Monday, March 28, 2005

I was thinking about retired numbers today. I've always thought that the Red Sox policy on retiring numbers was too tough (the Celtics policy is too easy, but that's another entry). They only numbers they've retired in over 100 years belong to Hall of Famers: numbers 1 (Bobby Doerr), 4 (Joe Cronin), 8 (Carl Yastrzemski), 9 (Ted Williams), and 27 (Carlton Fisk), plus Jackie Robinson's number 42.

I think there is room on the right field facade for some other Red Sox greats who might not have been Hall of Famers, but were all-time Red Sox legends. Here are my four nominees:

Johnny Pesky: If anyone is "Mr. Red Sox", it would have to be Johnny Pesky. He played for the Sox for 8 years (losing 3 seasons to serve in World War II) and then filled practically every role with the team after that. Johnny is a Boston legend and has contributed as much to the Sox as anyone. Pesky will be 86 in September, and it would be nice if the Sox would do this while he's still around to enjoy it.

Jim Rice: Rice is one of the greatest players in Red Sox history. He played his entire career in Boston. Jim Ed is the Sox 3rd all-time home run hitter and continued the left field legacy he inherited from Ted Williams and Yaz. And if I had a vote, he'd be in the Hall of Fame.

Dwight Evans: He hit only three fewer home runs than Rice, and was probably the greatest defensive right fielder the Red Sox have ever had. 19 years with the Red Sox deserves that kind of recognition.

Tony Conigliaro: Tony C. is almost the cliche choice here. If he hadn't been beaned by Jack Hamilton and had otherwise remained healthy, he could have been a Hall of Famer. The fact that he's a local guy (from Lynn) helps, too.

So, come on, Red Sox. Let's add numbers 6, 14, 24 and 25 to the list of Red Sox retired numbers.


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