The Story of Joe Cronin, a Red Sox Legend

Joseph Edward Cronin is, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the most underappreciated figure in Red Sox history. The story of Joe Cronin is about a Hall of Fame caliber shortstop, a manager who led his team to a pennant, a general manager, and an American League President.

The Red Sox fan base of today hardly remembers Joe Cronin.story of joe cronin When young fans look at the list of retired numbers at Fenway Park’s right field upper-deck, they often ask, “Who is number 4?” It is an absolute shame, to me, that not only do people not talk about the legacy of Joe Cronin enough, many don’t even know who he is.

Cronin’s Early Life

The story of Joe Cronin began on October 12, 1906 in San Francisco, California. Cronin spent much of his early years in poverty, as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake destroyed much of what his family owned. Cronin attended Sacred Heart High School where he won many athletic awards for his talents in baseball. After spending a year in the minors with the Chattanooga Lookouts, Cronin made his Major League debut in 1926 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Major League Career

Cronin spent 20 years in the big leagues. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Senators, and the Boston Red Sox. Cronin’s first impressive year came in 1930 with the Senators when he hit .346 with 13 home runs. His best season came in 1933, when he was actually a player-manager for the Senators. That year he had 45 doubles, hit .309, and finished in second place for American League Most Valuable Player. His Red Sox playing career started in 1935, and continued until 1945 when he retired. In that time, Cronin was a five time all-star, hit over 15 home runs five times, and hit over .300 six times. He retired in at the age of 38, due to a broken leg he suffered while playing.

Career as a Manager, General Manager, and AL President

The story of Joe Cronin doesn’t end after his playing career. The year after Cronin hung up the cleats, the Red Sox hired him as a manager for the 1946 season. That year, Cronin led the Red Sox to their first World Series appearance since 1918. Despite falling short to the St. Louis Cardinals, Cronin was praised for the job he did that year.

Following the 1947 season, Cronin became the general manager for the Red Sox. Cronin held that title up until the end of the 1958 season. Cronin’s acquisitions of pitchers Ellis Kinder and Jack Kramer, as well as shortstop Vern Stephens, helped the Red Sox challenge for the American League pennant in 1948 and 1949. In the 1950’s, Cronin had to rebuild the Red Sox core, as many of the teams stars were aging. He had some success, as the Red Sox only fell below .500 twice in his remaining years as general manager. Cronin accomplished this despite having somewhat of a weak team that was only led by a then aging Ted Williams.

Cronin became the first former player in history elected as president of the American League. He was well received as president, and held that position until 1973.

Hall of Fame Induction and Later Life

In 1956, the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Joe Cronin. Cronin fittingly chose to be portrayed wearing a Red Sox hat on his Hall of Fame plaque. In 1984, the Red Sox finally retired Cronin’s number four. Later that year, Cronin passed away due to a long fought battle with cancer.

Joe Cronin is the greatest shortstop in Red Sox history. He always wore his heart on his sleeve, while he was playing as well as while he was coaching. The story of Joe Cronin, however, is not remembered in today’s era of Boston sports.

Astros Cheating Scandal Exposes Conflicting American Values

It’s been weeks since news of the Houston Astros cheating scandal broke in the news. Since then, few people in baseball have hesitated to express their outrage over what the Astros did. If anything, it seems to be intensifying, with few coming out of it any wiser. In fact, it’s bringing the worst out in people.

According to a Yahoo Sports article, Astros’ outfielder Josh Reddick, a member of theastros cheating scandal 2017 World Series championship team at the center of the sign-stealing controversy, recently received messages from angry baseball fans telling him, “I will kill your family…I will kill your kids.” The same article quotes Reddick as saying, “And it’s really depressing to read because it’s over a game of baseball.”

Reddick is right, but only to a certain degree.

Yes, it is over a game of baseball. American baseball fans are threatening to kill a player’s family all because he was on a team that went to great lengths to steal signs from opposing teams. But baseball’s involvement ends there. Telling someone that they want to kill their kids not only shows a truly revolting side of someone’s personality, but that they think their opinions, no matter how threatening, are justified. Ironically, while this psycho thinks he’s lashing out at the Astros for cheating, it’s the cheating that enables such unstable behavior in the first place.

Threats Against Reddick Expose a Larger American Problem.

If you ask Americans today if we’re a country that embraces hard work, honesty, and integrity, you’ll probably get more people saying no rather than yes. It’s an attitude that’s exemplified in every day life. When people don’t get their way they threaten to sue. They make up a false story about their employer rather than accept responsibility. When a fan’s team doesn’t win, they look for any excuse they can find to criticize the victor. This idea includes threatening a player’s family. They think their anger equates to the offense, and therefore justifies their response. Fans make threats. Cheaters feel emboldened by the lack of accountability. Those who are disgusted with both lose respect for the game and everyone associated with it. Is this a true reflection of the MLB though?

Players Criticizing the Astros Cheating Scandal Aren’t Exactly Innocent.

There’s no shortage of current players criticizing the Astros. But according to a bleacherreport.com article, former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Logan Morrison stated, “I know from first hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Red Sox all have used film to pick signs.” So why have the Astros become the whipping boy for Major League Baseball if other teams are involved too?

Are these players angry that their efforts to play an honest game were disrespected? Or are they angry that they were outsmarted? It’s understandable that teams like the Yankees would be angry over what the Astros did in 2017. Why didn’t it stop then though? Did teams like the Yankees actually steal signs using the same kind of technology too? If so, would the villain/victim roles be reversed if the Yankees had won and the Astros hadn’t? Would those same Yankee fans call out their own team for cheating? Most definitely not.

It seems like other teams and their fan base aren’t angry about sign stealing. They’re angry that their own tactics didn’t net them a World Series victory. Instead of self-reflecting and saying “Our approach didn’t work that well,” they look to accuse other teams of cheating. It reflects this “I’m the best, and if someone beats me they must have done it by cheating.” I’m not trying to excuse the Astros. If anything, I wonder why they, and other teams, are getting away with it.

Is Everyone Guilty? No.

Players who claim they shouldn’t be held accountable because “other teams do it too,” are in effect committing the additional offense of being complicit and abetting in the acts of other team’s offenses by turning a blind eye and not calling them out. In other words, if everyone is committing an offense like sign stealing, they are all at fault. By joining in, they become guilty too. Furthermore, they encourage horrible people to threaten people like Josh Reddick. When psychos like those who make such threats see teams like the Astros get away with cheating, they think they have a right to fly off the rails themselves. That’s the ripple effect that scandals like this can have on American society. The Astros may not be directly responsible for the unfair things that happen in American society. They are, however, responsible for how people perceive their actions.

Honest Players and Fans Are the Victims Here.

Of course, I’m not saying that all MLB players were in on this Astros cheating scandal or knew about it. As I’ve insinuated, it’s tremendously unfair to those who didn’t know about the cheating. Players like L.A. Angels’ Mike Trout, who commands great respect in baseball, said as much. “It’s sad for baseball,” Trout was quoted as saying in a Yahoo Sports article. “It’s tough. They cheated.”

The Astros cheating scandal hurt players like Trout badly. Trout represent those in American society who put in an honest day’s work and have true grievances, but no one takes them seriously because of those who’ve exploited the system; they become indistinguishable. It’s players like Mike Trout that Major League Baseball should promote and make more visible to baseball fans. Right now, people are looking at baseball and thinking that cheating is acceptable in baseball because no one’s really doing anything about it (Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to be working harder to avoid the issue than I’m working to avoid the gym). Mike Trout would do what Babe Ruth did for baseball following the Black Sox scandal of 1919–restore its integrity. Players like Trout are the ones who baseball needs to see more of to show that not everyone in the sport is corruptible.

Despite the Astros Cheating Scandal, Integrity Is Still Salvageable.

I’m a teacher by day, so this issue of cheating is something with which I’m familiar. So I’ll tell Major League Baseball the same thing I tell my students when it comes to cheating. Don’t cheat and you’ll have less to worry about in the long run. You cheat, and you’re guilty. Of course, there’s always the argument that it makes no difference if no one cares and lets it happen. Our current system of government certainly seems to be exemplifying that idea. That doesn’t mean those who strive for honesty should give up though. If anything, it’s a chance for them to step up and become an example of integrity.

Corrupt people hold onto power, but not forever. When they fall, society looks to someone who never gave in to that corruption. It’s in that instance that those who resisted corruption not only find validation, but are called upon to lead.

Sox add veteran experience with Lucroy signing

On Wednesday, Boston added some veteran experience behind the plate by signing catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a minor league deal for the 2020 season. Lucroy, a former all-star who has been on the decline, found himself without a squad as spring training began. Jonathan started 2019 with the LA Angels, before eventually being released after 75 games into the season and was quickly picked up by the Chicago Cubs for a brief stint to end the year. Sox manager Ron Roenicke is familiar with Lucroy’s play, as he coached him in Milwaukee for the first half of his career.

Although Lucroy was a solid name on the market, many were confused about why thelucroy signing club was adding another catcher to the organization. But with still plenty of time left remaining in spring training, this move might have a positive outcome for the Red Sox.

Added Experience

After 10 years in MLB, Lucroy has a lot of reps under his belt. His knowledge from his time in the league won’t just be helpful to catchers Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki, who have a combined 10 years of experience, but also the younger players on the Sox. With more holes in the 2020 roster than years past, Boston will have a lot of new faces in the lineup and a veteran presence could help these new or younger players in the clubhouse.

Consistency behind the plate

Besides his decrease in numbers at the plate, Lucroy has always been one of the better catchers defensively. He has already been seen down in Fort Myers catching a session for Chris Sale. Sale previously preferred Sandy Leon behind the dish over the rest of the Sox catchers. With Sandy Leon now out of town, maybe Lucroy can step in for the role as pitcher’s best friend.

Reviving the bat?

Christian Vazquez, who broke out in 2019 with a .279 BA and a career-high 23 HRs, has the starting position locked up. Due to this, there is no huge risk in the Lucroy signing as they aren’t looking for him to be the #1 guy. While Lucroy might be no competition to Vazquez, he has a huge opportunity to get a roster spot over Kevin Plawecki. Jonathan’s problem isn’t his defense but his struggling offense, as he has gone from hitting .280-.300 a year to .220-.240. He has shown his offensive potential in the past, as he could use his time on the Sox to get back to his former self.

After an offseason of losing key pieces, the Red Sox will look to mold the future of this organization and it may take some veterans to help the process. It should be interesting to see if Lucroy will make the opening day roster.

Red Sox sign Outfielder Kevin Pillar

The Boston Red Sox recently signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. This Pillar signing comes following the loss of Red Sox superstar, Mookie Betts, in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While this acquisition definitely helps lessen the damage resulting from the Dodgers trade, it does cause a problem in the outfield.Kevin Pillar
In the Betts trade, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, who had a very impressive rookie campaign with the Dodgers. This deal now leaves the Red Sox with five outfielders. (Martinez, Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar, Verdugo) Assuming Martinez is the designated hitter, where does that leave everyone else?

Managing Playing Time

Last season, Kevin Pillar had arguably his best offensive year, hitting .259 with 21 home runs. Where Pillar really shines, however, is defensively. He has been a finalist for Gold Glove in center field every year he has played in the majors. His defensive ability is arguably at the same caliber of Jackie Bradley Jr. For that reason, the Red Sox can balance playing time in center between the two. Pillar can start on days a left-handed pitcher is starting against them, and Bradley can start against right-handed pitchers. This same scenario could work with Verdugo instead of Bradley, as long a Pillar is comfortable in Fenway’s right field. Pillar is also a step above Bradley offensively, which makes him a good option to use as a pinch-hitter. However, I believe that, while this option is a good one, making a trade to free-up room for Pillar to play full time is a better option.

Trading Bradley now that we have Kevin Pillar

Trade rumors involving Jackie Bradley Jr. have been circulating this off-season. I believe that now, more than ever, Jackie Bradley Jr. should be traded. Bradley is still young, has loads of talent, and would be a good piece for any team that is looking to make a playoff push this season and needs help defensively. This move would create room for Pillar, who I believe is slightly better all-around than Bradley to become a full-time player. Verdugo would also become a full-time player, which is crucial for him in this stage of his career, as he is likely yet to reach his full potential in the big leagues. Not only that, but the Sox can finally try to get some decent pitching in return for Bradley. After getting nothing in terms of pitching in the Betts deal, it is crucial that the Sox pick-up at least one or two decent arms to strengthen our subpar pitching staff.

The signing of Kevin Pillar is something that Red Sox fans should be happy about during these dark days without Mookie Betts. However, if the organization doesn’t manage the outfield situation correctly, the team will not improve as much as it should.

The Blockbuster Trade Has Finally Happened

Last night, the Red Sox officially traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers. This blockbuster trade also included the Minnesota Twins, which is quite interesting. Even though Red Sox Nation knew it was a matter of time before Betts left, however, this blockbuster trade was still shocking.

With Spring Training a little over a week away, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. Weblockbuster trade still don’t have a manager, we’re down a started in the rotation, and there are still players in free agency. Plus, this trade will be lingering in everyone’s mind over the next few weeks. When the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom this past October, he had big shoes to fill, and a mess to clean up that was left behind by Dave Dombrowski.

The Breakdown of the Blockbuster Trade

The day after truck day, the Red Sox finally pulled off the trade, sending Betts and Price to the Dodgers, and receiving Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers. The Minnesota Twins were also in on this deal, trading Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox, and receiving Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. While reports last week said that the third team was the Padres, the Twins came out of nowhere in this deal. They sent one of their top prospects to Boston, and got a reliever from Los Angeles.

Maeda wasn’t the only Dodger traded yesterday, however. The Dodgers pulled off another deal, trading outfielder Joc Pederson to the LA Angels for second baseman Luis Rengifo. This trade was a strange one. You would think that Pederson would have been traded to Boston for Betts. However, that wasn’t the case.

The Newest Members of the Red Sox

The Red Sox received Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol in the trade that sent Betts and Price to the Dodgers. For Red Sox fans, these names might not be familiar, however, they soon will be.

Verdugo played in 106 games for the Dodgers in 2019. The 23 year old outfielder hit .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI’s. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2014 and made is MLB debut on September 1st 2017. He split time between AAA and the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018. In total, Verdugo has played in 158 MLB games, batting .282 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI’s.

Graterol, who is coming to Boston from Minnesota, is a 21 year old pitching prospect. He made his MLB debut with the Twins on September 1st 2019 against the Detroit Tigers. Graterol signed with the Twins in August 2014 as an international free agent. The right-handed relief pitcher from Venezuela pitched in 10 games in 2019, going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA.

David Price Tribute

After pitching in Boston for four seasons, Price is heading to the Dodgers. The 34 year old starter is 150-80 with a 3.31 ERA. He will be playing for his fifth team this upcoming season. Price made his MLB debut with the Tampa Bay Rays and then was traded to the Tigers and Blue Jays. In the offseason prior to the 2016 season, he signed a seven year $217 million contract with the Red Sox. In his four seasons with Boston, Price was 46-24 with a 3.84.

Price was the Comeback Player of the Year in 2018. He won the Cy Young Award in 2012, was elected to five All Star Games, and won his first World Series in 2018. Price had his struggles throughout his career, particularly in the postseason. The way he pitched in 2018, especially in game 5 of the World Series was amazing. He pitched seven innings in game 5, earning the win. Now, he will be a member of the Dodgers following this blockbuster trade.

Thank You Mookie Betts

On June 29th 2014 against the New York Yankees, a young ballplayer made his MLB debut for the Boston Red Sox. For the past six seasons, Red Sox fans have seen Mookie Betts patrolling right field at Fenway Park. Betts has been a Red Sox favorite since he came to the big leagues. He has a career .301 batting average, with 139 home runs, and 470 RBI’s. He’s a four time All Star, has four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. Mookie was the AL MVP back in 2018, where he not only had a great season, but led the Red Sox to their ninth World Series title. In 2019, he was selected to the All MLB Second Team.

Mookie will always be apart of Red Sox Nation. He will always be the four time All Star who patrolled Fenway’s outfield with excellence during his six years in Boston. Mookie did a lot during the 2018 season, including hitting for the cycle against Toronto at Rogers Centre. He also hit his 100th career home run before turning 26, becoming just the fourth Red Sox player to do it. The others – Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice and Ted Williams.

After months of rumors regarding Mookie Betts’ future in Boston, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that he was traded. The past few weeks, teams like the Dodgers and Padres were mentioned to be landing spots for the All Star right fielder. Now, he is almost officially a member of the LA Dodgers. It’s going to be hard to see him wear Dodger blue.

From the crack of the bat, to the flash of the glove, Red Sox Nation will always remember Markus Lynn Betts in a Red Sox uniform. One can only hope that he will one day come back to Boston. Thank you, Mookie.

The Weekly Wrap Up And Truck Day

Another week has gone by in Red Sox Nation, and the pot is slowly turning. Also, the day Red Sox Nation looks forward to is almost here. Truck Day, Fenway Park’s yearly event kicks off tomorrow, as they get ready for Spring Training. The Red Sox brought back Mitch Moreland for his fourth season in Boston this past week, while Brock Holt still is a free agent. The Red Sox are also still looking for a new manager following the Alex Cora resignation.

The rumors of Mookie Betts being traded intensified this past week. Teams like the Padrestruck day and Dodgers were mentioned on more than one occasion, but so far, Mookie is still in Boston. It was reported that the Red Sox offered him a ten year contract, whereas Betts wants a twelve year one. With Betts hitting free agency after this season, only time can tell what will happen. But first, Truck Day.

Truck Day 2020 Is One Day Away

Like every year since 2003, the Red Sox will be celebrating Truck Day. The day in which the truck is loaded up with equipment to head to Fort Myers for Spring Training. The Red Sox stated on Friday that the Truck Day festivities will begin around 7am, and end around 12pm. While many may not understand Truck Day, for Red Sox fans, it’s the unofficial start to the baseball season.

Like in years past, Wally and Tessie will be around to take pictures with fans, and be accompanied by the Fenway Ambassadors. Fans also will most likely be able to sign the truck, which will provide great reading material to those who will drive alongside it. The truck, which will contain 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 20 cases of gum, and other equipment, will be making a stop at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket on Monday afternoon after departing Fenway.

Red Sox Bring Back Moreland

A Red Sox reunion occurred this past week. First baseman Mitch Moreland will be back with the Red Sox for his fourth season. Moreland agreed to a one year deal worth $3 million, and it comes with a club option for 2021. The veteran stated in an interview that Boston feels like home. One thing that the Red Sox look forward to is seeing him become a mentor to Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec.

The 34 year old will be entering his 11th MLB Season in 2020. His first seven were with the Texas Rangers before he signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2017 season. This past season, he was only limited to 91 games, in which he batted .252 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI’s.

Where Will Mookie Land?

Or will he stay? That’s been the ongoing conversation that will never end. The Red Sox and Betts agreed to a one year $27 million deal to avoid arbitration a few weeks ago. However, the notion that he will test free agency after the 2021 season. Many speculate that he is going to want a contract similar to Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado, who both signed huge contract extensions last offseason to stay with the Angels and Rockies respectively.

It was reported that the Red Sox offered Betts a 10 year $300 million contract after last season. However, Betts stated that he was looking for a 12 year $420 million dollar contract. Since then, neither side has spoken about contract extensions. This week, it was also reported that the San Diego Padres were looking to make a deal for Betts, as were the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those rumors, including one that involves all three teams, are just rumors at the moment. Going into the 2020 season, Mookie Betts is still Boston’s right fielder.