Champions on Display MLB

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Top Five Red Sox Players to Wear Number Six

The Number 6 went out of circulation since 2000, when Gary Gaetti wore it. It was retired in 2008, and rightly so, for a man who may have made the Hall if World War Two had taken three prime years away from him.

5. Vic Wertz (1959-61) - Vic Wertz is best known for "The Catch", the famous play by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series. Wertz hit the deep fly in Game One that Mays caught on a dead run over his shoulder. Long after that, Wertz came to Boston via a trade with the Cleveland Indians in December of 1958. The Sox sent Jimmy Piersall to Cleveland for Wertz and center-fielder Gary Geiger. He played first base all three years, splitting time each season with one or two other players. But in 1960 he was the primary first baseman and turned in his best season in Boston. That year he hit 19 homeruns with 103 RBI while putting up a .796 OPS. Those 103 RBI were third best in the AL that year. And his HR total and OPS placed him just outside the top 10 in the AL for both stats. That earned him 14th place in the MVP voting that year. He was pushed out at first during the '61 season by Pete Runnels. The Sox placed Wertz on waivers late in the season and he was taken by the Tigers.

After he retired, Wertz raised millions for charitable causes like the Special Olympics and the Boys and Girls Clubs. He passed away in 1983.

4. Bill Buckner (1985-87) - We've all agreed to forget about the '86 Series, right? Three titles in 10 years have a way of healing old wounds. Plus, you can just get lost in those eyebrows... So let's look back at Buckner's career with a less jaundiced eye.

Buckner came to Boston in May of 1984 in a trade that sent Mike Brumley and Dennis Eckersley to the Cubs*. This was to solidify first base, which at that time was being manned primarily by Eddie Jurak**. And what got lost in the all the drama after the 1986 season is that Buckner helped put the team in a position to make it to the Series in the first place.

It was 1985 that was his best year in Boston, though. He played all 162 games. His .299 batting average was 8th best in the AL. His 201 hits were third best. His 46 doubles put him behind only Don Mattingly in that category. He knocked in 110 runs for 6th place in the AL. And his glove was solid too. His Range Factor per game at first was 9.68, 4th best in the AL. And yet he didn't make it to the All-Star game that year.

After the 1986 season, Buckner came back in 1987 but the mood had gotten ugly. He was constantly heckled, both by the hometown fans and on the road. In the end it was too much and the Sox released him that July. Thankfully, Boston fans got a chance to make things right in 2008 when Buckner threw out the first pitch at the home opener. They gave him a four-minute standing ovation. All's well that ends well.

3. Mickey Vernon (1956-57) - Vernon came to the Sox on the tail-end of a 20-season career through a trade with the Washington Senators. But he delivered two solid seasons for Boston while covering first base. In 1956, at the age of 38, he batted .310 with an OPS of .914 and made the All-Star game. In 1956 he was Top 10 in the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and doubles. At the end of the 1957 season the Sox placed Vernon on waivers.

He went on to play three more years. In 1960, his last season, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the first base coach but was activated during the September call-ups. That year he got the World Series title that had eluded him his entire career.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Larry Lucchino Gets the Better of Randy Levine

Well, I guess Spring Training was a little too quiet. So Larry Lucchino decided to stir things up a little bit by taking a couple of verbal shots at the Yankees

"We’re very different animals,'' the Red Sox CEO said of the Sox and Yanks. "I’m proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together."


The Yankees, said Lucchino, "are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. And I can’t say that I wish them well, but I think that we’ve taken a different approach."

Heh heh heh.

It should be noted here that Lucchino, for once, is 100% right. The Red Sox and the Yankees have become two very different animals. With the changes to the CBA, how the draft now works with regards to bonuses, the enhanced value of draft picks and even the rules extending to international free agents, the Red Sox have adapted and the Yankees have not.

The Red Sox have been judicious in the free agent signings, making sure not to lock in for too many years. They have drafted smartly and used draft picks to restock the system. The Yankees have done the opposite. They have signed expensive free-agents to long-term deals and given up draft picks for the privilege of doing so. The smartest thing the Yankees have done in months is sign Gardner to that four-year, $52M deal. And that's about it. Even the signing of Masahiro Tanaka is a gamble thanks to the fat contract he was handed.

The result is that the Red Sox have won three World Series in the past 10 years to one for the Yankees. And it looks a lot more likely that the Sox will win a fourth before the Yankees win their second. That's just the truth of it.

So after Lucchino's broadside, Levine responded in kind:

“I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees," Levine said. "But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place."


"[Boston general manager] Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series," continued Levine, "but I’m confident [Yankee GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi] and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year."

Now, I will give Levine credit for the Valentine dig at Lucchino. Lucchino was the one who insisted on and got Bobby V here, and then ludicrously defended him the whole season. He went so far as to say that Valentine had done "a good job" in August of 2012. At that point the Sox were 55-57. So Levine isn't off-base on that statement.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jack's Take: Gardner Gives Yankees Important Spark

Aviv's note: My son Jack has taken a strong interest in sports and writing (I have no clue where he gets that). He decided to write something about Brett Gardner's signing and asked to post it. Jack is 7 years old and in second grade, and because writing is a learned skill that requires a great deal of bravery to publish to the world, I decided to grant his request. Please encourage the effort, even if you disagree with the sentiments or strategy.

The Yankees are really in a bad situation with a very injury prone lineup and they really needed a boost and they got it signing Brett Gardner to a four year $52 million dollar contract.

So now they can have more of a chance to get extra base hits and stolen bases when the Yankees need them. And he's not injury prone. But the batting average could use improvement.

I say they should bat him in the middle of the order so they have room for power at the bottom of the order and good average at the top and the middle you need some speed and clutch hits most of the time.

Yankees Lock Up Gardner

Well, this is certainly a very un-Yankee-like move.

How many times had we heard that the New York Yankees do not negotiate new contracts until the existing contract expires?

They never offered a contract extension to Derek Jeter prior to the completion of his contracts. Never did it with Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada.

It just wasn't the Yankee way.

Well, it is now.

On Sunday, the Yankees and left fielder Brett Gardner agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract with a one-year option for $12.5 million, a deal that is a win-win for both sides. The contract begins in the 2015 season, locking up the speedy, 30-year-old outfielder through his prime years.

Gardner has 52 million reasons to celebrate.

This is the type of forward-thinking, financially prudent move that the Yankees have been lacking.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Red Sox Sign Chris Capuano to One-Year Deal

I am not going to pretend that I am thrilled about this news. As I said in my last post, I was much more interested in bringing Jeff Neimann into camp. Nevertheless, Capuano is coming to Boston on a one-year, incentive-laden deal.

The Red Sox have signed lefthander Chris Capuano to a one-year contract worth $2.25 million. An announcement is expected later today or on Friday.

The deal includes incentives worth a possible $2.75 million. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington indicated that the team was close to a move that would bolster its pitching depth.

This would be said move. Capuano went 4-7 last year with a 4.26 ERA. He threw 105.2 innings in 20 starts (24 appearances overall). His WHIP was 1.410. None of that gives me confidence.

And this also worries me. There is a stat called Runs Allowed per Nine Innings, or RA9. By itself, it is simply ERA with unearned runs included. Capuano's RA9 for 2013 was 4.85. There is another stat called RA9avg. This is an estimate of what an average pitcher would have done in these games with everything else being equal. The RA9avg for the average pitcher is 3.70. Which means Capuano, by this metric, was a full run worse per nine innings than an average pitcher in his position.

Not good.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Derek Jeter And The Art Of Saying Nothing

On Wednesday I learned that John Breen had died.

Many people do not know who Breen was, but for anyone who studied journalism at UConn the man is a legend.

Professor, advisor, mentor and friend, Breen molded generations of journalists, teaching them to go about their profession with grit and dogged curiosity.

Breen's passing naturally had me thinking back to my days at UConn in the early 1990s and all that I learned. One of the first and most basic lessons I learned was that when a journalist covers a meeting or a press conference, the news is not that there was a meeting or press conference. Rather, the news is what is said or done at that event.

Pity the poor journalists who have to cover Derek Jeter.

Jeter is the master of speaking without saying anything of substance.

Wednesday, a week after announcing on Facebook that 2014 is going to be his final season, the New York Yankees shortstop met the media for the first time.

And said absolutely nothing of substance.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hustle, It's Just Basic

Kevin Long's criticism is spot on.

Long gave an interview that was published in Sunday's New York Daily News in which he discussed how hard Robinson Cano has worked to become an elite ballplayer.

But Long also criticized Cano for not running hard to first on routine grounders.

It's a fair criticism. It's accurate. And it's deserved.

Can We Make The Jon Lester Extension Happen Already?

Every team goes into a new season with some question marks. Boston is just like every other team. As Adam Kaufman over at points out, there are questions about Boston's offensive firepower in 2014. There is the big question about how the Sox will address the loss of Ryan Dempster before the season even begins.

But there is one question that could be resolved right away. And that is the question about keeping Jon Lester in Boston.

He's a free agent next year. He is also one of the better left-handed pitchers in the game. So why is Boston dragging their heels on extending him with a long-term deal? Especially when he wants to stay here?
"You guys have probably figured me out by now, I would hope. I usually don't say things I don't mean. So I mean it: I want to stay here," Lester said, repeating a stance he took last month. "This is all I've known. I don't like change. I don't like going into new places that I have to learn.
He has said he'd give the proverbial "home-town discount" to the sign for a long-term deal. So I cannot figure out why the hell the Sox haven't moved on this.

The only possible reasons would be his age or his performance. The first seems a non-issue; Lester just turned 30 so that is three full seasons left in the 26-32 age range considered the "prime years" for an athlete. As for his performance, his comparables at this stage in his career include pitchers like Kevin Millwood, Tim Hudson and Andy Pettitte. Unless the 2012 season is scaring off the Boston brass. And if it is, that would be idiotic.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ryan Dempster Not Playing in 2014 for Red Sox. What Does it Mean for Boston?

A bit of shocking news out of Fort Meyers today. Ryan Dempster is not going to play in 2014. He is citing both physical and personal reasons for the decision.
"I had an incredible run, a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships, great friendships," Dempster said in a surprise announcement one day before the first formal spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. "I'm totally comfortable with it. I'm at peace with my decision."
Dempster has not ruled out playing in 2015. But with the way he and others are talking, this sounds more like a retirement than a step back. To that end, Dempster is going on the restricted list. This has the effect of sidelining Dempster for the year. But it also frees up his $13.25M owed to him this year.

Of course it goes without saying that Boston fans want Dempster to do what he needs to do. And if he needs to step away and be with his family, that sounds to me like a man who has his life priorities in order. Plus, you want nothing but the best for a man who wears a suit that looks as good as that one.

That said ... what does this all mean for the Red Sox?

First, this is why you maintain pitching in depth. With Dempster leaving the team, Boston has a couple of arms they can bring up. Allen Webster could be the first name considered. He did pitch in Boston last year, starting seven games and going 1-2 in the process. Dempster started 29 games for Boston last year - asking that of Webster could be asking a lot. But with a healthy starting five thus far, Webster wouldn't be expected to pitch 29 games. Brandon Workman could be another choice - he started three games in July and went 1-1. He has fifth starter potential, but is valuable in the bullpen so I can't see Boston pulling him out.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Preparing For Life After Jeter -- Sign Drew Now

Wednesday's announcement has sunk in and Derek Jeter's decision is becoming reality.

We know this will be Jeter's final season. There will be celebrations and a few more memorable moments from the Yankees shortstops.

And if all goes well, there will enough wins to at least be in the playoff hunt.

And once the final out of the season is recorded, one era will end and life without Derek Jeter will begin.

While that is still some seven months away, the planning for the post-Jeter era needs to begin now.

Finding a successor for Jeter will not be easy. Then again, replacing a legendary player never is.

Simply put, there is no one who can do what the Captain has done. If there was, Jeter probably wouldn't be considered an all-time great.

Still Brian Cashman and the Yankees hierarchy are trusted with moving the Yankees forward.

In an ideal world, the Yankees would have a prospect ready to step in a take over, like Mickey Mantle did with Joe DiMaggio.

But the Yankees do not have that ideal scenario. Their minor league system is far from ideal.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Could We Hold Off on the Derek Jeter Tongue-bath For a Moment?

Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankee ever.

Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop ever.

Derek Jeter is the greatest baseball player of all time.

Lord Almighty, make it stop. Please, make it stop.

Let me say this right now. Jeter is a great player. A definite Hall-of-Fame inductee. Possibly the best-hitting shortstop of all-time.

But he is not - not - the best Yankee ever, the best shortstop ever or the best player of all time. He deserves tons of respect and accolades for his career. But when people begin to attach superlatives over and over and over again that aren't accurate, it stokes a backlash that Jeter really doesn't deserve.

It makes people who don't root for the Yankees want to pull their hair out. It makes us dread the entire 2014 season. Not because of what Jeter can do mind you. No, we dread the incessant sucking-up and over-the-top statements we'll hear all year. Fox Sports will be unbearable. I can't ever imagine how the YES Network will function; Michael Kay will probably just cry for entire broadcasts, the sobbing occasionally punctuated by him incoherently mumbling "THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!" John Sterling is probably wandering the Bronx right now, bursting into places and screaming "El Capitaine!" at anyone who will listen.

This may, or may not, be John Sterling yelling at people.

Thank God I have whisky in the cabinet.

Anyway, let's address those three statements at the top of the piece. All stats from the excellent and awesome website

Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankee ever
  1. Babe Ruth: 142.7
  2. Lou Gehrig: 112.5
  3. Mickey Mantle: 109.7
  4. Joe DiMaggio: 78.3
  5. Derek Jeter: 71.6

Adjusted Batting Wins
  1. Babe Ruth: 116.2
  2. Lou Gehrig: 89.9
  3. Mickey Mantle: 85.2
  4. Joe DiMaggio: 49.4
  5. Charlie Keller: 28.8
  6. Bernie Williams: 28.5
  7. Alex Rodriguez: 27.8
  8. Derek Jeter: 26.1

Numbers don't lie, people. If you are talking about the greatest Yankees, you start with Ruth. After him comes the triumvirate of Gehrig, Mantle and DiMaggio. You can mix and match those guys although I personally think that Gehrig is pretty much ensconced at the second spot.

At that point Jeter comes into play. Being the fifth best Yankee of all-time is pretty damned amazing, considering the players that have been there. There is no need to inflate him and push him higher. It just looks ridiculous.

Although...I'd even place him sixth. Someone retired last year by the name of Mariano Rivera. First all-time on the Yankees in WAR for pitchers (56.6), second in career ERA (2.21) and Adjusted Pitching Wins (32.5), and the best career WHIP of any pitcher to wear a Yankees uniform (1.00). Oh, and 652 career saves, the best ever. It's kind of hard to leave Rivera out of the top five Yankees of all-time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Final Voyage For Captain Jeter

As I sat down to dinner with my son Jack Wednesday night, I asked him what he thought about Derek Jeter's announcement that 2014 would be his final season.

"I feel sad," he said.

Leave it to a 7-year-old boy to simply state what not only every New York Yankee fan feels, but what nearly all baseball fans are feeling.

Jeter has finally hit that moment, to paraphrase the scene from "Moneyball," when he's being told he can't play anymore.

Might They Call Him Masahiro "Bleeping" Tanaka One Day?

I strongly detest the introductory press conference.

Wait. That doesn't work. "Strongly detest" isn't adequate enough.

I bleeping hate the introductory press conference.

There, that's better. Seriously, is there anything more mind-numbing than watching a player who made his mark somewhere else throw out a bunch of cliches and platitudes to reporters hungry for a story in the dead of winter.

It's not as if we don't already know all the answers. "I'm honored to play for this historic franchise and in this amazing city." I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for the Yankees." "Wearing the Pinstripes is a special feeling." "I want the opportunity to win year in and year out."

We all know what they mean is, "the Yankees were willing to pay me the most."

But Tuesday's Mashiro Tanaka presser was a little different.

Associated Press

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's Next For A-Rod?

So reality finally has hit Alex Rodriguez, who on Friday dropped all the lawsuits, said he will not attend Yankees spring training, and ended this long running farce.

Alex Rodriguez has accepted ruling of an independent, impartial arbitrator and will miss the entire 2014 season for violating the Major League Baseball Joint Drug Agreement and obstructing baseball's investigation into Biogenesis.

It's the first smart decision A-Rod has made since, since ... well, let's just say a long, long time.

Finally, everyone can move on. The Yankees, Major League Baseball, the players union, the players, and even Rodriguez himself.

The Biogenesis sage is over, even if the PED era clearly isn't.

So what's next for A-Rod?

Monday, February 10, 2014

MLB Network Stirring It Up

MLB Network is trying to determine the face of baseball and Round 2 hits at the greatest rivalry in sports.

That right, it's Sox vs. Stipes.

David Ortiz vs. Derek Jeter, but really, is this one even a contest?
This one should be interesting, but c'mon, Jeter will take this.

Five things to watch in Spring Training for the Sox

So the trucks arrived in Florida and 2014 Spring Training has begun for Boston. While we deal with all this snow up here they have to avoid injuries and sunburn. Coming off of a championship season with that squad mostly intact, the Sox haven't had to do a lot of trading or signing to bolster the roster. But here are five things to keep an eye on as we head towards Opening Day.

1. What will happen at third base? The Red Sox are all about depth, ensuring that they have backups at every position to ensure that an injury or a bad run of play doesn't put them in a hole. But third base has emerged as a red flag.

Will Middlebrooks has a lot of potential. But he took a step back last year. And it was big enough that he was benched in the post-season. He saw large drops in his on base percentage and OPS. His strikeouts increased by over a third. And while his glove was roughly the same, he went from a 1.2 WAR in 2012 to a -.1 in 2013. Not what you want to see in a sophomore season.

If the Sox sign Stephen Drew (and that is still a big "if") and Middlebrooks can't get it done, then the Sox can slide Bogaerts to third. They'll still be thin but the positions will be covered. But, if the Sox don't sign Drew and Middlebrooks doesn't turn it around...the Sox are in trouble.

They don't have anyone behind Bogaerts on the depth chart currently. If they slide him to third then shortstop is totally empty. And if he stays at short then the Sox have to go with Middlebrooks at third until and unless they sign someone else. Yes, Garin Cecchini is in the wings and looks to be a solid 3B prospect but he still has at least a year to go. And they do have Brock Holt but he is a utility-level player, not a starter.

Boston needs Middlebrooks to step up and be the player he can be. He has the tools and the talent. He just has to get his head straight and put it all together.

2. Who will start in center field? A large contingent of Boston fans (and I am one of them) want to see Jackie Bradley, Jr. starting in center field. But with the one-year signing of Grady Sizemore, things could get interesting in Ellsbury's old grounds.

Is Grady Sizemore healthy? That is the single biggest question. Because if he is and he can play to even 80% of his old level, you would be really hard-pressed to have him on the bench. But that is a really big ask of someone who hasn't played a competitive game in two years. Unless you get that kind of production from Sizemore, it would be crazy to not give JBJ the chance to be the starting center fielder. If he starts and you can even get 60% of the 2005-2008 Sizemore as a super-sub, Boston will be in great shape in the outfield.

3. How will the new catcher work out? Pierzynski is the kind of player you love to hate when he is on any other team but yours. Kind of like Brad Marchand with the Bruins. I have no concerns about him as a player or with the bat. He should at least provide the same level of production as Salty did last year. The question is how will the pitching staff respond to him? Will he have the same kind of communication with the staff as Salty did. If that happens then it'll be smooth sailing. But it can take time to build that kind of communication. If there are clashes and misunderstandings between A.J. and the pitchers that could lead to some problems during the season.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Top Five Red Sox Players to Wear Number Five

The number '5' is currently worn by Jonny Gomes. He did it proud last year with some timely hitting when it counted. While the '5' hasn't been the most prestigious number in Boston history, it has represented its share of All-Star talent.

5. Pinky Higgins (1937-38) - Michael Franklin "Pinky" Higgins came to the Sox in 1936 via a trade with the Philadelphia A's. Higgins manned third base for the next two seasons in a solid if unspectacular fashion. He averaged a .303 BA with an .802 OPS along with 106 RBI per season over those two years. His glove was more of a liability, as he was second in errors at third both years. After the 1938 season he went to the Tigers in a forgettable trade.

Where Higgins made his mark in Boston was as a manager. "Mark" being a relative term. Over his eight years as manager the Sox never finished higher than third. His record with Boston was 560-556. But he was instrumental in the pervasive racism that influenced Boston's front office during that time. Along with Joe Cronin and Tom Yawkey, Higgins was responsible for Boston not signing players like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Billy Williams. Also known as three Hall of Fame players Boston would have had on their team if not for the three racist idiots who ran the team at the time.

4. Tony Perez (1980-82) - It's odd to have a Hall of Famer to be in fourth. But by the time Perez came to Boston, he was on the tail end of his impressive career. He signed as a free agent with the Sox in November of 1979 and proceeded to have one last great year.

In 1980, at the age of 38, Perez hit 25 home runs (7th best in the AL) and racked up 105 RBI (8th best). He also had a .786 OPS (OPS+ 108). Not a world-beating season, but it was good enough to get 22nd in the MVP voting that year. After playing 151 games in 1980 Perez was limited to 153 games over the next two seasons and the Sox let him go.

3. George Scott (1966-71, 79) - Boomer played first for the Red Sox from 1966-71. He was then traded to the Brewers after the '71 season, before being traded back to the Sox in 1976 for Cecil Cooper. This was a big mistake, because Boomer wasn’t the Boomer of old by then. But in his heyday he could play. He was an All-Star in 1966 and third in Rookie of the Year voting. He finished Top 30 in MVP voting in 1967 and 1971. He won three Gold Gloves wearing the '5', in 1967-68 and 1971.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yankees Need Another Reliever

With less than two weeks remaining until pitchers and catchers report, marking the official start of spring train, Brian Cashman and the Yankee brain trust still have some work to.

Pretty amazing considering the Yankees have already spent about a half-billion dollars addressing shortcomings in the lineup and rotation, while also trying to fix the issues caused by the losses of Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez.

But despite this massive spending spree, they Yankees have done little to help their bullpen -- a unit in transition because of the retirement of The Great Mariano Rivera and the free-agent departures of Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain.

So far, the Yankees have made exactly one move to bolster the bullpen, giving a two-year, $7 million deal to left-hander Matt Thornton, who was so indispensable for the Red Sox last year that they left him off their postseason roster.

All that means that is that what had been a strength for the Yankees last season is now a major question mark.

And it also means that between now and Opening Day, the Yankees must find another veteran arm to add leadership and stability to the unit.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Top Five Red Sox Players to Wear Number Four

You'll no longer see the '4' on a player's back, since it was retired in 1984 to honor Joe Cronin (one guess on who's first in this list). But some very good players have worn this number besides Cronin, including a Silver Slugger and an All-American college halfback who was also an AL MVP.

5. Butch Hobson (1976-80) - The first guy I ever saw play third base for the Red Sox. He was an average player who had one above-average year in 1977 when he finished 23rd in the MVP voting thanks to 30 HRs and 112 RBI. Ignored by the voters were his league-leading 162 strikeouts. And the 23 errors he committed at third. All told, Hobson committed 91 errors at third from 1977-79, which has to be some kind of record. But he had that one good year at the plate and that's enough to earn the fifth spot. He was traded in December of 1980 along with Rick Burleson to the Angels for the #3 guy on this list. You younger readers may remember Hobson as the exceedingly mediocre manager of the Red Sox from 1992-94.

4. Tommy Harper (1972-74) - Harper came to the Sox in a massive 10-man with the Brewers after the 1971 season. In Tommy's three years with the Sox he was Top 30 in MVP voting twice (1972-73). He led the AL with 54 stolen bases in 1973 and was Top 10 in stolen bases all three years he spent in Boston. He was third in runs scored in the AL in 1972 and seventh in 1973. He was also voted the Red Sox MVP in 1973. Considered the fastest player in Red Sox history, although Jacoby Ellsbury definitely gave Harper a run for that honor.

3. Carney Lansford (1981-82) - Traded to the Sox in December of 1980 in a deal that sent Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson to the Angels, Lansford ripped it up his two years in Boston. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 1981 for third base. He batted .336 to lead the AL in batting average in 1981. That same year he was Top 10 in OBP, Runs, Hits, Doubles and Singles. He was 6th that year in the AL MVP voting. Yet he didn't make the All-Star Team, with Buddy Bell inexplicably being voted as the reserve third baseman behind George Brett. Complete miscarriage of justice. Following the 1982 season he was traded to Oakland to make way for Wade Boggs. I always thought they at least could have tried to play Carney somewhere else and keep them both.