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Boston Red Sox All-Time Lineup

Best at each position, in one season, in team history


A look at the all-time starting lineup for the Boston Red Sox in the team's history. It's not a career record - it's taken from the best season any player had at that position in team history to create a lineup. Its got All-Stars at every position and Hall of Famers as backups. A look at Boston's best in team history:

Starting pitcher: Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez photo
Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport/Getty Images

1999: 23-4, 2.07 ERA, 213 IP, 313 Ks, 0.923 WHIP

A great group of Hall of Famers and a future Hall of Famer or two. Martinez's 1999 season was simply incredible, which puts him as the ace. He won the Cy Young that season, and that puts him above, appropriately enough, Cy Young himself. Roger Clemens won the MVP and Cy Young in 1986. And two old-timers finish the rotation, including some guy who was sold to the Yankees in 1920 to pay for a Broadway musical, but was a darn good left-handed pitcher, for the Red Sox before becoming the greatest hitter ever.

Rest of the rotation: Cy Young (1901, 33-10, 1.62 ERA, 371.1 IP, 0.937 WHIP), Roger Clemens (1986, 24-4, 2.48 ERA, 254 IP, 238 Ks, 0.969 WHIP), Smoky Joe Wood (1912, 34-5, 1.91 ERA, 344 IP, 1.015 WHIP), Babe Ruth (1916, 23-12, 1.75 ERA, 323.2 IP, 1.075 WHIP)

Catcher: Carlton Fisk

Carlton Fisk photo
Getty Images

1977: .315, 26 HR, 102 RBI, .922 OPS

Backup: Jason Varitek (2004, .296, 18 HR, 73 RBI, .872 OPS)

Not a great group of catchers in team history, but a Hall of Famer who played the first half of his career was the best. He had his best season statistically in 1977, but is best remembered for a particular postseason blast two years earlier in Game 6 of the World Series. Backup Jason Varitek got something that Fisk didn't get in his career, however: A championship in that magical 2004 season.

First baseman: Jimmie Foxx

Jimmie Foxx photo
Getty Images

1938: .349, 50 HR, 175 RBI, 1.166 OPS

Backup: Carl Yastrzemski (1970, .329, 40 HR, 102 RBI, 1.044 OPS)

"The Beast" wielded a huge bat on the way to the Hall of Fame, and the career .325 hitter was at his best in his MVP season of 1938. As the backup, let's using a small loophole to get a Hall of Famer on the team, at least as a backup. Yastrzemski played left field almost his entire career - except for 1970, when he split time between first and left field, and played more games at first (94) in Dick Williams' first year as manager. Yaz won the batting title in 1970, beating out Adrian Gonzalez and Mo Vaughn for this backup spot.

Second baseman: Bobby Doerr

Bobby Doerr photo
Getty Images

1944: .325, 15 HR, 81 RBI, .927 OPS

Backup: Dustin Pedroia (2008, .326, 17 HR, 83 RBI, .869 OPS)

Doerr had his best year in his last one before leaving for the war, slugging at a league-leading .528 and finishing seventh in the MVP voting. His backup at this spot, Pedroia, actually won the MVP in his 2008 season in a season that statistically was almost identical. We'll go with the Hall of Famer in Doerr, ever so slightly.

Third baseman: Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs photo
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

1987: .363, 24 HR, 89 RBI, 1.049 OPS

Backup: Adrian Beltre (2010, .321, 28 HR, 102 RBI, .919 OPS)

Boggs was a consistent force who never was too powerful - except in 1987, when he found a power stroke. It was the third season of four batting titles in a row for Boggs, a Hall of famer who had a .328 career batting average. His backup played just one season in Boston on a one-year deal, but it was a great one.

Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra

Nomar Garciaparra photo
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

2000: .372, 21 HR, 96 RBI, 1.033 OPS

Backup: Rico Petrocelli (1969, .297, 40 HR, 97 RBI, .992 OPS)

At one point late in the 1990s, there was triumverate of great young shortstops in the American League: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Garciaparra. Nomar flamed out in his career earlier, but he was right there statistically, especially in 2000, when he won the AL batting title at .372 with plenty of power. His backup is another shortstop who later moved to third base, whose career was shortened by injury.

Left fielder: Ted Williams

Ted Williams photo
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1941: .406, 37 HR, 120 RBI, 1.287 OPS

Backup: Jim Rice (1978, .315, 46 HR, 139 RBI, .970 OPS)

Playing in front of the Green Monster has been a place for stars. There was no question who was going to be No. 1 on the list, a man on the short list for the greatest hitter ever. But three other Hall of Famers, and a fourth who would be a certain Hall of Famer without two positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs (Manny Ramirez) also played left field for Boston. Since we snuck in Carl Yastrzemski as the backup first baseman, and Babe Ruth played just one season in left field for Boston (and is on the team as a pitcher), we'll go with Rice, a Hall of Famer who was MVP in 1978.

Center fielder: Tris Speaker

Tris Speaker photo
Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

1912: .383, 10 HR, 90 RBI, 52 SB, 1.031 OPS

Backup: Fred Lynn (1979, .333, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 1.059 OPS)

Speaker was a Hall of Famer who played in the dead ball era yet still had a 1.031 OPS. Those stats hold up all-time, no problem. Fred Lynn manned center field in the 1970s for the Red Sox and had his best season in 1979. He's the backup over Jacoby Ellsbury, who filled up the stat sheet in 2011.

Right fielder: Dwight Evans

Dwight Evans photo
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

1987: .305, 34 HR, 123 RBI, .986 OPS

Backup: Ken Harrelson (1968, .275, 35 HR, 109 RBI, .874 OPS)

An unsung player who had a cannon for an arm and was a solid pro for more than a decade, Evans was at his best in 1987. While left field is star-studded, right field isn't as celebrated a spot in Boston lore. The second-best season was by a player who came to Boston at the end of his career in "Hawk" Harrelson, who had his last good season in 1968, an era when pitching was king. He led the AL in RBI that year.

Designated hitter: David Ortiz

David Ortiz photo
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

2006: .287, 54 HR, 137 RBI, 1.049 OPS

Backup: Don Baylor (1986, .238, 31 HR, 94 RBI)

Ortiz is by far the top full-time DH in team history. He was at his best in 2006, when he belted a team-record 54 homers. The rest of the players who have played DH in Boston mainly consist of older players who were hanging on for extra years and are on this team in other spots, such as Yastrzemski, Rice and Evans. Baylor was on a pennant-winner, so we'll give him the spot.

Closer: Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon photo
Elsa/Getty Images

2006: 4-2, 0.92 ERA, 35 saves, 0.776 WHIP

Backup: Tom Gordon (7-4, 2.72 ERA, 46 saves, 1.008 WHIP)

Boston's bullpen history isn't all that stellar, and the first player who really held down the closer role for several seasons was Papelbon, who closed in Boston for six years. His best season was his first as the full-time closer in 2006. For the backup, we'll go with a guy who was lights out in 1998, then was gone in a "flash" because of Tommy John ligament transplant surgery.

Batting Order

  1. Tris Speaker CF
  2. Wade Boggs 3B
  3. Ted Williams LF
  4. Jimmie Foxx 1B
  5. David Ortiz DH
  6. Nomar Garciaparra SS
  7. Carlton Fisk C
  8. Dwight Evans RF
  9. Bobby Doerr 2B
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