Monday, February 27, 2012

Catchers and First Basemen

A new voting category opened today for the All-Fenway team over at FenwayPark100. Now we can vote on the best first baseman, and best catcher in team history.

For catcher, the candidates are: Rick Ferrell, Carlton Fisk, Rich Gedman, Birdie Tebbetts, Jason Varitek, and Sammy White. Even though Rick Ferrell is on the Hall of Fame, I think this argument really comes down to Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek. If you look over the career numbers for catchers with the Sox, those two dominate the lists. Even though Fisk is in the Hall of Fame, and Varitek probably won’t be, I have to give the nod to Tek. His career numbers with the Sox are at least as good, if not better, that Fisk’s. And, he didn’t bolt the team the first chance he got. I’m going to count that for something.

At first base, the candidates are: Bill Buckner, Jimmie Foxx, Stuffy McInnis, George Scott, Mo Vaughn, and Kevin Youkilis. Of the group, only Foxx is in the Hall of Fame. I can’t vote for Youkilis since he’s played less than 600 games at first. Really, it’s a pretty clear choice. Foxx is the best first baseman the Sox have ever had.

Who’d you vote for?


  1. If I'm remembering correctly, Fisk leaving the Sox wasn't all on him. From what I remember, the Red Sox were playing games and then missed the deadline to tender contracts to both Fisk and Lynn. That's what made them free agents, not Fisk not wanting to re-sign with the team. Yes, he could have come back to the Sox after that, but you'd have to think that he would feel that the BoSox didn't want him at that point. Fisk should win this vote in a landslide, but I have a feeling that Tek will get the sentimental vote.

    I wouldn't even put Tek that far ahead of Gedman. Tek had more power, but it was also in a different era. Neither hit for high average and called good games. Tek caught no-hitters and Gedman caught a 20K game. Gedman also had a much better arm than Tek's noodle arm. That's got to be taken into consideration as well.

  2. Yeah, there was the whole postmark mess. It's not like I'm cursing Fisk forever for bolting. But, if he had wanted to live out a dream of playing for the Sox forever, he could have. I think Tek's Sox career numbers are at or near the top of most categories. That's why I gave him the nod.

  3. Gammons tweeted this recently:

    Fisk @ Bos. C:11 Yrs, .284 162 HR 568 RBI .837 OPS 126 OPS+
    Varitek 15 Yrs. .256 193 HR 614 RBI .776 OPS 98 OPS+

    Fisk probably would have surpassed Tek in HR if he had played the same number of seasons here, plus his were hit in a completely different era. Same goes for RBI. Where you really see the difference is in AVG, OPS and OPS+. I can't find Gedman's stats exclusive to Boston, but here are his career stats including some terrible years in the NL:

    Gedman 13 yrs. .252 88 HR 382 RBI .703 OPS 90 OPS+
    Varitek 15 Yrs. .256 193 HR 614 RBI .776 OPS 98 OPS+

    Add in Gedman's much better defense and I still maintain that Varitek is much closer in talent to Geddy than he is to Fisk.

  4. Catcher is a tough position to grade out. You have to be good at a lot of things that don't show up in a box score. I agree that Tek is close to Fisk but I'd go with Fisk because my memory is that Fisk was a hitter you had to respect. I never got the impression that any opposting team felt the need to be careful or to pitch around Tek.

  5. Fisk was probably the better player. HOFer and all. But, I still think Tek was the better Sox


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