On Wednesday afternoon in Oakland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit career home run number 400, making him the 49th player in MLB history to reach this milestone. It was also his 342nd home run in a Boston uniform, which ranks him fifth all-time in team history behind Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382), and Dwight Evans (379). “Big Papi” also ranks second behind Manny Ramirez in number of at-bats per home run at 14.7, just ahead of Jimmie Foxx and Williams.
NORTON, MA — Golfers and Red Sox fans alike will have a unique opportunity to test their short games at historic Fenway Park later this month thanks to a “Chipping in for the Red Sox Foundation” event that will help kick off the Deutsche Bank Championship, the PGA TOUR Playoffs event being held 30 August through 05 September at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts.
On Monday, 29 August, three lucky Grand Prize raffle winners will have the chance to join Red Sox legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice and step up to home plate at Fenway to chip a golf ball into the outfield. Anyone hitting a one-foot-diameter target in center field will win a $5,000 prize and the first to hit the target will generate a $50,000 donation to the Red Sox Foundation in the winner’s name.
Golfers and Red Sox fans hoping to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can purchase raffle tickets for $25 each at http://www.redsox.com/golf. Raffle tickets will be on sale 05 August through 25 August, and the drawing is open to Massachusetts residents 18 and older. In addition, each raffle ticket purchased will include a ticket to the Deutsche Bank Championship’s Red Sox Legends & Friends Pro-Am, held Tuesday, 02 September at TPC Boston.
A limited number of tickets will be sold, and the drawing will be held 25 August at noon ET.
“We’re looking forward to once again starting Deutsche Bank Championship week with a fun and unique event that combines New England golf fans’ passion for golf and the Red Sox,” said Eric Baldwin, Championship Director of the Deutsche Bank Championship. “Moreover, we’re excited for the opportunity to drive charitable dollars to the Red Sox Foundation, as supporting local charities is a big part of what we do at the Championship.”
In addition to the three Grand Prizes to golf at Fenway, other raffle prizes include: a Red Sox Destinations Spring Training package; a package that includes four Green Monster tickets to an April 2012 Red Sox game, an opportunity to watch batting practice and a personalized scoreboard message; five 30-minute golf lessons at the Golf Town Academy, located at each of the 6 Golf Town stores in Massachusetts; a package that includes four grandstand tickets to a 2012 Red Sox game, an opportunity to watch batting practice and a personalized scoreboard message; and a Red Sox home jersey signed by Rice.
All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Red Sox Foundation’s award-winning programs, including Red Sox Scholars, RBI youth baseball and softball and the Red Sox Foundation and MGH Home Base Program.
Aside from the three raffle winners, Rice, a Red Sox front-office executive and two randomly drawn participants from the Red Sox Legends & Friends Pro-Am will chip golf balls during the event, increasing the odds that someone will hit the target and secure a $50,000 donation to the Red Sox Foundation.
“The Red Sox Foundation is excited to partner with the Deutsche Bank Championship in bringing this unique golf moment to Fenway Park,” said Meg Vaillancourt, the Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation. “Red Sox Nation will be rooting hard for Hall of Famer Jim Rice and the raffle winners to hit the perfect chip shot. A $50,000 donation would go a long way to supporting our team charity’s Red Sox Scholars and RBI programs and our community’s wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and combat stress disorders.”
The event is part of the Deutsche Bank Red Sox & Friends Pro-Am draw party at Fenway Park, the first in a series of great events highlighting Deutsche Bank Championship week. The Deutsche Bank Championship opens on Tuesday, 30 August with practice and pro-am events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Competition rounds begin Friday, 03 September and run through Labor Day Monday, 06 September, giving the Deutsche Bank Championship the only scheduled Monday finish on the PGA TOUR. The Championship features the top 100 players in this year’s PGA TOUR FedExCup standings.
About Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank is a leading global investment bank with a substantial private clients franchise. Its businesses are mutually reinforcing. A leader in Germany and Europe, the bank is continuously growing in North America, Asia and key emerging markets. With more than 100,000 employees in 73 countries, Deutsche Bank competes to be the leading global provider of financial solutions, creating lasting value for its clients, shareholders, people and the communities in which it operates. For more, visit http://www.db.com.
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at http://www.imgworld.com.
About the Red Sox Foundation
The official team charity of the Boston Red Sox, the Red Sox Foundation is committed to using the power of Red Sox Nation to support community partnerships that will improve the lives of children, adults and families across New England. The Foundation’s efforts are primarily focused on four cornerstone programs and the new Home Base Program. A 501c3 nonprofit, the Red Sox Foundation raises most of its funds through special events with Red Sox owners, players and their wives, donations and fundraising activities. Founded and initially funded by Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, President/CEO Larry Lucchino and their partners, the Red Sox Foundation has won numerous awards for its innovative programs and impact in the community, including the 2009 Patterson award for Sports Philanthropy, also known as the “Best Sports Charity” award given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sports Philanthropy Project. For more information about the Red Sox Foundation, please visit http://www.redsoxfoundation.org.
The 2009 season begins with second baseman Dustin Pedroia set to defend his title as American League Most Valuable Player, the first since former first baseman Mo Vaughn began the 1996 season in the same position. In team history, only ten Boston players have received the AL MVP award. The first was outfielder Tris Speaker, who received the Chalmers Award in 1912, created as a promotional gimmick by an automobile company owner, Hugh Chalmers, in recognition of a player from each league who proved himself as “…the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered.” Speaker was one of only eight players recognized over a four-year span in which the honor was made, which included the awarding of a Chalmers Model 30 automobile for that player’s efforts. (The award was discontinued after the 1914 season due to diminished interest.)
Efforts by the Baseball Writers Association of America eventually led to the creation of the MVP award as it is recognized today, decided by 28 seasoned sportswriters using a positional voting system where each voter ranks his or her top ten players. Jimmie Foxx was the first Boston player recognized by the baseball writers who gave him the honor in 1938, though for him it was his third award after having been recognized twice before with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932 and 1933. Ted Williams remains the only Red Sox player to have been named twice (1946 and 1949). Other winners have included Jackie Jensen (1958), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Fred Lynn (1975), Jim Rice (1978), and Roger Clemens (1986). Clemens remains the only Boston pitcher to earn the distinction, though since 1967 only seven pitchers have been so honored.
Of course, due to the subjective native of the MVP vote, Red Sox players have found themselves the focus of controversial outcomes, more often as the odd man out. Though Williams was honored twice in his illustrious career, there were also four instances in which he finished second in the voting where he might have been considered the more deserving candidate. In 1941, he batted .406, the last player to hit .400 or better in the regular season, but lost to New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio, who has amassed a 56-game hit streak that same year. The next year, he finished second again, this time to Yankees second baseman Joe Gordon, despite having won the batting Triple Crown with more hits in fewer at-bats, twice the number of home runs, and an OPS almost 250 point higher. In 1947, Williams again won the batting Triple Crown, the only player other than Roger Hornsby to win that recognition twice, yet he again lost to DiMaggio by a single point in the vote, again with far better numbers across the board. Finally, in 1957, he won the batting title with an impressive .388 average and hit 38 home runs while setting a modern-day record of reaching base in 16 consecutive at-bats, all at the age of 39, yet finished second once more to another legendary Yankees outfielder, Mickey Mantle.
Other Boston players who fell just shy in the voting include Pedro Martinez, who had one of the best seasons ever by a pitcher in modern baseball history and won the pitching Triple Crown and the Cy Young award. Yet, despite having more first-place votes, he lost to catcher Ivan Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers by a narrow 13-point margin in the vote. It was later discovered that two sportswriters, which included George King from the New York Post, had omitted Martinez from their ballots with the argument that the contributions made by pitchers were not significant enough to earn MVP consideration, though King had included two pitchers on his ballot the previous season. David Ortiz also fell just short of the honor in 2005 as he finished behind Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the vote. Though both players finished the season with impressive numbers, the argument was made that Ortiz, as a designated hitter, did not contribute as much to his team’s success as Rodriguez, so much that two sportswriters left Ortiz off their ballots.
On the flipside, Vaughn finished a mere eight points ahead of Cleveland slugger Albert Belle in the 1995 vote, despite Belle having far more impressive numbers on offense, including a higher number of home runs, runs scored, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases; he had also become the first player in major league history to hit 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season that same year. Vaughn, however, had a far better relationship with fans and the media, whereas Belle routinely refused to grant interviews to reporters and had engaged in several controversial incidents with fans both at and away from the park. Ted Williams was also well-known for his sour relationship with the media, whom he mockingly referred to as the “kinights of the keyboard,” and, like Belle, may have been the reason in part for losing several close MVP ballots.
 Deane, Bill, Thron, John, and Palmer, Pete. Total Baseball. HarpersCollins Publishers, New York, 1993.
Years of waiting finally paid off for former Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice; on Monday, in his 15th and final year of eligibility, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 76.4 percent of the vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Rice, a 16-year veteran who retired after the 1989 season, follows in the footsteps of two other Hall of Fame outfielders who spent their entire careers in Boston: Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Rice fell 16 votes shy of election in 2008 but earned seven more than the minimum this year and will join first-ballot inductee Rickey Henderson and Veterans Committee inductee Joe Gordon this summer for enshrinement in Cooperstown. Had he failed again to reach the minimum 75 percent for eligibility, his only chance for induction after this would have been through the Veterans Committee, which has proven to be a challenge for other former players not elected by the writers to find themselves added to the Hall.
Proponents had lobbied for Rice based on the fact that, between 1975 and 1986, Rice was one of the most feared hitters in the American League as he averaged .304 with 29 home runs and 106 RBI each season. He also finished in the top five of the MVP vote six times during that stretch, winning his only award in 1978 when he stroked 46 home runs, led the league with 139 RBI, and batted .315, just twenty points behind league-leader Rod Carew. He also collected an amazing 406 total bases that season, the first to have 400 or more total bases in a single season since Hank Aaron in 1959 and a feat that’s been matched since only six times.
Drafted and signed by Boston in 1971, he earned Triple Crown, Rookie of the Year, and MVP honors as a member of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in 1974. The following season, Rice broke into the majors and, along with fellow rookie sensation and “Gold Dust Twin” Fred Lynn, helped Boston return the World Series for the first time in eight years (unfortunately, a wrist injury due to an errant pitch in September forced Rice to miss the remainder of the season as well as the 1975 Fall Classic between the Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds). Eleven years later, appearing for the only time in the playoffs, Rice hit a 3-run home run in the seventh game of the ALCS to help Boston win the AL pennant, then batted .333 and scored the lone run in a 1-0 Game 1 victory for Boston against New York in the World Series. He was also an eight-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger award winner in 1983 and 1984.
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game was first played in 1933 at old Comiskey Park in Chicago and future Hall of Fame catcher Rick Ferrell became the first (and only) player from the Red Sox named to the American League team. Since then, a total of 97 players have made 257 appearances representing Boston. The player who has made the most appearances for Boston is Ted Williams, who played on 19 All-Star teams between 1940 and 1960; 12 times, he was named the starting left fielder for the Junior Circuit representatives, also a team record. In second place is Carl Yastrzemski, who was named to 18 All-Star squads and started seven games at three different positions; left field, center field, and first base. Bobby Doerr is third with nine appearances and five starting roles, while Wade Boggs and Jim Rice each represented Boston eight times, Boggs starting seven times at third base and Rice starting four times in the outfield.
With regards to the number of All-Stars named from Boston in a given season, the 1946 squad includes eight All-Stars: Williams, Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Boo Ferriss, Mickey Harris, Johnny Pesky, Hal Wagner, and Rudy York. Three times, the Red Sox sent seven players: 1977, 1978, and 2002. Twice, they sent six players: 1949 and 2007. Only ten times has the requisite single representative been named from Boston, most recently as 2001 when perennial All-Star outfielder Manny Ramirez was sent to Safeco Field in Seattle to represent the Red Sox in his first season with the club.