The All-Time Red Sox (a draft book chapter)
Who would be selected for a mythical All-Time Red Sox dream team roster? Who would be the starters and who the backups? Who gets snubbed, not quite good enough to make the squad? And how have other authors, as well as fan surveys and the like, answered this fun question throughout the years?
This is the second of what will be many postings to Seamheads that summarize draft book chapters in my forthcoming book on baseball “All-Time Teams” (book title TBD.) As I update/write each chapter, I will post an abstract here, with a link to the full draft chapter as a PDF file hosted at my personal website. I am doing this in part to get comments and feedback as I continue the writing process. My intention is to post another team’s chapter every few weeks. As I started with the Yankees, it seems appropriate that the next team I posted be their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. To read the entire draft chapter for the Red Sox, please see the PDF file here. You can also see the index web page for these draft chapters, and also read the draft of the book introduction (as PDF) here.
(These first two paragraphs are the chapter’s introductory paragraphs, as written…)
The Red Sox history is rich with talent, while lacking in recent post-season success until The Curse was dispelled in 2004. The franchise began in 1901, the year the American League was born. It didn’t always carry the nickname “Red Sox”, variously using Americans, Somersets, and Pilgrims during its first few seasons. All told they’ve managed to capture twelve pennants and seven World Series titles.
As longtime Fenway hopefuls would expect, this team is loaded with power and high-average hitters, but pretty thin on speed. The pitching staff has two great aces, but the bullpen is less impressive than many other long-time franchises.
I will now list my selections for starter and backup at each position, including six outfielders (without separation by RF/CF/LF), and also including 10 pitchers (any combination of up to 8 starters and up to 4 relievers). For my write-ups on why I chose each player, and for the many other players I considered at each position, see the full draft chapter for this team.
- 1B: Carl Yastrzemski, Jimmie Foxx
- 2B: Bobby Doerr, Bill Goodman
- 3B: Wade Boggs, Johnny Pesky
- SS: Rico Petrocelli, Nomar Garciaparra
- C: Carlton Fisk, Jason Varitek
- OF: Ted Williams, Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Tris Speaker, Dom DiMaggio, Harry Hooper
- SP: Roger Clemens, Cy Young, Pedro Martinez, Mel Parnell, Luis Tiant, Lefty Grove, Smokey Joe Wood, Tim Wakefield
- RP: Bob Stanley, Jonathan Papelbon
There were some tough decisions, and lots of good players who didn’t make this roster, so see the full draft chapter for details. And for each team I am picking one “extra” player, the one who I felt was most deserving amongst those who were not selected as a starter, backup, or amongst the ten pitchers. Who do you think it should be for the Red Sox?
So assuming no DH, one reasonable starting lineup might be:
- Wade Boggs 3B
- Bobby Doerr 2B
- Carl Yastrzemski 1B
- Ted Williams OF
- Jim Rice OF
- Dwight Evans OF
- Carlton Fisk C
- Rico Petrocelli SS
- Roger Clemens SP
In the full draft chapter I then discuss the selections from other authors and fan surveys, including:
- 1958: Sport magazine, February issue
- 1969: The Sporting News fan poll
- 1982 Fan Vote, as reported in The Boston Red Sox Fan Book, by David S. Neft, Michael L. Neft, Bob Carroll, and Richard M. Cohen
- 1990: â€œAll-Time All-Star Teamsâ€, The Baseball Research Journal
- 1992: The All-Time All-Star Baseball Book, Nick Acocella, and Donald Dewey
- 1995: Baseball Ratings by Charles S. Faber
- 2000 Red Sox Century, by Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson
- 2001 Fan Ballots in Boston Globe Vote, as reported in The Boston Red Sox Fan Book, by David S. Neft, Michael L. Neft, Bob Carroll, and Richard M. Cohen
- 2003: Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups, by Rob Neyer
- 2004 The Red Sox Century, by Alan Ross
- 2004 Few and Chosen: Defining Red Sox Greatness Across the Eras, by Johnny Pesky with Phil Pepe
- 2006: The Team By Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, by Dennis Purdy (not an all-time team per se, but his list of “significant players”)
Do you know of any books or fan surveys that I’ve missed here? Please let me know in the comments to this posting.
Finally, as part of this project I am determining the all-time team that would be determined by Bill James’ innovativeÂ Win Shares system. To see those results, see the full draft chapter for this team.
Again, your comments and feedback on the draft chapter are very much appreciated, as I hope to get the book published in the next year or so.