itís no wonder the Boston Red Sox wear red and white. While red symbolizes passion and excitement and white symbolizes the "good guy" who wins in the end as well as angels, itís the Red Sox greats such as Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski that make us believe there really are "angels in the outfield." The true pride American League baseball is represented by some of the best players in the nation.

The history of baseball changed with the added excellence of Carlton Fisk, Wade Boggs, Cy Young, Luis Aparicio, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Fred Lynn, Nomar Garciaparra, and Pedro Martinez. Even a die-hard Yankees fan like me must admit the extraordinary accomplishments of some of the finest players to have ever dug their cleats into Fenway Parkís turf. Letís take a closer look into the historical realm of the greatest players to wear the official jersey of blood, sweat, and tears. It is necessary to pay homage to one of the best teams in American baseball.

 

First up is not only quite possibly the best hitter in baseball history, but also a remarkable U.S. Marine and fisherman, is Ted Williams, left fielder. This retired number 9 jersey wearing power hitter was nicknamed "The Splendid Splinter," "The Kid," "Teddy Ballgame" and "The Thumper." Since 1930, no one could hit .400 until 1941 when Williams first did. Now, no slugger yet has been able to hit over .400 again since Williams. Missing four seasons due to his U.S. Marine commitment, Williamsí batting average probably would have been even higher. The 521 home run hitter wrote six books about fishing and baseball, one named, The Science of Hitting; appropriately titled since Williams believed in practicing the art of batting.

Playing for the Red Sox from 1939 to 1942 and 1946 to 1960, this 1966 Hall of Fame Inductee (also featured in the Fishing Hall of Fame) won Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice. Williamís artifacts in the National Baseball Hall of Fame include a ball hit by him for his 500th career homer on June 17, 1960, a ball signed by him and Dom DiMaggio, and his sunglasses.

 

With much respect to his passing in 2002 at 83 years old, both Boston and San Diego (his home town) named a tunnel and a freeway after Williams, The Ted William Tunnel and Ted Williams Parkway, respectively.

The legend "Teddy Ballgame" will always be honored and remembered by his fans and will continue to remind us of the fun spirit in the ballgame itself. Games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, total bases, RBIís and extra base hits: close behind Williams who succeeded him in left-field is Carl Yastrzemski, who was the leader for all. Yastrzemski is the only player to have played with one team for so long - wearing a now retired straight #8 jersey all the way through 23 years with the Red Sox (from 1961 to 1983).

 

Yastrzemski won seven Gold Glove Awards, "Yaz" found honorable presence in the 1989 Hall of Fame. Yastrzemskiís artifacts in the National Baseball Hall of Fame include his Gold Glove Award in 1971, his Triple Crown trophy 1967, and his Silver Bat for winning the American League batting title in 1963. As if all this wasnít enough, he was an 18-time All-Star, too.

Still devoted to the Red Sox today, Yaz is still much involved as a roving instructor.

Important to mention third is catcher, Carlton Fisk, catching more games (2,226) than anyone in history. Nicknamed "Pudge," his number 27 jersey is also retired. A 24-year baseball player overall, Fisk played for the Red Sox in 1969 and from 1971 to 1980 then later the Chicago White Sox as number 72, also retired. Not only an outstanding catcher, during Fiskís rookie season of 1972, he was the first American League catcher to lead the league in triples when he hit nine of them. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and chose to be represented by the Red Sox even though he played more with the White Sox.

Upon Fiskís amazing career, there have been two dedications made to him in his honor. The first was the fourth foul pole at Fenway Park named the "Fisk Pole" where he landed his 12th-inning home run that won the 1965 World Series in Game 6 - one of the most memorable games in Major League history. The second was the life-size bronze statue of himself inside the U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

Up fourth is superstitiously successful, Wade Boggs, third baseman and twelve-time All Star. His excellence finally earned him into the Hall of Fame in 2005 since playing for the Red Sox from 1982 to 1992. From 1983 to 1989 Boggs scored at least 100 runs every season, just one of his any masterful hitting feats.

Fifth, but not forgotten is Cy Young, whose real name was Denton True Young. Cy was short for "Cyclone" because his fastball was faster than fast, evident by the destruction of nearby barns and fences as he practiced pitching. Young was a 1937 Hall of Famer for pitching with the Red Sox from 1901 to 1908. His artifact in the National Baseball Hall of Fame features his pipe and case. The annual award given to the best pitcher in each Major League was honorably named after him - the Cy Young Award.

Luis Aparicio, Venezuelan shortstop, follows. Nicknamed "Little Looey," he played only a short time for the Red Sox from 1971 to 1973 and was later a 1984 Hall of Fame Inductee for nine Gold Glove Awards leading the American League in nine seasons with stolen bases. Aparicio was also a 10-time All-Star. Holding the shortstops career record, Aparicio retired in 1973 with the most games played, double plays and assists.

Pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, AKA "Eck" was inducted into the 2004 Hall of Fame six years after he played on and off for the Red Sox, from 1978 to 1984 and 1998. He had a 20 win season and a 50 save season in his career, thus becoming the first pitcher in Major League history to have both.

Although not National Baseball Hall of Famers - and last but not least - include Roger Clemens, Fred Lynn, Normar Garciaparra, and Pedro Martinez also have made a lasting impression in Red Sox history.  Pitcher, Roger Clemens, nicknamed "The Rocket," played for the Red Sox from 1984 to 1996. He is only one of two pitchers that have thrown 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning Major League game.

Now playing for the Houston Astros, does the Red Sox want him back? Of course, but he might not want to give up his relationship with the Astros, winning seven Cy Young Awards. A Hall of Fame position may be just around the pitcherís plate for Clemens.

Fred Lynn, center fielder, played for the Red Sox from 1974 to 1980. This nine-time All Star was the first player to have won both the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season in 1975. With notable mention, although not as prestigious as the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Lynn was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002.

The popular shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, played for the Red Sox from 1994-2004. He was talented enough to put a stop to John Valentinís position as short in 1994. In his rookie year alone he had 30 home runs, batted in 98 runs, led the league in hits, and was second in extra-base hits.

An early career speed of 95 miles per hour led Pedro Martinez, to win three Cy Young awards. Although his speed has since then slowed down he is still a pitcher with a myriad of professional and dominating techniques. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Martinez played for the Red Sox from 1998 to 2004 and is only one of ten Red Sox pitchers that have had 100 or more wins.

There you have it - eleven reasons to celebrate the success of Bostonís best baseball heroes known as the all-time Red Sox Greats. Even if not everyone may be a Red Sox fan, thereís no denying it; we all bleed red.

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H. A. Brempell
This article was written by H.A. Brempell sponsored by http://www.stubhub.com. If youíre looking for baseball tickets to see your favorite team live in action, look no further than Stubhub.com where fans buy and sell the hottest sports tickets. Reproductions of this article are encouraged but must include a link back to http://www.stubhub.com.

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