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Did You Know? – Red Sox 20-Game Winners

In team history, the Red Sox have seen 26 different pitchers win at least 20 games in a season at least once in a Boston uniform. The pitcher who holds the franchise record for the most victories in one season is Smoky Joe Wood, who won 34 games in 1912 for the eventual World Series champions; he was one of three pitchers on the 1912 staff, along with Buck O’Brien and Hugh Bedient, to reach the 20-win threshold, as the latter two each won exactly 20 games on a team that set the franchise record for wins in a season (105). Only one other pitcher in team history, Cy Young, won better than 30 games in a season; he accomplished this feat twice, once in Boston’s inagural season of 1901 (33) and then again in 1902 (32). Young also holds the record for the most seasons of 20 or more wins with the Red Sox, having accomplished the feat six times in the eight years that he was part of the starting rotation. After him, there are three pitchers with three seasons of 20 or more wins: Bill Dinneen (1902-1904), Luis Tiant (1973, 1974, 1976), and Roger Clemens (1986, 1987, 1990). Other multiple winners include Babe Ruth, Carl Mays, Boo Ferriss, Jesse Tannehill, Mel Parnell, Wood, Tex Hughson, and Wes Ferrell.

In total, there have been 46 instances where a pitcher won 20 games or more in a season for the Red Sox. Nine times, the starting rotation for Boston has had multiple 20-game winners. Between 1902 and 1904, Dinneen and Young won at least 20 games in each season for the Red Sox and, with Boston pitchers Tom Hughes (20 wins in 1903) and Tannehill (21 wins in 1904) also reaching that plateau, fans were witness to eight instances in three straight seasons that a Sox pitcher accomplished this feat. The most recent instance in which two players on the Red Sox pitching staff won at least 20 games in a single season happened just five years ago in 2002, when Derek Lowe (21) and Pedro Martinez (20) both managed the feat; before that, you have to go back to 1949 to find multiple 20-game winners on the Red Sox pitching staff for one season: Parnell (25) and Ellis Kinder (23). Curiously, there have been ten Boston pitchers in franchise history to fall just one win short of the mark for a single season; of those ten, both Martinez and Howard Ehmke did reach the mark in another season for the Sox. Martinez fell one win shy his first season with the club in 1998 but won 23 the next year, while Ehmke won 19 in 1924, one year after winning 20.

Today In History – First Red Sox Patriots’ Day Game

19 April 1902 – One hundred five years ago today, the Boston American League franchise took the field at Huntington Avenue Grounds against the Baltimore Orioles (who would later become the New York Yankees) and rallied from three runs down in the ninth to win 7-6 in the first-ever Patriots’ Day home game in team history. The holiday in itself is observed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in honor of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, fought on that date in 1775; since 1969, Patriots’ Day has been observed on the third Monday in April. The Red Sox have made it a tradition to play a game at Fenway Park on that date every year since 1960, not including scheduled off-days in 1965 and 1967 and games missed due to the players’ strike in 1995,[1] with the start time usually scheduled to coincide with that of the Boston Marathon, giving ticket holders a chance to watch the race at Kenmore Square following the game.

In 1902, however, the holiday was observed as it was every year until 1969 on 19 April; as it fell on a Saturday, Boston decided to take advantage of this opportunity and received permission from the league to open its season four days ahead of every other club in the American League. Records at Retrosheet show that Cy Young, who led the league in wins (33), ERA (1.62), and strikeouts (158) in 1901, was given the ball by manager Jimmy Collins to start the game for Boston, opposed by Tom Hughes, though it does not show who eventually won the game for the home team nor who scored the game-winning run. The following year, the team began the tradition of making the contest a morning baseball game; with a 10:00 AM start time, Boston defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 9-4.[2]

[1],[2] Patriots’ Day and the Red Sox. Boston’s Pastime, retrieved on 18 April 2007.