Joshua Patrick "Josh" Beckett (born May 15, 1980 in Spring, Texas) is a right-handed starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. From 2001 through 2005, Beckett played for the Florida Marlins. He was traded to the Red Sox before the 2006 season. With his 2003 World Series MVP award, he is yet another Red Sox player with the postseason blood of the New York Yankees on his cleats. After a stellar postseason performance in 2007, some sportswriters are referring to him as the greatest postseason pitcher of all time.
A native of Spring, Texas, Beckett has grown to become one of the premier young pitchers in the major leagues. Drafted second overall by the Florida Marlins in the 1999 Amateur Draft, he is a hard-thrower, wielding a 97-mph fastball, a consistently 90 mph changeup, and a 12-to-6 curveball, which is particularly evil and ranges in the mid-to-high 70 mph range. His career thus far has been impressive, but injuries (most of the time blister problems on his pitching hand) have limited him to only 103 starts (106 appearances) during his 4-plus-year tenure with the Marlins.
Josh Beckett was named Minor League Player of the Year in 2001 which is awarded anually by [I]The Sporting News[/I]. He started the 2001 minor league season with the Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League (Level High-A). He pitched 65.2 IP, allowing just 32 hits while walking just 15 batters and striking out 101 (13.84 K/9) with an ERA of 1.23. He was then promoted to AA Portland where he continued to dominate minor league hitters. He pitched 74.1 IP, allowing 50 hits, walking 19 and striking out 102 (12.35 K/9) with an ERA of 1.82. After those strong showings he was promoted straight to the majors skipping over AAA all together. In the majors he pitched 24 innings, allowing 14 hits, walking 11 batters, striking out 24 and finished with a 1.50 ERA.
Beckett did show up when it mattered, however. He lost Game 1 of the 2003 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, but in that game he pitched 7 innings of 2-hit ball, giving up just one run while striking out nine.
He had a tough first inning in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, but the Marlins covered his ass and won the game while he escaped with 5 Ks and a no-decision. Game 5 was his coming-out performance, striking out 11 as he pitched a two-hit complete game shutout in front of 65,279 at Pro Player Stadium. He then finished the Cubs with 4 innings of one-hit relief to seal the deal for the Marlins.
In the World Series, he got into two pitchers' duels, losing Game 3 to Mike Mussina despite giving up only 2 earned runs and 3 hits on 10 Ks in 7 1/3 innings, while winning the deciding Game 6 over Andy Pettitte with a five-hit, nine-K complete game shutout to earn World Series MVP honors.
His most productive season came in 2005, when he posted career-highs in wins (15), starts (29), innings (178.2), strikeouts (166) and WHIP (1.18), as he tossed in a sharp 3.38 ERA for good measure. He also hadn't won more than 10 games until the past campaign.
Added to a legacy of minor injuries, making two more trip to the 15 day DL (the 8th and 9th of his career). June 17 (retroactive to June 15) with a blister on his right middle finger and July 8 (retroactive to July 6) with a strained left oblique.
He hit his first career home run on September 8 at Washington off of John Patterson.
In a deal that was made official on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, Beckett was traded to the Red Sox along with third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota for minor league prospects shortstop Hanley Ramírez and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia. This concluded a 72-hour medical clearance period.
He signed a three year, $30-million contract extension on July 19th, 2006 with the Sox. It includes a $12-million club option for 2010 that becomes automatic if he makes 28 starts in 2009 or 56 total starts in 2008 and 2009. It didn't help his numbers that year any, as he finished with a 16-11 record and a 5.01 ERA, with 158 K/78 BB.
Beckett recovered from a lackluster 2006 by becoming the only 20-game winner in the Majors in 2007. With his 20-7 record, he made drastic improvements in his ERA (3.26), strikeouts (194) and walks (40).
If there was any doubt that 2003-postseason Josh Beckett was back, they were erased in the 2007 Playoffs. So far in the postseason, he's only given up 3 ER over 23 IP in 3 starts (3-0), including a four-hit, eight-K, zero-BB CGSO in ALDS Game 1. In his two wins in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians, he has scattered nine hits, struck out 18 and walked only one, earning him ALCS MVP honors.
After dominating Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, throwing 9 K and giving up only one run in 7 IP, Beckett has again proven his worth as a postseason ace.
Beckett's Moments in the Sun
- Beckett achieved fame in the 2003 postseason by winning the World Series MVP Award. In Game 6 on only three days' rest he pitched a five-hit, nine-strikeout shutout, silencing the 55,773 fans at Yankee Stadium. Teamed up with star catcher Iván Rodríguez, he helped the Marlins win the World Series over the favored Yankees, 4 games to 2.
- In the 2003 NLCS against the Chicago Cubs he pitched a two-hit, 11-strikeout shutout in Game 5, preventing the Marlins from being eliminated. They won the next game (the Bartman game), and Beckett helped them win Game 7 with 4 innings of one-hit relief (he allowed only a solo home run to Troy O'Leary).
- Started the 2007 season winning all 7 of his first 7 starts.
- Josh Beckett became the first Red Sox pitcher to hit a homerun in nearly 35 years, since the advent of the designated hitter, when he took Phillies pitcher Brett Myers deep during an interleague game on May 20th, 2006.
- Dated lingerie model Leann Tweeden, of Best Damn Sports Show Period fame. Also dated Danielle Peck, who lives near Cleveland and was invited to sing the National Anthem before Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS. He's grateful that MLB gave his good friend a free ticket to the game.
- Introduced us to the term spootenator.
- 2-time American League All-Star (2007, 2009)
- 2007 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player
- 2003 World Series Most Valuable Player
- 2003 National League Babe Ruth Award
- Was nominated for the Sporting News Good Guy Award in 2002
- 2001 USA Today Minor League Player of the Year
- Was named the top high school prospect in the country by Baseball America in 1999
- 2007 American League Wins Leader (20)
Red Sox Firsts
- Game: April 5, 2006 as P
- Pitching Appearance: April 5, 2006
- Pitching Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
- Strikeout: April 5, 2006, Brad Wilkerson
- Start: April 5, 2006
- Win: April 5, 2006
- Save: None
- Plate Appearance: May 20, 2006, fly out, 3rd inning
- Hit: May 20, 2006, 7th inning, off Brett Myers
- Home Run: May 20, 2006, 7th inning, off Brett Myers
- Stolen Base: None
- June 2, 1999: Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 1st round (2nd pick) of the 1999 amateur draft. Player signed September 1, 1999.
- November 24, 2005: Traded by the Florida Marlins with Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia (minors), and Jesus Delgado (minors).