Date of birth: 4 April 1888
Primary position: Outfielder
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 2000
Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame: 1937
Tristram “Tris” Speaker began his storied career as an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in 1907, when his contract was purchased from the Houston club of the North Texas League. Two years later, in 1909, Speaker became the everyday center fielder for Boston and is remembered today more for his superb defensive skills, despite a batting average of .337 during his nine years with the Red Sox, third in team history behind only fellow Red Sox Hall of Fame players Ted Williams and Wade Boggs.
As part of one of the greatest outfielder platoons in baseball history with Duffy Lewis in left field and Harry Hooper in right, Speaker made 64 of his 139 career double plays and 207 of his 449 career outfield assists during his Boston tenure. Part of the reason for his amazing success was because he played a shallow center field, almost daring batters to try and hit one over his head.
At the plate, Speaker amassed 1327 of the 3514 hits he would collect in his career in a Red Sox uniform. His hustle in the outfield also translated to the base paths; he is also second in team history for triples with 106 and stolen bases with 267, second only to Hooper in both categories. Speaker was also part of two World Series championships with Boston in 1912 and 1915 and batted .298 with a double, three triples, and two RBI in post-season play.
After the 1915 season, Speaker was traded to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Sad Sam Jones, minor league player Fred Thomas, and $55,000 cash; Speaker went on to enjoy the next 11 seasons with Cleveland and retired in 1928 after stops in Washington and Philadelphia. He also celebrated one more World Series championship as a member of the Indians in 1920. In 1937, Speaker was among the first eight players enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Career Batting Statistics through 2018 Season
Awards and Recognition with Boston
Most Valuable Player Award, 1912
Memorable Moments for Tris Speaker
- 12 September 1907 - Future Hall-of-Fame outfielder Tris Speaker makes his major league debut for Boston in a 7-2 loss to Philadelphia at Huntington Avenue Grounds.
- 9 June 1912 - Outfielder Tris Speaker hits for the cycle in a 9-2 win for the Red Sox over the Browns in St. Louis.
- 16 July 1912 - Tris Speaker extends his 30-game hitting streak in a 7-2 win over Detroit at Fenway Park; the streak ends the following day in a 1-0 loss for Boston.
- 21 September 1985 - Wade Boggs sets a new American League mark with his 185th single in the fifth inning of Boston's 7-6 win over Detroit. With the same hit, he also surpasses Tris Speaker for the single-season franchise mark for hits with number 223 and finishes the season with 240 total base-knocks.
- 1 October 2016 - Right fielder Mookie Betts goes 2-for-4 in a 4-3 Red Sox loss against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. The two hits give him 214 for the season, putting him in third place behind Wade Boggs (240 in 1985) and Tris Speaker (222 in 1912) for the most hits by a Red Sox player in a single season.