The Boston Red Sox won 119 games last season and claimed their fourth title in 15 seasons, and they look to repeat as champions for just the second time in franchise history.
For the fourth time in the last 15 seasons, the Boston Red
Sox open the season as the defending World Series champions of Major League
Baseball; only time will tell whether Boston successfully defends its title
against the other 29 teams. In three previous attempts, the closest the Red Sox
came to doing so was in 2008, when they took the Tampa Bay Rays to seven games
in the American League Championship Series but failed to win the deciding game.
Boston also looks to defend its current run of three straight division titles,
the longest streak in franchise history.
After winning 108 regular season games on their way to
another 11 wins in the 2018 postseason, Alex Cora’s
roster looks very much like the one he had for most of last season. In fact,
the Opening Day roster includes only one player – Colten Brewer – who did not
play for Boston last season. Spring training was, like last year, relatively
quiet, and the Red Sox finished with 12 wins versus 17 losses and a tie.
Perhaps the biggest news out of Fort Myers was a contract extension Boston gave
to pitcher Chris Sale;
the five-year, $145M payout ensures that he will stay with the team through
2024, unless he chooses to opt out after the 2022 season.
With the roster
now final, let’s see who will be with the team in Seattle tonight
when they start the season against the Mariners at T-Mobile Field (formally
Mookie Betts has surpassed the legendary Ted Williams as the new franchise leader and is one of only five players in team history with multiple three-home-run games.
On Wednesday, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts set a new franchise record by hitting three home runs in a single game for the fourth time in his young career, surpassing the legendary Ted Williams. It was the second time in just over two weeks that the Gold Glove outfielder and two-time All Star flycatcher, who turns 26 in October, had hit three in a game.
In team history, only five players have had at least two three-home-run games: Betts, Williams, Mo Vaughn, Jim Rice, and Nomar Garciaparra, the latter three having done it exactly twice. Famously, Garciaparra had two grand slams and ten RBI in his first game and totaled three slams and 18 RBI over his two games; in comparison, Betts has 19 RBI over his four games. Other Red Sox players who have had at least one grand slam in a three-home-run game include Williams, Norm Zauchin, Jim Tabor (two in his one game), Bill Mueller (two in his one game), and Jack Clark.
Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not an unusual feat, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects.
Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not considered unusual, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects. In the ninth inning of Tuesday afternoon’s 6-2 win for Boston over Cleveland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit what proved to be his fifth career home run on Opening Day, his third with the Red Sox after hitting two with the Minnesota Twins earlier in his career. After what was a quiet spring (4-for-35 with three extra base hits), the sight of him launching one into the bleachers was a welcome sight to Red Sox fans looking for a positive start to the 2016 season.
The home run also proved to be number 504 in Big Papi’s career, which ties him with Eddie Murray for 26th all-time in MLB history. After Murray, his next target on the all-time list would be Gary Sheffield (509), followed by Mel Ott (511), Ernie Banks (512) and Eddie Matthews (also 512). He now also has 446 home runs with the Red Sox, which puts him six behind Carl Yastrzemski for second place (452) and well behind Ted Williams with 521, whom he has a chance to catch only in the career total category.
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.
With Boston’s 15-5 win Wednesday night in Colorado, the Red Sox now stand at 96-63 with three games to play this season. The 96 wins matches the same number of games won by the 2007 world championship team. This is made even more remarkable given that the team won just 69 games last season, its worst season since 1965, when Boston limped to a record of 62-100.
25 February 1933 – On this day eighty years ago, in the midst of the Great Depression, Bob Quinn sells the Red Sox franchise for $1.5 million to Thomas Austin Yawkey, who had celebrated his 30th birthday four days earlier. Yawkey served as the sole owner of the team for the next 44 years and became a Boston institution as well as a pillar of Major League Baseball, though the legacy of his ownership was not without controversy.
Former Boston Red Sox infielder Johnny Pesky, who was a loyal part of the Boston organization for more than 60 seasons, passed away today at the age of 92. Pesky played eight seasons between 1942 and 1951, missing time between 1943 and 1945 serving in World War II, and also managed the club twice, first for two years between 1963 and 1964, and then briefly at the end of the 1980 season.
On Wednesday afternoon in Oakland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit career home run number 400, making him the 49th player in MLB history to reach this milestone. It was also his 342nd home run in a Boston uniform, which ranks him fifth all-time in team history behind Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382), and Dwight Evans (379). “Big Papi” also ranks second behind Manny Ramirez in number of at-bats per home run at 14.7, just ahead of Jimmie Foxx and Williams.
Is Nomar Garciaparra retiring? Say it isn’t so. At age 36, with several surgeries having limited his playing time in recent years, the last rock at the shortstop position in Boston is hanging up his uniform for good – maybe, maybe not – with a press conference this morning in Fort Myers.
The legendary Ted Williams touted “NO-mah” as the game’s next great player and he seemed destined for a Hall of Fame career. First, he easily won Rookie of the Year honors in 1997, then followed that with a second-place finish in the MVP ballot in 1998 and two batting titles in two years (1999 and 2000). Five times, he was named to the All-Star while with Boston, and he was often compared to other great shortstops of his time, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Miguel Tejada.
When Garciaparra returned as an Oakland Athletic last July to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded away in 2004, he received a lengthy standing ovation from an appreciative crowd, to which he tipped his cap and graciously clapped along with them. It reminded us of the moment following a series-ending loss to Cleveland in the 1998 American League Division Series; as the Indians celebrated on the field by the visitor’s dugout, Garciaparra stepped back out from the Boston dugout, turned to the stands, and began clapping in genuine appreciation of the Red Sox fans that had followed the team all season and every season before then.
Boston is still searching for the answer at short while fans search for answers on why such a promising career ended too soon; some might say that Garciaparra is to this generation what Fred Lynn was to the last one and Tony Conigliaro was to the one before then. Red Sox fans will always have a place in its collective heart reserved for Garciaparra, who gave all he had with the club for eight seasons, but we will always wonder what might have been for him.
Dom DiMaggio, a seven-time All-Star Red Sox center fielder who played with the likes of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr, passed away Friday morning at the age of 92. Known as “the Little Professor” due to his glasses and his small frame, DiMaggio was the youngest of three brothers who played in the Major Leagues, which included Hall of Fame outfielder Joe DiMaggio and Vince DiMaggio. He played eleven seasons in the majors, all with Boston, and like Williams and Pesky missed three years between 1943 and 1945 serving with the US Armed Services during World War II.
While his brother Joe is remembered for a 56-game hitting streak that remains unbroken since 1941, DiMaggio holds a record of his own – a 34-game streak set in 1949 – that still stands as the water mark for Boston. In his career, he batted .298 and finished with 1046 runs scored, 87 home runs, 618 RBI, and an OBP of .383; his best season came in 1950, when he batted .328 and led the league in triples (15), stolen bases (11), and runs scored (131). That same year, on 30 June, he and Joe both homered in the same game playing against each other, only the fourth pair of brothers to accomplish the feat, in a 10-2 win for Boston over New York in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park. In 1946, after returning from active duty, he made his one World Series appearance following Boston’s first pennant in 28 seasons, and batted 7-for-27 with two runs scored and three RBI, including a two-run double that tied the score in the top of the eighth inning of Game Seven of the series. DiMaggio was also part of the inagural class enshrined in the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995, where he again joined his teammates Williams, Pesky, and Doerr.