Retired Red Sox Who Should Be in Cooperstown

Baseball fans from all walks of life love to debate which of their favorite non-Hall of Fame players should be enshrined in Cooperstown. Dodger fans want to see Gil Hodges and Maury Wills inducted. Mets fans want to see Davey Johnson in the Hall of Fame. Fans of the Negro Leagues want Buck O’Neil inducted for his contributions to baseball. But which  retired Red Sox players should be inducted in the Hall of Fame who haven’t made it in yet? Let’s take a look at the top three who the BBWAA voters have slighted over the years.

Retired Red Sox Star Pitcher Luis Tiant

There’s probably no one more deserving to be in the Hall of Fame than Luis Tiant. He wonretired red sox 229 games throughout his career. In his 1964 Major League debut against the New York Yankees, Tiant allowed only four hits (all singles). He also struck out eleven in the 3-0 debut shutout. Overall, he was a three-time All-Star and two-time ERA leader with 49 career shutouts. But his masterful performance in the 1975 World Series is what Red Sox fans remember him best for going 2-0, one of which was a shutout against the Reds. His numbers are better than many Hall of Fame pitchers and for that he should be a Hall of Famer.

Red Red Sox Star Outfielder Dwight Evans

His omission from Cooperstown is one of the more glaring mistakes the BBWAA has made in the last thirty years. Evans was a three-time All-Star, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner during his twenty-year career. He also accumulated over 2400 hits and slugged 385 home runs. His defense alone should have gotten serious consideration. The fact that was an offensive powerhouse too is why fans feel his absence in Cooperstown.

Retired Red Sox Star Infielder Johnny Pesky

I’ll admit that arguing that Pesky should be inducted is a little tougher than Tiant and Evans’ calls for induction. Pesky only played between 1942-1954. Pesky served three of those years in the military during World War II. He barely had any power either; he only hit 17 home runs in his career. But he accumulated 620 hits in his first three seasons in the Majors with 205, 208, and 207 hits, respectively. He coached some of the greatest Red Sox players in history, including Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Johnny Damon. His hitting, coaching abilities, and legendary status in Boston, while not the strongest case for induction, make it hard to ignore him.

Red Sox Outfielder Fred Lynn

Lynn didn’t play for the Red Sox for his entire career. He did, however, achieve some of his best numbers while in Boston. Lynn won both the MVP, Rookie of the Year Awards in 1975, while also collecting a Gold Glove and making an All-Star appearance. Overall, he was a nine-time All-Star who hit 306 home runs during his seventeen-year career. While his numbers don’t quite rival those in the Hall of Fame, his rookie year accomplishments alone should have gotten him more consideration.

Retired Red Sox Stars Find Ways To Give Back

I recently started work on an article about Carl Yastrzemski and his days with the Red Sox. As part of my research I’ve interviewed some of Yaz’s teammates including Bill Lee, Fred Lynn, and Jim Lonborg, among others. In exchange for their time, I offered to make a donation to a charity of their choice. While many asked for donations to The Jimmy Fund, I thought Lynn and Lonborg’s requests were unique. These charities have a personal meaning to these retired Red Sox players.

Last February 1967 Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg invited me to his home to talk about Yaz. Afterwards, heretired Red Sox told me about a charity his wife, Rosemary, co-founded and directs called Learn, Live, Love. This charity focuses on providing different kinds of assistance to female cancer patients and their families in Massachusetts. In addition to her efforts with the charity, she works at Fragile Footprints Pediatric Palliative Care, Plymouth, MA. Jim also works for the charity as the treasurer. You can learn more about Learn, Live, Love at learnlivelove.org.

Fred Lynn, the 1975 AL MVP, and I met at the Hotel Commonwealth on Good Friday and spent about an hour discussing Red Sox history. I asked Lynn about a week before our meeting which charity he’d like me to donate to. Lynn texted me the info for a charity called The Face Foundation in San Diego, CA. “We have saved over 1,600 animals in about 5 years,” Lynn added. The website states that “The FACE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for San Diego animal owners who are unable to afford the cost of their pets’ emergency veterinary care.” If you’d like to learn more about The Face Foundation, check out their website at face4pets.org.

Retired Red Sox Players Aren’t The Only Ones Who Give Back

In addition to retired Red Sox players, I also spoke to former Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Denny McLain, the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season. He asked me to donate to the Michigan Parkinson Foundation for his wife, Sharon, who is fighting the disease. Former Red Sox players Jim Gosger and Ted Lepcio both asked me to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Rico Petrocello and Bill Lee asked for donations to The Jimmy Fund while Galen Cisco asked for a donation to the St. Mary’s Foundation in Ohio.

These players were tremendously helpful to me as I did my research on Carl Yastrzemski. The very least that could be done in exchange for their time was to make a donation. While some of them told me it wasn’t necessary, they all expressed their sincere thanks. I’m the one, however, who owes them all the thanks.