Boston Red Sox Legends
Let the trip around the league continue. Last time we discussed the legends of the New York Yankees; today we will discuss their longtime lovable rivals in Boston, the Red Sox. Again, I will not include present players, as their legacies are still being made and there may or may not be Hall of Famers on this list. This will focus on unsung heroes of the franchise.
The son of Negro League legend Luis Tiant, Sr, Junior was someone the club could rely on when the team needed him. In 484 starts, Tiant went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA with 2,416 strikeouts and a 114 ERA+. He also had three 20 win seasons with Boston and had his best season in 1974, right before magic happened in 1975: 22-13, 2.92 ERA with 25 complete games and seven shutouts. In his lone World Series start, he lost to the Big Red Machine and couldn’t get things going. Tiant was viewed as a fan favorite in Boston for the eight seasons he was in Bean-town. His shimmy has been mimicked and even recognized in the MLB today thanks to the work of Johnny Cueto. Luis was able to make people look silly on other teams as well, playing with Cleveland and New York, as well as a handful of other teams. For his career in Boston, El Tianté went 122-81 with a 3.36 ERA. Tiant, who actually peaked at 30% of Hall of Fame ballot votes, is not in the hall despite the career stats that he has. Should he be considered for the Hall more or should he be left to the doldrums of the Hall of Very Good?
This fan favorite, like Tiant, never won a World Series, but played in a few. He was also known as a defensive wizard at his position, winning eight gold gloves in his career. He was able to collect over 2200 hits and was second in walks for the decade in the 1980s behind a certain Mr. Rickey Henderson. He played with five future Hall of Famers: Carl Yaztrzemski, Dennis Eckersley, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Wade Boggs, and was four votes shy himself on the 2010 Veterans’ Committee ballot. Dwight was able to hit, field, and run during his time in Bean-town. He was also one of a select few to play for one team and be known as a legend for his troubles. His consistency and obscured ability to hit home runs gave him the affectionate nickname of “Dewey”.
Smoky Joe Wood
Want to go to the way-back machine? No? Oh well, because we’re going anyway. In the early days of the game, you could not have seen a literal flash in the pan as much as Smoky Joe Wood. A great starter for his first three years, he had an explosion in 1912. Yes, it was deadball, where you focus more on defense than on offense. Pitching was the name of the game back then, with legends such as Pete Alexander and Rube Waddell and Walter Johnson bringing up names for greatest pitchers of all time here. Smoky did this in 1912: 34-5, the best mark in the modern era; 1.91 ERA, starting 38 games and completing 35 of them, with 10 being shutouts. After 1912, he crashed back down, winning 36 games while having a 2.08 ERA. Joe then fell off a cliff and was traded to Cleveland, where he became an interesting character in the fact he became a great outfield hitter. For his time in Boston, he went 117-57 with a 2.03 ERA.
Contributed by Dave Hummel