The historic non-star Boston Red Sox team
As we go deeper into this lockdown with the end still not in sight, as I mentioned before, I’m trying to incorporate some team history into this dead time. To that end, I decided I wanted to put together some sort of All-Star team, but only include players who had never made the All-Star Game as a member of the Boston Red Sox. So, to be clear, players could make an all-star game as a member of another team, but I only judge their careers by their performance with the Red Sox. Bonus points are added for players who spent a lot of time with the team versus someone who maybe had a good year or two with Boston before moving on.
As for some basic rules, for position players, they had to have spent at least 60% of the time at the given position to qualify, while starters had to start 60% of the games and relievers had to be in that position. role for 80% of their time. We also don’t include people whose careers ended before 1933, the year of the first All-Star Game. Yes, Cy Young is technically the best Red Sox pitcher ever on an all-star team, but that’s no fun.
I will also say that the quality of the players in this squad is actually a bit lower than I thought. It’s probably just a matter of my own expectations and lack of realization as to how many players make at least one All-Star Game. With that in mind, I didn’t choose a DH, although I did choose two pitchers each for the starting and relief spots. Finally, I would like to salute the Stathead tool from Baseball-Reference, which contributed to the smooth running of this project.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 2010-2013
I’ll start by happily reporting that I can still spell Saltalamacchia on my first try without looking it up, so it’s a skill I’ll probably die with. Salty, as he became affectionately known, was once among baseball’s top prospects, and after never quite reaching those projected heights, he was picked up by Boston in a deadline deal in 2010. After having played sparingly this season, he started to get more playing time over the next few seasons, his Boston career culminating with his best season on the plate in 2013, which was also the year he helped bring another ring to Fenway. Saltalamacchia was a better hitter than your typical catcher, although his defense kept him from really being a top catcher in his career. Still, he put together a 12-year career, which many players can’t say.
Dick Gernert, 1952-1959
It’s a winning case of longevity, as sorted by WAR Mike Napoli actually had a slight advantage here. But we’ll give this one to Gernert, who spent most of the 50s with the Red Sox, not always playing every day but always providing some right-handed pop in any role he played. The Red Sox liked Gernert taking advantage of the Monster, and he hit the 20-home run mark twice for the team. He came just short of that mark of his rookie year in 1952, finishing that season with 19 homers, but got some MVP love that season by finishing 25th in that voting. Gernert’s greatest fame is that he was part of the first interleague trade to go without a waiver when the Red Sox traded him to the Chicago Cubs before the 1960 season.
Jody Roseau, 1987-1992
Reed didn’t always play second base for the Red Sox, also getting some shortstop time to start his career, but he’s one of the best players this entire year. A doubles machine who had three consecutive seasons with at least 40 two-sacks, Reed finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1988 and 18th in MVP voting in 1990. He ultimately lost to the Rockies in Colorado newly formed in the expansion draft after the 1992 season, but never played there after being quickly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was there that he arguably had his greatest impact on Red Sox history. When Reed failed to re-sign with LA, the Dodgers decided to get infielder Delino DeShields, costing them a guy named Pedro Martinez. If Reed stays in LA, Martinez probably will too and who knows what kind of world we would be living in today.
Tim Naehring, 1990-1997
Naehring is unique in this exercise because he actually spent his entire career in Boston, albeit a short one. Originally drafted in 1988, the third baseman made his debut in 1990 but didn’t land an everyday role until the 1992 season. His performances in the ’90s for the Red Sox were all over the place , but there were a few great seasons, including the 1995 season when he hit .307/.415/.448. In fact, he was above average at home plate by OPS+ in each of his last three seasons, but after season-ending shoulder surgery in 1997, he decided to retire. He now helps the enemy as part of the front office of the New York Yankees.
Lake Eddie, 1943-1945
This was perhaps the hardest position to find in this entire draft as the Red Sox apparently didn’t have many midfield performers at shortstop. Lake was primarily a middle-of-the-road journeyman throughout his career, though he had a particularly strong season with Boston in which he led the league with a .412 OBP in 1945, earning the love of the MVP.
Troy O’Leary, 1995-2001
O’Leary holds a special place in my fandom for the simple fact that my older brother was oddly obsessed with the Red Sox left fielder when we were growing up. O’Leary was not this awesome compared to what my brother saw him, but he was a solid player for a long time who pulled off big rebounds in the 1999 playoffs. In 1996 he claimed the day-to-day role of left field, a job he occupied for about four seasons before seeing his playing time dwindle.
Gary Geiger, 1959-1965
It’s actually a bit of a surprise that Geiger didn’t make any All-Star games, because while his prime wasn’t very long, he had a few solid seasons. The bad news for him on that front is that his best season would probably have been the 1960 campaign in which he achieved 128 OPS+ in the first 77 games, but a collapsed lung ended his season prematurely. It was the first of four above-average seasons in which he played an almost day-to-day role for the team. Geiger’s career in Boston has been filled with bizarre medical issues like this, as well as being crushed into the wall, colliding with a teammate and bleeding ulcer, all in incidents distinct.
Trot Nixon, 1996-2006
My brother had O’Leary, but for me, Nixon was the player to cheer for the Red Sox, which is certainly something I had in common with many fans of the same age. One of the original Dirt Dogs, Nixon never lived up to his promise as a top-10 draft pick, but he had a long and solid career in the right field for the Red Sox. He really deserved more recognition than he got especially for his 2003 season in which he finished with a 149 OPS+, but maybe he was only a few years ahead of his time. He will still show up at Fenway from time to time, and always to loving applause.
Eduardo Rodriguez, 2015-2021
Hey, I know this guy. Rodriguez’s career has unfortunately been more often filled with frustration than praise, but he was a very solid starter for the Red Sox for much of his career, despite never fully getting over the hump in as a star level caster. Peripherals always suggest that might be the case and he might get there after signing with the Detroit Tigers, but he’s basically exactly the kind of player I had in mind when I started researching this .
Boyd oil can, 1982-1989
Early in Boyd’s career, it would have been a shock to think he would ever be on a roster like this, as his early-career showings with the Red Sox were pretty good. His best season was in 1985 when he pitched a whopping 272 innings with a 3.70 ERA, and he followed that up with another solid year in 1986 in which he helped the Red Sox advance to the World Series. He himself has even been frustrated several times during his career for not having made an All-Star team. Ultimately, however, he would be best known for one of the best nicknames in baseball history as well as some off-field drug and alcohol issues.
Mike Timlin, 2003-2008
Like Rodriguez, Timlin looks exactly like the type of player I had in mind for this draft. He was already nearing the end of his career when he signed to play in Boston for his 37-year-old season, but he found new life at Fenway. He never really got the shine he might have deserved during his best years in Boston as he stood behind great closers like Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon, but Timlin was a very man. effective that helped bring two rings to Boston, including playing a particularly important role in that 2004 run.
Sparky Lyle, 1967-1971
Lyle is actually best known for his time with the Yankees, when he not only made a few All-Star Games but also won a Cy Young. But before starting his career in New York, Lyle started his career pitching in the Boston bullpen and pitching quite well late innings for the Red Sox. He was traded shortly before the 1972 season to the Yankees in what would become one of the worst trades in Red Sox history. Lyle is one of the first big-name relievers in baseball history and the rare reliever to receive a Cy Young award.