Greatest Red Sox Players Of All Time:
The Boston Red Sox are one of the most successful teams and storied franchises in major league baseball history. They have won nine championships and have had countless great players throughout their existence. The team was founded in 1901 as an American League charter member, later becoming Major League Baseball.
Their long list of achievements as a ballclub includes winning those 9 World Series Championships, 14 AL Pennants, and 10 Division titles. They’ve also had countless award winners, including MVPs, CY Youngs, Silver Sluggers, Gold Glovers, and on and on. So coming up with a list of the greatest Red Sox players of all time was no easy task, to say the least.
Researching this, I felt that it could have gone in any direction once you get past the number five spot. I tried to measure things such as performance during their era, championships, awards, and overall impact on baseball/Red Sox franchise. That being said, let us now take a look at my list of the top 10 greatest Red Sox players of all time.
10. Manny Ramirez
Franchise Rankings: 3rd in SLG (.588), 3rd in OPS (.999), 5th in OBP (.411), 6th in HR (274), 7th in RBI (868), 11th in AVG (.312), 9th in TB (2,324).
Honestly, this one was a toss-up for me between Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Manny. I decided to go with Manny because he ushered in a new era of success for the Red Sox during the 2000s. His tandem with David Ortiz was iconic, and he was World Series MVP in the year that broke the curse.
Yes, Manny could be a pain in the a$$ from time to time, but his slew of clutch hits, Yankee domination, and two World Series rings get him the 10 spot.
9. Dwight Evans
Franchise Rankings: 2nd in games (2,505), 2nd in PA (10,240), 3rd in BB (1,337), 3rd in runs (1,435), 3rd in doubles (474), 4th in TB (4,128), 4th in Hits (2,373), 4th in HR (379), 4th in RBI (1,346), 8th in triples (72).
Spent pretty much his entire career in Boston from 1972 to 1990, with one quick detour in Baltimore to close it out. Evans was remarkably consistent throughout his playing days as he batted at a .272 clip, recording 379 home runs while winning eight golden gloves as well as two silver sluggers. Honestly, it might be fair to say that he’s underrated, even in the eyes of Sox fans.
In my opinion, it’s a shame he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but “Dewey” remains a Red Sox great and deserves more than deserving to be on this list.
8. Wade Boggs
Franchise Rankings: 2nd in AVG (.338), 3rd in OBP (.428), 4th in BB (1,004), 4th in doubles (422), 5th in hits (2,098), 6th in runs (1,067), 6th in TB (2,869), 7th in games (1,625), 8th in PA (7,323), 9th in OPS (.890
Wade Boggs finished his MLB career with 3,010 hits, 578 doubles, 1014 RBIs, and 2,489 games played. He is one of only 32 players to ever get 3,000 hits in a big-league career and is one of the greatest lead-off hitters of all time.
All you need to do is look at Wade Boggs’s first seven or so years in the majors. While he did go to the Bronx in 1993, we can’t discredit his achievements in a Sox uniform. The lowest batting average from 1982-1989 was an astounding .325.
7. Cy Young
Franchise Rankings: T-1st in wins (192), T-1st in SHO (38), 1st in CG (275), 1st in WHIP (0.97), 2nd in ERA (2.00), 3rd in starts (297), 3rd in IP (2,728.1), 4th in SO (1,341), 7th in BAA (.233), 8th in games (327).
Cy Young is probably the most accomplished pitcher in MLB history (the award is named after him for a reason). He pitched for the Red Sox later in his career but still put up an astounding 2.00 ERA over 2700 innings, not to mention a World Series to boot.
Yes, it was a different era, but we can’t forget his dominance in a Sox uniform. Not to mention his impact on the game of baseball as a whole. Many of his records will never be broken in the modern game due to sports science and mileage that can be put on a pitcher’s arm. A true workhorse of the late 19th and early 20th century of MLB. He is considered one of the best players in the history of baseball and one of the greatest Red Sox of all time. Deserves to be on this list.
6. Tris Speaker
Franchise Rankings: 3rd in AVG (.337), 2nd in SB (267), 4th in OBP (.414), 8th in OPS (.896), 2nd in triples (106).
Speaker started his career with the Red Sox and was an absolute doubles machine (239 in 7 full seasons) while winning 2 World Series Championships. According to many defensive metrics, he is also one of the greatest center fielders in the game’s history.
While it’s easy to forget about some of these Golden Era heroes, we must truly acknowledge their era’s dominance. Speaker is one of the greatest players to dawn a Sox uniform.
Franchise Rankings: T-1st in wins (192), T-1st in SHO (38), 1st in SO (2,590), 2nd in starts (382), 2nd in IP (2,776.0), 5th in BAA (.229), 6th in games (383), 9th in WHIP (1.16), 9th in CG (100).
Roger Clemens is one of the most successful pitchers in Major League Baseball’s modern era. He played for four teams but was best known with the Red Sox and that 1986 World Series game six performance where he was taken out after seven innings. Supposedly he asked out of the game after 7-innings because of a blister issue, though Clemens refutes those claims made by then-manager John MacNamara.
Many people tend to undervalue Clemens’s contributions to the Sox, given his steroid allegations and because he pitched in the Bronx later in his career. But his achievements in a Red Sox uniform speak for themselves, and he was a true workhorse on the mound for 13 years in Beantown.
Franchise Rankings: 1st in BAA (.206), 2nd in WHIP (0.98), 3rd in SO (1,683), T-6th in wins (117), 7th in ERA (2.52), T-10th in starts (201).
Pedro ranks as one of the greatest players in team history. He is often considered one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history, with a lifetime record of 219-100 and an ERA of 2.93. His 1999 season might be the most dominant by a starter in baseball history.
A fan favorite, a world champion, and the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history. What is most impressive about Martinez is the fact he dominated at the height of the steroid era while pitching at Fenway Park. He was also a very vocal proponent in signing Big Papi after being released from Minnesota in the 2002-2003 offseason.
Franchise Rankings: 1st in games (3,308), 1st in doubles (646), 1st in runs (1,816), 1st in TB (5,539), 1st in RBI (1,844), 1st in PA (13,991), 2nd in BB (1,845), 3nd in HR (452), 4th in SB (168).
Like Williams, Yaz spent his entire career playing as a member of the Red Sox. He still holds team records such as runs scored, doubles, games played, RBIs, and a slew of others. Oh yeah, and a triple crown performance in his legendary 1967 season. You’d have to wait another 45 years for that performance to be replicated in the American League when Miguel Cabrera had his legendary 2012 campaign.
Going from Williams to Yastremski in left field was the baseball equivalent of going from Joe Montana to Steve Young at quarterback. We can’t understate his contributions to the Sox enough.
2. David Ortiz
Franchise Rankings: 4th in slugging (.570), 5th in games played (1953), 2nd in HR (483), 3rd in RBIs (1530), 3rd in doubles (524), 3 World Series Championships (WS MVP in 2013)
David Ortiz is the most accomplished player in the history of the Boston Red Sox. His numbers speak for themselves, but it doesn’t take numbers to know what impact he had on the team and its fans.
-He has won 3 World Series titles with Boston (2004, 2007, 2013).
-He has appeared in 10 All-Star Games.
-Holds the Franchise record with 54 HRs in a season (2006)
I always say Ortiz is the most “Important” player in franchise history because he made the Red Sox winners. For 86 years, they just couldn’t get the job done, and Big Papi changed all that with four nights in October. Not to mention collecting two more rings AND putting the city on his back after the horrific attacks at the Boston Marathon. His contributions to the franchise, the city, and overall team culture put him at #2 on this list.
1. Ted Williams
Club Ranks: 1st in AVG (.344), 1st in WAR (122.1), 1st in SLG (.634), 1st in OBP (.482), 1st in OPS (1.115), 1st in HR (521), 1st in BB (2,019), 2nd in RBI (1,839), 2nd in runs (1,798), 2nd in hits (2,654), 2nd in doubles (525)
Ted Williams is arguably the greatest hitter to ever live and still, in my mind, the greatest Red Sox player of all time. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and oh yeah, he missed three years fighting in World War II just to come back and dominate like he never left.
The only knock on Williams is the lack of a World Series championship, as he lost the only World Series he ever played in 1946 against the Cardinals. But followed that loss with a Triple Crown performance in 1947 in one of the greatest seasons ever by a Red Sox player.
I put the “Splendid Splinter” at number 1 because his hitting prowess is second to none in baseball history. He made hitting an artform and deserves the number-one spot on this list. A true legend and the greatest Red Sox player of all time.
Just Missed The List
- Carlton Fisk
- Babe Ruth
- Jimmie Foxx
- Nomar Garciaparra
- Bobby Doerr
- Dustin Pedroia
- “Smokey” Joe Wood
- Jim Rice
- Mookie Betts
- Xander Bogaerts