Date of birth: 26 December 1947
Primary position: Catcher
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1997
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 2000
Known affectionately as “Pudge,” Carlton Fisk was a force behind the plate for the Red Sox during most of the 1970s as one of the game’s premier catchers and is best remembered in Boston and by baseball fans for the dramatics he provided one cool October night in 1975. After two quick cups of coffee in 1969 and 1971, Fisk established himself as the starting catcher for Boston in 1972 with a memorable year behind the plate, batting .293 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. His efforts gained him an All-Star nod, a fourth-place finish in the American League MVP vote, Rookie of the Year honors (the first player to be elected unanimously), and his only Gold Glove.
Three years later, after missing the first half of the 1975 season due to injury, he returned to bat .331 in 79 games to help propel Boston to the World Series for the first time in eight years. Fisk then provided perhaps the most memorable moment in World Series, if not baseball, history. With the score tied at six in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game Six, Fisk came to the plate and launched the second offering from Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pat Darcy off the left-field foul pole high above Fenway Park‘s left field wall to send the series to a deciding Game Seven, though Cincinnati would prevail as champions that season.
Perhaps Fisk’s best season at the plate came two years later in 1977, when he hit .315, hit 26 home runs, and drove in 102 runs while crossing the plate 106 times. After the 1980 season, Fisk left as a free agent for the Chicago White Sox and spent the next 13 seasons playing in Chicago; he would end his career having caught the most games as a catcher in major league baseball history.
Fisk was eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his second year on the ballot in 2000 and, later than same year, the Red Sox honored their former catcher by retiring his former number 27, joining just six other players in team history to receive that honor.
Career Batting Statistics through 2017 Season
Awards and Recognition with Boston
Gold Glove Award, 1972
Rookie of the Year Award, 1972
Memorable Moments for Carlton Fisk
- 18 September 1969 - In his major league debut, Carlton Fisk goes hitless in four at-bats as Boston suffers a 6-4 loss to Baltimore in the opener of a doubleheader.
- 21 November 1972 - Rookie catcher Carlton Fisk wins American League Rookie of the Year honors. The Red Sox backstop is the first unanimous selection in voting history.
- 6 April 1973 - Orlando Cepeda, signed specifically for this role, goes 0-for-6 as the designated hitter rule debuts in the American League, but Boston thrashes New York 15-5 on Opening Day at Fenway Park. The game also features Carlton Fisk's first career grand slam.
- 1 August 1973 - Boston defeats New York 3-2 at Fenway Park in a game that features a brawl that begins when Yankees backstop Thurman Munson barrels into Carlton Fisk hard at home plate; both players come up swinging and are eventually ejected.
- 21 October 1975 - Thanks to Bernie Carbo's three-run, pinch-hit home run in the late innings and Carlton Fisk's extra-inning long ball off the left field foul pole at Fenway Park, Boston wins a dramatic Game Six against Cincinnati, 6-5 in 12 innings.
- 20 May 1976 - In an 8-2 win at Yankee Stadium, Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee is injured when, during a brawl started when Lou Pinella slammed into Carlton Fisk at home plate, Graig Nettles picks him up and slams him to the ground.
- 22 December 1980 - Boston postmark contracts for the 1981 season to Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk, two days after the due date, which allows the option for both players to declare free agency. Both eventually do so and the Red Sox lose two perennial All-Stars in one fell swoop.
- 11 January 2000 - Former Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk is elected to the Hall of Fame.
- 4 September 2000 - Number 27 is officially retired by the Red Sox in honor of catcher Carlton "Pudge" Fisk prior to a 5-1 win over Seattle at Fenway Park.