Ten years ago today, I finally stopped procrastinating, purchased the fenwayfanatics.com domain name, and debuted the “home to Boston Red Sox baseball fans everywhere.”
I’m never gonna leave you. I never gonna leave
Holdin’ on, ten years gone
Ten years gone, holdin’ on, ten years gone
— Led Zeppelin, Ten Years Gone
What a wonderful journey these last ten years have been.
On 17 March 2004, I finally stopped procrastinating, purchased the fenwayfanatics.com domain name, and debuted a new web site, which I tagged as the “home to Boston Red Sox baseball fans everywhere.” My intent was to share my interest in this team and its rich history from the perspective of an “everyday fan.”
To date, only one person has received this honor who has not met these criteria; Johnny Pesky, whose number 6 was retired in 2008, was recognized for more than 60 years of nearly uninterrupted time with the franchise as a player, a manager, coach, and instructor.
There is also one player who meets these criteria but whose number is absent from the façade in right field: former third baseman Wade Boggs.
When given just one season with the Red Sox to showcase their talents, some players have literally stepped to the plate and made it one to remember.
Out of the nearly 1700 players who have appeared for the Red Sox through the 2013 season, there have been almost 800 players that have worn a Boston uniform for just a single season. Some may be remembered for one fleeting moment in the spotlight, like Billy Rohr, who was one out away from a no-hitter against the New York Yankees in his first major league start in 1967 but made just eight more starts that season and won only one other game (his next start, also against the Yankees). Others may have been aging former All-Stars looking for one last season under the sun, like Carlos Baerga or Mark Lemke.
Then there are those who use that one season to showcase their talents, performing at a level perhaps unexpected. Every plate appearance seems to produce, every play in the field seems fluid and flawless, and the sportswriters and fans watch in awe and amazement.
Last week, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that he would retire at the end the 2014 baseball season after 20 years in baseball. The Yankees captain and future first ballot Hall of Fame candidate has been a fixture in the New York lineup since 1996, playing an average of 144 games per season; that figure jumps to 153 if you discount his injury-plagued 2013 campaign in which he managed just 17 games due to injury.
His career appearances at shortstop is by and far the most by a player in a Yankees uniform; Phil Rizzuto is a distant second with 1647 appearances, while Frankie Crosetti is third with 1516. He has also played the most games of anyone in a Yankees uniform, 2602, which is over 200 more than the great Mickey Mantle.
In contrast, over the same time period, the shortstop position has been remarkably fluid for the Boston Red Sox, especially since 2004 when the team traded away perennial All-Star Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline. Since 2005, no player has held that role for longer than two seasons and only one player has started at least 150 games in a single season.
The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is stacked with some impressive honorees, at least one who will be inducted into Cooperstown next year.
The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is stacked with some impressive honorees, at least one who will be inducted into Cooperstown next year. Announced by the team this morning, this year’s class includes pitchers Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione. The team also selected one of Martinez’s greatest single game pitching performances as this year’s featured moment.
The Red Sox Hall of Fame, opened in 1995, honors players who spent at least three years with the Red Sox and have been out of uniform as an active player at least three years. Non-uniformed honorees and the memorable moment are chosen by a unanimous vote of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Selection Committee, a 15-member committee of Red Sox broadcasters and executives, past and present media personnel, and representatives from The Sports Museum of New England and the BoSox Booster Club.
Last week, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was named as the recipient of the 2013 Silver Slugger Award for the designated hitter position. It marked the sixth time in the past ten seasons that “Big Papi” has won the award, and the second time in the past three seasons. It extended his record for the most awards at that position, ahead of former players Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez; his six awards also ties him with Red Sox legends Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez for the most in team history.
Never was Big Papi’s offensive production more apparent and more valuable this season than in the Fall Classic, when he batted .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored, a .760 on-base percentage, and a 1.188 slugging percentage while making just five outs in six World Series games. He also tied a series record by reaching base in nine straight appearances, which helped him to easily walk away with the 2013 World Series MVP award.
For the eighth time in team history and the third time in the past ten seasons, the Boston Red Sox are the world champions of baseball, winning the 2013 World Series championship thanks to a 6-1 win in Game Six. David Ortiz was named the series MVP after batting .688 / .760 / 1.188 with 11 hits, including two home runs at six RBI. Down 2-1 after three games, Boston won three straight to close the series and clinch a world championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918, when the Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs four games to two, with Carl Mays earning the win.
John Lackey picked up the win for Boston in the final game and became the first pitcher in league history to win the clinching game of a World Series twice, having done it once before in Game Seven of the 2002 World Series for the Anaheim Angels. The Red Sox also became the first time to win three World Series in the 21st century.
The Boston Red Sox, winners of the American League pennant, and the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of the National League pennant, who have met three times before in postseason history, are set to kick off the 2013 World Series Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Tickets are available and all games will be broadcast on the FOX Network.
The Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers are set to kick off the American League Championship Series Saturday night at Fenway Park, with Red Sox ace Jon Lester taking the hill opposing Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Tickets are available and all games will be broadcast on the FOX Network.