BOSTON - Welcome to the next installment in the countdown of the twenty-five best Boston Red Sox players of all-time! It was a rocky week of uncertainty for the Boston baseball team so it is always nice to look back on elements of the team that was purely good. And that's what this list is all about.
20. Curt Schilling
Every year when Hall of Fame eligibility comes around again, Schilling seems to dig himself a deeper hole in the mold of how journalists feel towards him. But strictly as an athlete, there was no denying Schilling's talent. He pitched for a number of teams in his career, but he threw for Boston from 2004 until 2007, helping the team win two World Series titles in that time. A member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, he led the league in wins during 2004, which earned him an All-Star nod. In his career, Schilling was a member of the 3,000 strikeout club and I am personally grateful that some of those strikeouts came during his Red Sox tenure.
19. Nomar Garciaparra
For a long time, Nomar was the chosen one. He was the next Ted Williams, the next Carl Yastrzemski. He was supposed to lead Boston to the promised land. But a series of injuries and performance-enhancing speculation sidelined what was a promising career for Nomar. He's still a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame and he won a ring with the 2004 team, even though he was traded to the Chicago Cubs mid-season. But Nomar's early career was untouchable. He played for Boston from 1996 to 2004 and earned five All-Star nods during that time, winning the batting title twice. He was the 1997 Rookie of the Year, winning a Silver Slugger award, as well.
18. Luis Tiant
Luis Tiant played for a ton of teams during his eighteen-year career in baseball, but his tenure from 1971 to 1978 with the Red Sox will always be the most beloved. He's a Sox Hall of Famer and two of his three All-Star appearances came in a Boston uniform. He also led the American League in earned run average in 1972, the second time he did that in the sport. Known for his unconventional windup, Luis Tiant was one of the most jovial characters in the history of Boston baseball and he has simply become an admirable ambassador of the sport.
17. Chris Sale
If three pitchers are going to make this chunk of the list, then you can't neglect Chris Sale. It might seem insane to put Sale this high, considering he's only had two good seasons with the team, but those two campaigns were as elite as any other pitcher in Red Sox history not named Pedro Martinez. He was an All-Star in both 2017 and 2018 and led the league in strikeouts in 2017, as well. He also has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the history of baseball. He pitched two immaculate innings in the same month! Sale is an exceptional talent who will be a Hall of Famer if he can stave off injuries. He recorded the final out of the 2018 World Series, making good on the exact promise he was brought in to the Red Sox for. That counts for a lot.
16. Jim Rice
Rice is not only a Red Sox Hall of Famer. He's also a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, getting in back in 2009 during his final year on the ballot. He played his entire career in Boston from 1974 to 1989 and hit .298 in that time, with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBIs. He was the MVP in 1978 and his number fourteen is retired at Fenway Park. He led the American League in home runs three times and RBIs twice. He won two Silver Sluggers and played in eight All-Star games. On top of it all, Jim Rice is just an amazing person. That's what counts the most, but those impressive statistics don't hurt either.
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