Thursday, February 15, 2007 ran a fun Red Sox fan survey in conjunction with Valentine's Day. The survey was to pick the most beloved Red Sox players since 1967, by position, plus the most beloved player overall. Here are the fans picks, plus my own choices.

Fans pick: Jason Varitek
My pick: Carlton Fisk

I can't argue with the fans picking 'Tek, but Pudge played as hard as Varitek in his heyday, and was an even better player. Fisk probably would have played his whole career with the Red Sox if then-General Manager Heywood Sullivan hadn't sent out his contract late, making him a free agent who was eventually signed by the White Sox. Of course, he gets kudos from me for his immortal 12th inning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

First Base:
Fans pick: Mo Vaughn
My pick: Mo Vaughn

Mo got more than half the fans vote, over players such as George Scott and Kevin Millar. I was always a big fan of Mo's. He was such a dynamic personality when he was here - kind of the Big Papi of the '90s, without as many clutch hits. It was a shame how his career went downhill, mostly due to injury, after he left the Sox as a free agent. 4.9% of the nearly 29,000 voters were in a charitable mood and voted for Bill Buckner.

Second Base:
Fans pick: Jerry Remy
My pick: Jerry Remy

I think the RemDawg won more on the strength of his role as beloved color man on NESN than for his playing days, but no matter. The only other real contender was Marty Barrett, and he was never all that lovable.

Fans pick: Nomar Garciaparra
My pick: Nomah

I was happy to see that Nomar got some love from the fans. Until he started to break down with injuries, he was the best shortstop, and one of the best righthanded hitters, I have seen in my years of watching the Sox. Orlando Cabrera made quite an impression, getting 12.8% of the vote despite only playing here for half of the magical 2004 season. He finished just behind Rico Petrocelli in third place.

Third Base:
Fans pick: Bill Mueller
My pick: Bill Mueller

Despite the presence of Hall of Famer and multiple time batting champion Wade Boggs in the poll, the rock steady professionalism of Mueller won the day. All the crap that went on with Boggs and Margo Adams no doubt hurt his standing with the fans.

Designated Hitter other than Big Papi:
Fans pick: Don Baylor
My pick: Who Cares? decided that David Ortiz would win in such a landslide, they declared him the winner and had a poll for second place. Baylor, the DH on the 1986 AL champions won, but I can't say I have warm fuzzy feelings about any of the candidates (Cecil Cooper, Reggie Jefferson, Mike Easler and Jose Canseco were the others).

Left field:
Fans pick: Carl Yastrzemski
My pick: Yaz, of course

Yaz had nearly 63% of the vote in a very strong field that included Manny Ramirez, Jim Rice and Mike Greenwell. Inexplicably, 1.3% of the voters picked Troy O'Leary instead of one of these guys. Yaz was my favorite player growing up (and still is!), so it's cool to see him win in a landslide.

Center field:
Fans pick: Fred Lynn
My pick: Fred Lynn

I was a bit surprised Johnny Damon didn't get more support, but signing a contract with the Yankees will do that to you.

Right field:
Fans pick: Dwight Evans
My pick: Dwight Evans

Evans may have had the best arm I ever saw in the outfield - he made some phenomenal throws from right field. He also made an unforgettable catch in the top of the 12th inning in Game 6 in 1975 off Joe Morgan to set up Fisk's heroics in the bottom of the inning.

Relief pitcher:
Fans pick: A virtual tie between Derek Lowe and Rich "El Guapo" Garces
My pick: Bob Stanley

I was tempted to pick El Guapo, but I was always a fan of the Steamer. Stanley pitched a lot of games for a long time for the Sox.

Unsung hero:
Fans pick: Dave Roberts, The Steal
My pick: Bernie Carbo, 1975 game 6 home run

This may have been my toughest choice. It was obvious the overwhelming pick would be Roberts, but I thought Carbo fit the definition of "unsung" better. Everyone remembers Fisk, but his home run wouldn't have happened without the three run homer Carbo hit to tie the game.

Fans pick: Terry Francona
My pick: Joe Morgan

The first Red Sox manager to win a World Series in 86 years certainly deserves the love, but Joe Morgan will always be my favorite Red Sox manager. I met him on several occassions as a kid when he managed the Pawsox, and I was thrilled when he got the Red Sox job after John McNamara was fired in 1988. The fact that he led the Sox to the historic run known as "Morgan Magic" and the team won the AL East that season was just icing on the cake. Surprisingly, Grady Little got 4.4% of the vote.

Starting pitcher:
Fans pick: Pedro Martinez
My pick: Pedro Martinez

Who else would you pick? For the seven years he spent here, there has never been a greater pitcher wearing a Red Sox uniform than Pedro, not even Roger Clemens. picked the top four, which included Roger, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. As much as I like Wake, Luis Tiant would have replaced him in my starting rotation.

Most beloved overall:
Fans pick: David Ortiz
My pick: Carl Yastrzemski

As much as I love Yaz, I can't argue with Big Papi.


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