The Greatest Red Sox By Jersey Number: 31-40
This is the fourth part of our series, where we will analyze the best Red Sox players by jersey number, now with numbers 31-40. We will be accounting for all statistics, but also things such as influence, history, and what they have done for the team that cannot be seen on a stat sheet.
#31 – Jon Lester
Jon Lester came up through the Red Sox farm system (drafted in 2002), made his big league debut in 2006, and ultimately became one of the most accomplished pitchers in franchise history. Lester earned his spot in Boston sports lore by pitching the winning game of the 2007 World Series and throwing a no-hitter on May 19, 2008, against the Kansas City Royals.
During his time in Boston, he was a three-time All-Star, two time World Series champion and managed to rack up an impressive 110 wins over nine seasons. In 2014, Lester was traded to the Oakland A’s and later signed with the Chicago Cubs, but he left behind an incredible legacy of success in Boston.
#32 – Derek Lowe
Derek Lowe had a memorable run with the Red Sox from 1997-2004. During his seven seasons in Boston, Lowe posted a solid 70-55 record in 384 appearances and was a fan favorite due to his fearlessness and ability to come through in big games. One of Lowe’s finest moments with Boston came when he won Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, which propelled the franchise to their first World Series win in 86 years.
#33 – Jason Varitek
Jason Varitek was leader for the Red Sox during his fourteen big league seasons, having donned the uniform from 1997 through 2011. During that time, Boston saw unprecedented levels of success under his leadership, including winning two World Series championships in 2004 and 2007.
Varitek earned his place in Red Sox lore being known as a hard-nosed team captain who you could always rely on. Even after he retired from active playing, he remained involved with the organization serving as an assistant coach. He currently has a uniformed coaching role as a game planning coordinator for manager Alex Cora.
#34 – David Ortiz
David Ortiz, better known as “Big Papi,” has become a symbol of the Boston Red Sox franchise. He spent 14 years with the club, from 2003-2016, during which he achieved some of baseball’s most memorable moments. This includes his walk-off home run against the Yankees in 2004 and Grand Slam against the Detroit Tigers in 2013.
Outside of his on-the-field accomplishments, he is incredibly popular among fans due to his friendly demeanor and enthusiasm for baseball. His number 34 was deservedly retired in 2017, and he was later enshrined into Cooperstown as a member of the Red Sox in 2022.
#35 – Steven Wright
Knuckleballer Steven Wright’s time with the Red Sox from 2013-2019 was riddled with ups and downs. His best year was 2016, pitching to a 3.33 ERA in 156 innings. Wright also made his lone All-Star appearance that same season and established himself as the top knuckleball pitcher in baseball. Unfortunately, injuries and suspensions derailed his career as he failed to pitch more than 53 innings over the following three seasons.
#36 – Junichi Tazawa
Junichi Tazawa arrived in the United States to join the Red Sox in 2009 after impressing in the Japanese Corporate League for the Nippon Oil. During his time with Boston, Tazawa was a reliable relief pitcher who was instrumental in helping win the 2013 World Series. He made 71 appearances during that championship season, which included a memorable strikeout of Miguel Cabrera in Game 3 of the championship series.
#37 – Bill Lee
During his decade-long career with the franchise from 1969 to 1978, Lee posted a 94-68 record and a 3.64 earned run average over 167 starts. Of course, it wasn’t just his prowess on the mound that earned him a unique place in baseball lore – Lee’s outspoken nature and often ‘colorful’ personality never failed to keep Red Sox fans talking throughout his stint in Boston. Today he is better known as “The Spaceman.”
#38 – Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling is remembered as an iconic figure in Red Sox history, shepherding the team to its first World Series title since 1918. He was traded to Boston in the 2003-2004 offseason, which turned out to be a stroke of genius by Theo Epstein and Co., as Schilling went 21-6 with an ERA of 3.26 and was named an American League All-Star.
His performances during this time remain some of the best in playoff history, highlighted by his historic ‘Bloody Sock‘ performance in game six of the ALCS versus the Yankees. Schillings’ time with Boston also included two additional trips to the playoffs, including another World Series title in 2007.
#39 – Mike Greenwell
During Mike Greenwell’s tenure with the franchise between 1985 and 1996, he firmly established himself as one of baseball’s best left-fielders. Nicknamed “Gator” after a prank he pulled on fellow teammate Ellis Burks, he was never short of energy and personality. In 1988, he finished runner-up to Jose Canseco for American League MVP Award and ultimately achieved a brilliant .312 career average at Fenway Park.
#40 – Dave Henderson
Dave Henderson’s time spent with the Boston Red Sox was brief, but he left a lasting impression. Nicknamed “Hendu,” the outfielder only played 366 games for the Sox during the 1986 season, but his true contributions would come in October. His shining moment in Boston came when he hit an extraordinary two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the ALCS against the California Angels.
You can check out the lists here for 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30.
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