My post today is about something so near and dear to my heart… the Red Sox! I started watching the year they won the world series (2004). It wasn’t like I was a bandwagon fan or anything (I was 13… I probably thought a bandwagon had something to do with the Backstreet Boys) I just realized that I genuinely loved watching the sport. From then on, my mom started taking me to games at Fenway and I fell in love.
If you haven’t ever been to Fenway, Red Sox fan or not, it’s just breathtaking. It may be old fashioned in comparison to some other fields, but being there is unlike anything else. I’m already counting down the days until I go (June 25 and August 2, in case you thought I was kidding).
So because today they kicked some serious butt against long-time rivals the New York Yankees, I think they deserve some recognition from a super fan. Keeping with the theme of this blog, I am going to present you with 21 members of the Red Sox, past and present, that have donned the number 21 jersey.
1. Bob Daughters: He was signed by the Red Sox in 1937, but only played one game as a pinch runner before going down to the minor leagues. However, he played with the Rocky Mount Red Sox and Hazelton Red Sox in the minor leagues so I guess that’s something!
2. Stan Spence: A center fielder for the Sox from 1940-1941 and then again 1948-1949, Spence ended his nine year career with a .282 hitter with 95 home runs and 575 RBI in 1112 games.
3. Tex Hughson: This is the kind of man I love… the one who spends his entire MLB career with the Red Sox! An American League All Star for three consecutive years, Hughson, over his eight year career, posted a 96–54 won-lost record with 693 strikeouts and a 2.94 ERA in 1375.2 innings. (He was a pitcher, if you don’t speak baseball).
4. Willard Lee Nixon: Another man who dedicated his life to the Sox. And, sorry Tex, but I think I love Willard a little bit more. He was known as the “Yankee Killer” for his dominance over the New York team in the 50s. Following his career as a pitcher for the Red Sox, he also became a scout for the team and in 1993, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
5. Johnny Schmitz: Though he only appeared in two games as a Red Sox pitcher, Schmitz (AKA Bear Tracks) is still worth mentioning! His nickname was inspired by the way he would shuffle to the mound and also by his size 14 feet. He’s also one of those interesting cases that bats right-handed, but throws lefty. Fun fact that goes with my 21-ness: It was reported that he made $21,000 in 1949.
6. Arnold Earley: Earley was with the Sox from 1960-1965 and played in 223 major league games, all but 10 as a relief pitcher. Unfortunately, Wikipedia did not provide much more information than this. Sorry Arnie!
7. Hank Fischer: A New Yorker who never played for the Yankees, Fischer was with the Sox from 1966-1967.
8. Ray Culp: It seems like most of the players who wore jersey #21 were pitchers and Culp is no exception. Right-handed pitcher for the Sox from 1968-1973, he ended his career with a 3.58 ERA.
9. Juan Marichal: Though Marichal spent most of his career on the Giants, Marichal was still a member of of the 1974 Red Sox. He had a pretty good run as a pitcher for the Sox, but they released him after just one season. Despite the fact this didn’t happen in a Sox jersey, his no hitter on June 15, 1963 is definitely worth a shout out.
10. Rick Kreuger: And we have another pitcher! Rick here seems to have done well for himself after his baseball career came to a close. He was with the Sox from 1975-1977 and ended his career in 1979 with a Japanese team. Now, he teaches math at a school in Michigan.
11. Mike Torrez: In his eighteen year career, Torrez played on many different teams in both the AL and NL. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos, and New York Mets for the National League. And for the American League he was with the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, and then finally the Red Sox. He spent five years as a pitcher for the Sox.
12. Roger Clemens: I know this one!! If you know anything at all about Red Sox fans, we typically despise players that go from our team to the Yankees. This year, we saw Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes and years ago it was Johnny Damon. Well, Clemens is another one of these. He pitched for the Sox from 1984 – 1996, and the Yanks from 1999-2003.
13. Danny MacFayden: In his time, Boston had two teams – the Red Sox and the Braves. MacFayden played on both of them. What’s cool about that is he actually grew up in the Boston area. Unfortunately, he’s another Red Sox player than was eventually traded to the Yankees, but I don’t know if the stigma we have today was around then.
14. Pete Appleton, AKA Pete Jablonski: This guy has a crazy career. He played in the MLB from 1926-1951 and managed the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins for 20 years following his career. Interesting fact: He was traded from the Indians to the Red Sox for pitcher Jack Russel, who also sported jersey number 21.
15. Mel Almada: I found a player with a number 21 jersey who wasn’t a pitcher! Almada was a left-handed center fielder for the Sox from 1933-1937.
16. Lyn Lary: Lynford, or Lyn as he is best known, was a shortstop that spent most of his career on the Yankees, but was traded to the Red Sox in 1934. Before the 1935 season, he was traded to the Washington Senators.
17. Jim Henry: Henry had a short career, only three years, and spent two of them pitching (shocker!) for the Red Sox.
18. Fritz Ostermueller: Fritz debuted as a pitcher for the Red Sox on April 21, 1934 and stayed with the team for six years. Unfortunately, Mr. Ostermueller died young at just 50-years-old.
19. Clem Hausmann: Another man who died young, Hausmann played two of his three years in the MLB pitching for the Red Sox.
20. Jim Suchecki: Only spending one year on the Red Sox, and three years in MLB, Suchecki had a 0-6 win-loss record only playing in 38 games. Well, at least he got to play.
21. Bob Gillespie: Gillespie also had a short stint as a pitcher on the Red Sox. He ended his five-year career with a 5-13 record and a 4.73 Earned Run Average.
I’m not familiar with all of these names, but I found it interesting that a majority of Red Sox players who wore my favorite number were pitchers. But I was happy to know at least one of the guys that sported #21… despite the fact he became a Yankee.
What’s your favorite team? Sound off in the comments!
And in the meantime… Go Red Sox!