The Red Sox of Boston.
When you mention the most successful World Series team of the 21st century, fans of all ages will think back to the glory days of one of the most famous sports teams in the world.
Whether it was the “Impossible Dream” as the Summer of Love turned to fall in 1967 or Carlton Fisk’s home run against the Cincinnati Reds in 1975, the Red Sox have given America some of its most exciting sports moments.
Still, it’s been almost five years since the Crimson Hose were the best baseball team in the country. Now seems like a good time to look back on some of the best players in their long and storied history.
Thousands of people have worn one of the most recognizable uniforms on Earth, so you can imagine that it’s not easy to narrow down any list of all-time greats, no matter how big it is.
But these guys should be talked about.
In fact, they are very important to many people. The Red Sox Nation owes so much to these few great people that it seems only fair to make a list about how great they are.
After all, these are the people who have made it to the top. They are the ones who make kids want to pick up a bat and dream big.
I can tell you that writing about them is just as much fun as watching them. Let’s talk about what happened and think about the people who made it into this mini-Hall of Fame.
They have earned it!
So, grab a cup of coffee (or a Sam Adams if you really want to have fun) and let’s count down the top 25 best Boston Red Sox players of all time.
25. Tim Wakefield
Sixth in the Red Sox’s WAR rankings is no small feat, and Tim Wakefield’s 17-year run with his signature knuckleball style is one of the most impressive examples of staying power in modern baseball.
24. Mo Vaughn
I know what you’re thinking: Mo Vaughn’s name was famously mentioned in the Mitchell Report, which Senator George Mitchell released in 2007 to show how many athletes were using drugs to improve their performance.
You can talk about that, but the fact is that the 1995 American League MVP was a freak of nature even before the bad things that happened to him later in his career.
With the Red Sox, it’s important not to forget that he’s fifth in OPS.
23. Rico Petrocelli
Rico Petrocelli was a steady shortstop who helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 1967 and 1975. These were two of the most memorable nights in Red Sox history.
Modern statistics would probably put the Brooklyn native much higher on this list, but as a lifelong and loyal player, this 1997 Hall of Famer will be remembered fondly in the history of baseball.
22. Reggie Smith
Reggie Smith is probably better known for his time with the Cardinals and the Dodgers, but we shouldn’t forget how important he was when he was with the Red Sox.
Between 1966 and 1973, he played in two All-Star games and twice led the American League in doubles while he was based in Boston. He never did that again after he moved out west.
21. Manny Ramirez
Even though we’d love to remember Manny Ramirez’s partnership with David Ortiz, the least we can do for an all-time great is to look at his career on its own.
Every year he played for the Red Sox, he was on the All-Star team, and only twice did he not get a Silver Slugger, which is a prized award.
Even though he left the team on a bad note, the 2004 World Series MVP will always be remembered as a great player.
20. Dom Dimaggio
The fact that Dom DiMaggio is on this list shows how good he was.
Even though players like Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams got most of the attention in the 1940s, Joe Dimaggio Jr. earned his place in history, despite the obvious problems that come with being THAT guy’s brother.
His career average of 2.98 chances per game is the most ever for an outfielder in the American League. He has been an All-Star seven times.
19. Luis Tiant
Tiant’s rise to the Red Sox Hall of Fame is one of the most inspiring stories on this list, but it didn’t start until he was 30 and brought up to the big leagues.
This two-time All-Star was a key pitcher for them in the 1970s. He threw two complete games, one of which was a shutout, and got a no-decision in the much-talked-about Game 6 of the World Series.
A big-play guy.
18. Jimmie Fox
In 1938, Jimmie Fox hit 50 home runs and hit.349 at the plate.
When you consider that he won three MVP awards and set an American League record by walking six times, you can see how talented one of the sport’s early stars really was.
We can only guess where this big hitter would be if he had stayed with the Red Sox longer.
17. David Ortiz
It takes a lot of skill to be as powerful as David Ortiz and still get away with it. Most people on earth will never have that, which is a shame.
Luckily, ‘Big Papi’ did. And really does.
As a sign of respect from the Red Sox fans, his iconic number 34 jersey has been retired. He was a seven-time All-Star who hit 483 home runs and had an OPS of.956 during his successful run from 2003 to 2016.
16. Lefty Grove
Lefty Grove has a strong case for being thought of as one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Lefty’s best years were from 1925 to 1941, when he joined the Red Sox. Times have changed since then, but the Maryland-born player will always be remembered.
Grove was an All-Star in five of his eight seasons with the team. He was fifth in CG and tenth in IP.
15. Carlton Fisk
In 1972, he was the first man to be chosen unanimously as the American League Rookie of the Year. He became known as “The Commander.”
For many people, that would have been the best moment of their careers, but Fish’s famous home run in the 1975 World Series changed the way baseball games were shown on TV for good. Just look at it down below. We know you’ve seen it a thousand or more times, but come on, isn’t it amazing?
14. Jason Varitek
Jason Varitek has caught more no-hitters than anyone else in the history of Major League Baseball.
You might hear that a lot because of one of two things. First of all, it blows your mind. Two, it’s hard to figure out how important he was to the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins without him.
The three-time All-Star is a leader in every way, and he has caught more games than anyone else in franchise history (1,546).
13. Bobby Doerr
Bobby Doerr has always played for the Red Sox. Between 1937 and 1951, when he was in the military for a year, he hit.300 three times and drove in more than 100 runs six times.
Doerr was a big part of the legendary Teammates faction and made nine All-Star teams. His jersey number was also retired.
Doerr is one of the best baseball players of all time. He was a link between the time before World War II and what came after.
12. Dustin Pedroia
He is the only member of the 2007 World Series team who is still at the club. He has won four Golden Gloves and has power at the plate that you might not expect.
Pedroia is one of the few people to have won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. When he leaves Fenway Park, people will remember his best years even more fondly.
11. Nomar Garciaparra
It’s hard to say that anyone else lit up the league as much as Nomar Garciaparra did when he first played in 1997.
With 30 home runs and a batting average of.306 over a 30-game hitting streak, the All-Star shortstop set a record for a rookie in the major leagues.
Things may have slowed down toward the end, but when he left the Red Sox in 2004, he had hit 178 home runs and had an average of.323.
Has to be one for the Hall of Fame someday.
10. Joe Wood
Ok, it’s very unlikely that anyone on Earth was alive when “Smokey Joe” Wood was pitching for the Red Sox.
Still, the legend is something that our grandfathers’ grandfathers would have told their grandchildren, and hey, we’re romantics, aren’t we?
In the 1912 World Series, a 22-year-old pitcher beat Walter Johnson and became the first pitcher to strike out more than nine batters in a game.
9. Jim Rice
Jim Rice’s 16-year career with the Red Sox, which made him a real Hall of Famer, was full of highs that most of us regular people can only dream about.
The team captain from 1985 until he retired is still the only player to lead the league in HR, RBI, and triples in the same year. He made eight All-Star teams.
In 1983, he had 21 assists as a left fielder, which was the most anyone had done in just under 40 years. Overall, he had 137 assists.
In his honour, the number 14 jersey was taken off the field, and when you look at the numbers, you have to agree that it was the right choice.
8. Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs is one of the best contact hitters of all time. Most Red Sox fans already know a lot about him.
Still, who gets tired of talking about how great the moustache master was?
Boggs was an All-Star eight times and pitched 2.1 innings at the Major League level. He was second in Red Sox history for AVG and third for OBP.
So good that it doesn’t matter if he goes to the Yankees. Well, anyway, too much.
7. Dwight Evans
During his almost 20-year career in Boston, Dwight Evans had a batting average of.272, hit 379 home runs, and won two Silver Sluggers and eight Golden Gloves.
That’s a lot of stuff on the mantle.
He has a WAR of 66.5, which puts him among the best players in baseball history.
6. Tris Speaker
Tris Speaker won the World Series twice between 1907 and 1915. His work helped the Red Sox build a strong foundation for the future.
Before home run fences, the strong hitter would often hit doubles and more. In 1912, he was named MVP with an OBP of 4.64.
Even though this was in a different time for the sport, those are some crazy numbers.
5. Cy Young
Cy Young is another player who can’t be forgotten just because he played a long time ago. He was the first person to pitch a perfect game in the American League.
That’s how much we owe him.
Even though he joined the Red Sox when he was 34, the Ohio native is tied for first all-time with 38 shutouts, and he had a 2.00 ERA in the last part of his career with the Red Sox.
In many ways, the game was harder back then because they didn’t have good equipment or modern ways to train.
He deserves the most respect because of this.
4. Pedro Martinez
It’s hard to think of a player in Red Sox history who was more exciting.
One of the best power pitchers in baseball history, his 1999 and 2000 seasons may have been the best in the history of the Major League.
In the 1999 AL Championship Series, he pitched seven scoreless innings, which was the Yankees’ only loss that postseason. At the turn of the century, he had a mind-bogglingly good ERA of 1.174.
His personality was so exciting that it’s a shame he didn’t stay in Boston longer.
3. Roger Clemens
“Rocket” has won a record-setting SEVEN Cy Young Awards, and between 1984 and 1996, he had the same number of shutouts as Cy Young himself: 38.
Using WAR, Clemens’s record of 81.0 makes him the best pitcher in Red Sox history.
You did read that correctly. Eighty-one.
Everything that Clemens did at Fenway Park shouldn’t be ruined by his move to the Yankees. As a five-time All-Star, no one else will ever wear the number 21 because of how well he played.
Those numbers don’t make it easy to blame them.
2. Carl Yastrzemski
With a 23-year career with the Red Sox, Carl Yastrzemski can definitely say that he is the best Red Sox player on the planet right now.
The team’s all-time leader in RBIs, hits, runs, and games played, among other things, his only regret is that he never played with Roger Clemens.
He was an All-Star 18 times, and he was the first Red Sox player to reach 3,000 hits. In 1967, he set a record that has never been beaten.
In fact, he won the AL MVP award and the Triple Crown. It’s still hard to understand.
1. Ted Williams
Can you imagine a world where “The Splendid Sprinter” didn’t have to serve in the military and lose three years of his career?
Ted Williams was the best hitter in the history of the team. He was an All-Star nineteen times, won the AL batting title six times, and won the Triple Crown twice.
Even though he was first in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, and BB, those numbers don’t show how great he was.
Thank you, Ted, from the Red Sox Nation.