BOSTON - During the NHL off-season last summer, I counted down the 25 best Boston Bruins of all-time. Now that the countdowns for the best Boston athletes and games of the decade have concluded, it is time to move to the next countdown. This subject is the 25 best Boston Red Sox players of all-time. Pitchers and hitters alike are included. And if you disagree, I'd love to hear your take on who was actually the best!
25. Jason Varitek
Varitek was not the flashiest player or the best hitter who has ever put on the Red Sox uniform but his contributions to the team were far beyond statistics. A three-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion, and a 2005 Gold Glover and Silver Slugger, Varitek served as the captain of the team from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. (He previously debuted for the Sox in 1997.) His leadership is unparalleled in Red Sox history and Varitek's intangibles were crucial fixtures of the World Series runs. Despite the lower offensive numbers due to the catcher position, Varitek still hit .256 with 193 home runs in his career. Catching four no-hitters as a Red Sox, Varitek was an underappreciated contributor to Sox success in the new millenium.
24. Rico Petrocelli
Petrocelli is currently a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame and during his 1963 to 1976 tenure with Boston, he was named to two All-Star teams. Like Varitek, Petrocelli had lower offensive numbers (he hit .251 with 210 home runs in his career). But also like Tek, Petrocelli was a defensive savant. His .970 fielding percentage still ranks among the top ten of all-time MLB third basemen. Throughout this list, you'll find that I adore solid defensive play and Petrocelli provided that in spades.
23. Mo Vaughn
Vaughn is one of the best pure sluggers who ever played for Boston. A member of the Sox Hall of Fame, Vaughn's tenure with the team lasted from 1991 to 1998. In that time, he garnered three All-Star selections. But no season was better than his 1995 campaign, which included a .300 batting average, 39 home runs, and 126 runs batted in. The RBI total led the American League en route to Vaughn securing the First Baseman Silver Slugger and the MVP trophy. Even though he didn't nab MVP honors in 1996, Vaughn topped these numbers with a .326 average, 44 home runs, and 143 RBIs.
22. Babe Ruth
It might seem ludicrous to put the Great Bambino so low on the list, but you have to admit that his greatest feats came as a member of the New York Yankees. Still, Ruth was excellent in Boston, although much of his greatness came from his pitching. Only in New York did he emerge as the all-time hitter. In Boston, he recorded 89 wins on the mound, as well as a 2.19 earned run average. Obviously, the era he played in allowed for such numbers, but they're impressive all the same.
21. Mookie Betts
Hopefully, Mookie will be able to keep rising on this list for a long time to come. (Please don't trade him, Chaim Bloom! Pay the man!) But Mookie has been great since debuting back in 2014. His career numbers currently sit at a .301 average, 139 home runs, and 470 RBIs. He also has put up 126 stolen bases. Mookie is an all-around great player. He can do it all! In addition to his hitting prowess, Betts also has impressive fielding capabilities. As such, he's won three Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves. He won the batting title in 2018, which was also the MVP season for Betts. Additionally, Betts has made four All-Star teams. And he's still in his prime! Betts is a revelatory player and the Sox would be foolish to part ways with him.
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