Monday, March 26, 2012

Shortstop, Bench, and Bullpen

Today, yet another voting opportunity has opened over at FenwayPark100 to vote for the All-Fenway team. Today, voting opens for the best shortstop, bench player, and bullpen in Fenway history. Let’s start at short.

The nominees for shortstop are Rick Burleson, Joe Cronin, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Pesky, Rico Petrocelli, and Everett Scott. A quick check tells me that one person on that list is in the baseball Hall of Fame. Joe Cronin. That would be an easy choice, were it not for the wild card. Nomar. Ten years ago this would have been an easy choice. Nomar was the best shortstop in the history of the team. He would eventually be one of the best two or three players to ever wear the uniform. Then something happened on his way to Cooperstown. But, did enough happen before that? I say yes. A look at the career numbers for the Sox sees Cronin and Nomar at the top of most of the lists. You also see Nomar’s name above Cronin’s on most of those lists. Add that to the feeling of dominance that Nomar gave when he was in the game, and I have to give the nod to him.

The nominees for bench player are an interesting group. The nominees are Jerry Adair, Bernie Carbo, Alex Cora, Billy Goodman, Dalton Jones, John Kennedy, Ted Lepico, Rick Miller, Dave Roberts, and Dave Stapleton. I know I’m probably not supposed to put too much thought into this, but I have to wonder what I’m supposed to pick here. I have one bench player. And, this bench player is not a great player. Yaz isn’t on the list, for instance. So, the question is, obviously, which trait do I most want to utilize in a pinch. If I get to the ninth inning do I want Dave Stapleton on the bench to put in for defensive help? Bernie Carbo for a late three-run homer? Alex Cora because he can play anywhere? I think the answer I have is the same one I gave eight years ago. The one thing that the 2003 Red Sox had that the 2004 Sox did not was Damian Jackson. They didn’t have the guy who could steal a base when everyone knew they were stealing. If there was a leadoff single, they didn’t have the guy to put in to turn that into a double. Until, of course, they traded for Dave Roberts. I think that’s the most important trait to have sitting waiting for you to use. That’s why Dave Roberts is getting my vote.

Finally we have the bullpen. The nominees are Ike Delock, Tom Gordon, Ellis Kinder, Derek Lowe, Sparky Lyle, Jonathan Papelbon, Dick Radatz, Jeff Reardon, Bob Stanley, and Mike Timlin. The position is called “bullpen” not “closer.” If I only have one guy in my pen, I want a horse. I don’t want the modern closer or set-up guy. So, I’m dropping Pap and Timlin. Reardon only played three years in Boston. Hard to vote for him. My gut says Dick Radatz. Any guy who can win 30 games over two years, out of the pen has to be a good bullpen guy to have. But…he only player 4.5 years for the Sox. Hard to compare that to someone like Bob Stanley who had 13 seasons in Fenway doing a little bit of everything. Yes, I know. He blew the 1986 Series. But, I still think his body of work makes him the best relief pitcher in Fenway.

So, three tough calls this time. The opposite of the last voting period. Really, you could probably talk me out of any of the three selections. Although, you’d have to really work to make me switch off Dave Roberts.

Who you got?

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