Fred Lynn

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Fred Lynn
Fred Lynn

Fred Lynn made his major league debut in September of 1974 and turned heads as he batted .419 with two home runs and 10 RBI in just 15 games; those numbers were just a prelude to the following season. His 1975 rookie campaign has never been matched since; after batting .331, hitting 21 home runs, knocking in 102 runs, and leading the league in doubles, runs score, and slugging percentage, Lynn became the first player to simultaneously win American League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors as he helped lead the Red Sox to the post-season for the first time in eight years.

Lynn also dazzled in the outfield, making sensational, acrobatic catches on an almost daily basis to earn the first of four Gold Gloves. Perhaps the biggest highlight of that amazing season came in June in Detroit when he drove in 10 runs with three home runs, a triple, and a single and collected 16 total bases, tying an AL record.

Lynn continued to enjoy success at the major league level despite sub-par efforts by his standards over the next few seasons. In 1979, he managed to top his numbers from his rookie campaign, batting a league-leading .333 with an amazing 39 home runs and 122 RBI, but finished a distant fourth in the MVP vote. Over his six-plus seasons in Boston, he averaged .308 and made All-Star appearances in every season.

Lynn left Boston after the 1980 season, longing to play in his native California; though he continued to average 20 home runs per season and finished with 306 for his career, he could never recapture the magic of his days with the Red Sox, as nagging aches and pains limited his playing time. He averaged just .263 at the dish over his last ten seasons and finally hung up his cleats after the 1990 season. What looked like a promising Hall of Fame career ended in disappointment and many would argue that perhaps the outcome may have been different had he remained in Boston.

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