Fenway Park's 100th anniversary team: Where do you put Ted Willams?
Fenway Park: Who are the best Red Sox players of the past 100 years? The Monitor goes outside the box to name its lineup.
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No-brainer selections, right? Well, not so fast.
If you voted in the online balloting for club’s All-Fenway Park 100th Anniversary Team then you know just how agonizing it was to complete the lineup card.
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The results, which the team announced during its final 2012 home game, should fuel some arguments, especially at certain positions. Left field in particular is a tough call given the presence of three Hall of Famers on the ballot: Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice.
Who would you choose?
Creating such a straight-laced, by-the-book ballot seems unnecessarily rigid, which is why the Monitor has scrapped it to name an All-Fenway team that takes some liberties in making out its lineup.
So here's our custom All-Fenway Park Centennial Team:
Right-handed pitcher – Roger Clemens
Obviously there’s potential for controversy here. Although cleared of perjury charges recently, Clemens hasn’t convinced everybody that he was “clean” throughout his 24-year career. But given that the All-Fenway team should be about what a player did in a Red Sox uniform, Clemens is our man. If he ever did take steroids, it allegedly wasn’t until long after he left Boston.
While some might argue that Pedro Martinez deserves the nod for stretches of white-hot pitching brilliance, Clemens deserves the edge with three Cy Young Awards while in Boston compared with Pedro’s two. Clemens also had three 20-win seasons to Pedro’s two. By the way, Cy Young himself pitched for the Red Sox and would be in the discussion had his career in Red Sox flannels not ended in 1908, four years before Fenway Park opened.
Left-handed pitcher – Babe Ruth
Making Babe the southpaw hurling selection might seem odd, but it’s really not. He started his career as a pitcher, and a very good one, and didn’t become a slugging outfielder until traded to the Yankees. With Boston, he turned in back-to-back seasons with 23 and 24 wins. His winning percentage during six seasons was .659 and his earned-run average an impressively low 2.19.
Fellow southpaw Lefty Grove made the Hall of Fame as a pitcher, but his greatest seasons came in the first part of 17-year career in which he played for the Philadelphia Athletics. In Ruth’s favor, it should be added, he had it all over Lefty as a hitting pitcher. In a Red Sox uniform, Ruth batted .300 or better four times, while Lefty’s best batting average during eight Boston seasons was a measly .162.
Catcher – Carlton Fisk