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Author: Scott Frizzell

The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 31-35

The greatest Red Sox to wear the set of numbers between 31-35 are all recent players.  In fact, the one who played for the Red Sox the longest ago was a key member of the 2004 curse breaking team.  These five players won 10 World Series rings with the Red Sox.  There is a retired number, a captain and a current Sox player. Number 31 – Jon Lester Lester played the role of Red Sox ace for several seasons.  Before he got there, he had to overcome cancer at the age of 23.  After his return from cancer, Lester played a role in winning the World Series in 2007, pitching 5.2 shutout innings in the final game of the series.  The next year, he was ready to be the Ace on a team no one expected him to be.  In May, he no-hit the Royals at Fenway Park.  Lester finished 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA that season. In 2009, Lester took a giant step forward in the strike out department, striking out 10 batters per nine innings.  In 2010, he struck out 225 batters for the second straight season and led the American League in k/9.  He made his first all-star team that season and won 19 games.  The end result was a top five finish for the Cy Young Award. After his second straight all-star appearance in 2011,...

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The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 26-30

The uniform numbers 26-30 bring two more Hall of Famers and retired numbers.  On top of that, we have a here from the 2004 team that broke the curse.  Who are they and who joins them on this list? Number 26 – Wade Boggs Wade Boggs is a Hall of Famer and has his number 26 retired by the Red Sox. He built his Hall of Fame career with the Sox as the best hitter of the 1980’s, and is a top five third baseman of All-Time.  He led the league in batting average in five out of the first six seasons he was eligible, and would have won in 1982 had he accumulated enough at-bats. Boggs also led the league in on-base percentage in six of his first seven eligible seasons. Boggs joined the Red Sox in 1982 and batted .349 over 104 games.  He then went on to eclipse 200 base hits in seven consecutive seasons, a Major League record.  From 1983-88, Boggs batted .356/.448/.489/.937.  He hit over .360 four times and .357 during his other batting title.  Between 1983 and 1991 he had over 40 doubles in eight of nine seasons, leading the league twice. Boggs’ .338 average with the team is second best in franchise history to Ted Williams.  His on-base percentage is third and if you are a fan of WAR, he is third...

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The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 21-25

There is no Hall of Famers in the numbers 21 through 25 for the Red Sox. However, that statement can be a bit misleading. Four of the five I have selected could be Hall of Famers if not for varying reasons. Two of them are borderline cases that have received varying support, while another clearly has the numbers to be there. Number 21 – Roger Clemens “The Rocket” would clearly be a Hall of Famer based purely upon his numbers and awards. During his time with the Red Sox, Clemens became “The Rocket” and was a Hall of Fame pitcher for roughly a decade. During that time, he won an MVP Award and had a third-place finish. Clemens also won three Cy Young Awards while also finishing in second and third during other seasons. Clemens broke out in 1986 with his first Cy Young Award and his MVP Award. He had his first 20 strikeout game in April that season en route to striking out 238 batters for the season. He led the league in wins, ERA, and WHIP as he finished 24-4 for the pennant-winning club. Clemens led the league in wins again in 1987 as he won the Cy Young Award. After two more very good seasons, Clemens was as dominant as ever between 1990 and 1992. He finished second in the Cy Young vote in 1990...

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The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 16-20

This grouping of numbers, 16-20, is the first group of five without a retired number and a hall of famer. However, all five are in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, so it’s not like this group lacks clout. Number 16 – Jim Lonborg Lonborg is probably thought of as being better for the Red Sox than he was. However, that’s likely because of his gruesome injury following his incredible 1967 season. Lonborg was the Cy Young Award winner in 1967, winning a league best 22 games for the surprise pennant winners. Lonborg also struck out a league best 246 batters that season. However, he injured his knee in a ski accident that winter and wasn’t the same for the Red Sox afterwards. Over his final four seasons in Boston Lonborg only made 70 starts, going 27-29 with a 4.22 ERA. Despite being mostly a flash in the pan for the Sox, Lonborg gets the nod at number 16 from me largely on the strength of his helping the Red Sox to the 1967 pennant while winning a Cy Young Award. His competition at the number isn’t too strong, although I anticipate Andrew Benintendi surpassing him in the next season or two. Honorable Mentions: Andrew Benintendi, Tom Burgmeier, Frank Viola, Rick Miller Number 17 – Mel Parnell There is a strong 1-2 for number 17, but one of the best...

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The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 11-15

Following up probably the easiest portion of these articles, numbers one through ten comes the third installment in this series of articles. This set of numbers, 11 through 15, won’t be quite so obvious. This grouping, however, does include one retired number and one current player. Number 11 – Frank Malzone Frank Malzone was an eight-time All-Star, spending 11 of his 12 seasons in Boston. Malzone made two All-Star Games in both 1959 and 1960, when Major League Baseball temporarily held two per season. Malzone was an excellent fielder, winning three consecutive Gold Gloves to begin his career. He also drove in 103 runners his rookie season, placing second in the Rookie of the Year vote. During his nine full seasons with the Red Sox, Malzone batted .278 in addition to his All-Star Games and Gold Gloves. He hit 131 home runs during his time in Boston. From 1957-64, he was the cream of the crop at the hot corner. During that time he made eight All-Star Games in eight seasons. His average season was .281 with 16 home runs and 84 runs batted in during that timeframe. Honorable Mentions: Tim Naehring, Bill Mueller, Clay Buchholz, Dave Stapleton Number 12 – Ellis Burks After a brief stint in Pawtucket, Burks came up to the Red Sox in 1987 and put up a 20-20 season as a rookie. He kept putting up results...

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The Greatest Red Sox Legends by Uniform Number: 6-10

Writing about the best players to don uniform numbers six through ten for the Red Sox. This is the second article in this series. If you missed the numbers one through five, check it out here. This set of numbers, six to ten, features three numbers retired by the franchise. Number 6 – Johnny Pesky Pesky was nearly a Red Sox lifer, spending parts of eight seasons with the team during his ten-year Major League career. He then did some announcing for the team, coached and hung around the team throughout his life. As recently as 2012, when Fenway Park celebrated its 100th anniversary, Pesky was wheeled out onto the field to partake in the ceremony. Pesky is underrated as a player. I feel like a lot of Sox fans know him for Pesky Pole and hanging around the team forever, but might not be sure about how good a player he was. Nationally he was very underrated as well. If not for spending three years fighting in World War II, Pesky may have been a Hall of Fame player. In his rookie season of 1942, Pesky set a rookie record with 205 base hits, which led the league. He batted .331 that season. After missing three years of baseball, Pesky returned from war to belt over 200 base hits each of the next two seasons, again leading the league...

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