BOSTON - In the penultimate week of this countdown, differentiation becomes even more difficult. But these are truly (almost) the best of the best.
10. Cy Young
It might seem crazy to put the pitcher who is the namesake for the annual award for baseball's best pitcher all the way at number ten, but I think it's justified. You have to consider the era Cy Young played in, which allowed him to achieve some of the most unattainable statistics and records of all-time. His twenty-one year career in baseball saw him spend just nine seasons in the city of Boston (including one as a player-manager), but during those years of early baseball, he amassed unbelievable stats. He pitched for a record of 511-315 in his career with a 2.63 earned run average and 2,803 strikeouts. He led the league in wins three times for Boston as a part of his 1901 triple crown. He also helped them win the World Series in 1903. Young is one of the most impressive pitchers to ever throw a baseball, undoubtedly.
9. Dustin Pedroia
This week came with the unfortunate news that Dustin Pedroia suffered a setback in his attempt to recover from a knee injury. If it ends up being the end for the Laser Show, well, he has nothing left to prove. A four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover, Pedroia won a Silver Slugger in 2008, when he also won MVP. The Rookie of the Year in 2007 also helped the Red Sox win three World Series titles in his tenure. For his career, Pedroia hit .299 with 1,805 hits. While he still has a chance for more, this might be the cap. He may not have a great shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame anymore, but he's an undeniable Red Sox Hall of Famer and I bet he has his number retired, too. He's one of the two best infielders in Red Sox history, after all. I love him!
8. Dwight Evans
Dwight Evans played for the Red Sox from 1972 to 1990 and he remains one of the greatest "he should be in the Hall" players in all of baseball. At least he's in the Red Sox Hall of Fame! Evans recorded 2,446 hits and 385 home runs in his career, which also saw three All-Star appearances and two Silver Slugger trophies. In 1981, Evans even led the American League in home runs. But what set Dewey apart and makes him such a beloved figure in Red Sox history is his immense defensive skill. Evans is the recipient of eight Gold Gloves in his career and he remains the best defensive right fielder Boston has ever seen.
7. Roger Clemens
Controversies, controversies, controversies. That's what Roger Clemens' career has come to be defined by. But his tenure with the Red Sox remains untested. Clemens is widely thought to have used steroids during the late stages of his career, but when he was a young gun in Boston from 1984 to 1996, the world was convinced that he was the best pitcher to ever live. A member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame (surprising, considering his villainous turn to the Blue Jays and Yankees), Clemens was a monster on the mound. He was an All-Star five times in Boston and a Cy Young winner three times (he amassed eleven and seven of these honors in his whole career, respectively). Clemens was also the MVP of the American League in 1986. His twenty strikeout game remains in all-time feat in Boston sports lore.
6. Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs is one of the best to ever do it. His statistics are hugely impressive as the third baseman put up a .328 batting average and 3,010 hits in his career. Playing for the Red Sox from 1982 to 1992, Boggs was an All-Star seven times for Boston and twelve throughout his career, which extended to New York and Tampa Bay. Boggs also won six Silver Slugger trophies in Boston, winning the batting title five times. Hs number has been retired by the Red Sox and he is a Hall of Famer in both Boston and in Cooperstown. But he just barely misses the top five because the players still to come are somehow even better than Boggs. But we love him all the same.
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