Greatest Redsox (pure) Hitters of all time

bakahump

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So who is your top 11. (or 6 if your too busy)

I dont believe there will be much debate about Williams at 1. After that??? Boggs? Yaz? Papi? Manny? Rice? Speaker? Evans? Foxx?


Mine (though I am sure some of you will bring up names I totally missed).

2. Boggs
3. Manny
4. Papi
5. Evans
6. Yaz
7. Nomar
8. Foxx
9. Rice
10. Doerr
11. Vaughn
 

bankshot1

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In his 5 seasons with the Sox, 1958-62, Pete Runnels was Boggs-lite, a singles doubles guy with a slash of .320/408/.427 and won a couple of batting titles in the early 60s.
 

bakahump

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I thought about Speaker but recency bias won out (even with my addition of Foxx).
 

E5 Yaz

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Doesn't it depend on the definition of "pure" hitter? Yaz and Evans, just to name two of this eon your list, each said they weren't natural hitters and were constantly working on their mechanics for the length of their careers. They each went through what seemed like a dozen stances -- Evans, sometimes, in the middle of a game.
 
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Doesn't it depend on the definition of "pure" hitter? Yap and Evans, just to name two of this eon your list, each said they weren't natural hitters and were constantly working on their mechanics for the length of their careers. They each went through what seemed like a dozen stances -- Evans, sometimes, in the middle of a game.
Yeah, Evans made himself into a very good hitter, but there never felt anything "natural" about it. Boggs, other other hand, it just seemed second nature.
 

Sir Lancelotti

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He probably would hover outside the top10 , but Greenwell screamed pure hitter from the moment he arrived. .303 lifetime, good BB/k ratio, and as pretty of a swing as anyone that ever wore the uniform. He seems like one of those guys who if he had come around 20 years later really would have benefited from a launch angle mechanical tweak . I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player hit so many 380 foot warning track fly outs right on the screws.
 

Ale Xander

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I wouldn't say Boggs is an all-time great natural hitter. He certainly was a great natural seer. Bonds/Williams combined the eyesight with great hitting.
 

E5 Yaz

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What the hell are you talking about?
Lacked home run power and wasn't great at hitting outside the zone (didn't swing at them which is a nod in his favor though)
"Boggs was what we call a 'pure hitter,' in a class with Stan Musial, Rod Carew, George Brett and Tony Gwynn. ... He was as good a pure hitter as I've ever seen." -- Johnny Pesky
 

bakahump

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I may have used the wrong term. I meant Best Hitter (all Around) with out regard to Defense, speed, fielding etc. I know the "Hitter" part should preclude this....but Silver Sluggers (or Gold Gloves conversely) should go to the best hitter regardless of Defense. (as GG should go to best fielders...).

Too often when comparing players like this "we" (fans...not necessarily SOSH) let one side bleed over.

But feel free to have a"Pure" hitter list. Or a "Best hitter List". Its strange times so any discussion is good discussion.

Bill Mueller was a nice pure hitter. I also always loved Mike Stanleys swing (for some weird Reason...almost as weird as me remembering it). But obviously neither guy belongs on this list.
 

Toe Nash

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To me, "pure hitter" means someone who hits the ball hard, lots of line drives and doesn't rely on walks or homers to be valuable. So, they would have a high BABIP and a high BA and not go deep into counts -- they're up there looking for a pitch they can hit hard and they'll probably do so. Nor do they rely on speed to grind out infield hits (sorry Ichiro).

To me the best example of this on the Sox is Nomar. Kirby Puckett, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew would be other examples.

But, it's probably unfair to guys like Boggs and Williams, who were just as good at hitting balls hard but more selective - and were overall more valuable because they went deeper into counts and drew more walks.
 

nighthob

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I would hope that everyone would just know that Papi referred to Papius Maximus and not the guy we traded Bill Lee for.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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He probably would hover outside the top10 , but Greenwell screamed pure hitter from the moment he arrived. .303 lifetime, good BB/k ratio, and as pretty of a swing as anyone that ever wore the uniform. He seems like one of those guys who if he had come around 20 years later really would have benefited from a launch angle mechanical tweak . I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player hit so many 380 foot warning track fly outs right on the screws.
My recollection of Greenwell was that although he had a nice swing, he was a bit of a hacker and would often put pitches in play that he couldn't do much with.
 

SoxInTheMist

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Evans wouldn't be on my list. Look at how many different types of stances and swings and approaches he had to go through and constantly re-invent himself to stay in the game. It was awesome and admirable but it doesn't scream 'pure'.

Boggs on the other hand went an entire calendar year without hitting a pop-up. He's certainly in the top 5
 

DourDoerr

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I'd put Rice and Nomar ahead of Evans and Yaz. I agree with BMHH on early Evans, and Yaz - great hitter that he was - was always tinkering with his stance (can that left elbow go any higher?), as if he was forever in search of that groove that a pure hitter must feel from the get go. Evans brings up a point since he found his stance later than usual, but then excelled with it and IIRC didn't monkey around after that. Can you become a pure hitter?

As for as Rice and Nomar - it seemed like they were wound up and could hit from Day 1. Both had incredible wrists and hit the ball hard. Always liked Fred Lynn's swing too if that's a primary consideration.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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My recollection of Greenwell was that although he had a nice swing, he was a bit of a hacker and would often put pitches in play that he couldn't do much with.
Definitely no hacker in the usual sense -- he didn't lack plate discipline. He was slightly above league average in BB rate and *way* below league average in K rate during his career. He had a BB/K rate of well over 1, which was a little more common then than it is now because it was a low-K era, but still not that common.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Just to be that guy, and make this a statistical thing -- if "pure hitter" simply means "hitter", in a comprehensive sense and excluding defense and baserunning, wRC+ is a really really good measure of this. Here's a top 10 in wRC+ with at least 3000 PA in a Sox uniform:

Ted Williams, 188
Tris Speaker, 163
Manny Ramirez, 154
Jimmie Foxx, 151
David Ortiz, 146
Fred Lynn, 142
Wade Boggs, 142
Mo Vaughn, 136
Mookie Betts, 135
Nomar Garciaparra, 134

Some of the guys mentioned above are farther down the list: Yaz, 130; Dewey, 129; Rice, 128; Greenwell, 118.

Youk comes close to making the cut as well, at 130.
 

Bergs

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Just to be that guy, and make this a statistical thing -- if "pure hitter" simply means "hitter", in a comprehensive sense and excluding defense and baserunning, wRC+ is a really really good measure of this. Here's a top 10 in wRC+ with at least 3000 PA in a Sox uniform:

Ted Williams, 188
Tris Speaker, 163
Manny Ramirez, 154
Jimmie Foxx, 151
David Ortiz, 146
Fred Lynn, 142
Wade Boggs, 142
Mo Vaughn, 136
Mookie Betts, 135
Nomar Garciaparra, 134

Some of the guys mentioned above are farther down the list: Yaz, 130; Dewey, 129; Rice, 128; Greenwell, 118.

Youk comes close to making the cut as well, at 130.
Only one Red Sox player appears on the list of top 16 single season wRC+ since 1961 - almost 60 years. I assume I don't have to tell anyone here who and in what year.

Note: As an aside, Barry Bonds is on that top 16 list SIX TIMES, 2 pre-steroids, 4 post. He will always get my vote as the best player of all time.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Definitely no hacker in the usual sense -- he didn't lack plate discipline. He was slightly above league average in BB rate and *way* below league average in K rate during his career. He had a BB/K rate of well over 1, which was a little more common then than it is now because it was a low-K era, but still not that common.
I couldn't find any old scouting reports and it's difficult to make an analysis based on the stats I could find. Pitches per AB would be interesting, but I couldn't find it for Greenwell. I believe the extremely low Ks and the moderate production indicates he wasn't always swinging at good hitter's pitches.

How about Nomar? I'm out in California so I saw fewer of his ABs than you NE guys, but I was frustrated when he would swing at the first pitch and hit a weak grounder off of a pitch that might not have even in the strike zone.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I couldn't find any old scouting reports and it's difficult to make an analysis based on the stats I could find. Pitches per AB would be interesting, but I couldn't find it for Greenwell. I believe the extremely low Ks and the moderate production indicates he wasn't always swinging at good hitter's pitches.
Yeah, that's quite possible. There's a difference between plate discipline and good pitch selection. Greenwell never seemed like a super strategic kind of hitter.

How about Nomar? I'm out in California so I saw fewer of his ABs than you NE guys, but I was frustrated when he would swing at the first pitch and hit a weak grounder off of a pitch that might not have even in the strike zone.
Nomar was a true hacker. In every full season with the Red Sox, he was among the bottom 5 in the AL in P/PA, and was a full half run below league average for his career. In 2004, when the AL average P/PA was 3.78, his Red Sox rate was 2.93 -- for comparison, the official lowest rate in the league that year was Vlad Guerrero at 3.16. Obviously it worked OK for him, but that's pretty extreme.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Yeah, I always dreamed of Nomar getting a copy of Williams' book about hitting. He preached about working the count to get the best possible pitch to hit. He claimed that he never swung at the first pitch and told a story about a pitcher being pissed off after Williams actually hit a homer off of a first pitch.

Williams was a big fan of Nomar and compared him to the greatest hacker of all time, DiMaggio. I read an article where he was raving about Nomar and it ended with, "Let's hope he stays healthy".
 

jhp64

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Only one Red Sox player appears on the list of top 16 single season wRC+ since 1961 - almost 60 years. I assume I don't have to tell anyone here who and in what year.
You can't fool me: it was Julio Lugo, right? 2007?
 

Kliq

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To me, "pure hitter" means someone who hits the ball hard, lots of line drives and doesn't rely on walks or homers to be valuable. So, they would have a high BABIP and a high BA and not go deep into counts -- they're up there looking for a pitch they can hit hard and they'll probably do so. Nor do they rely on speed to grind out infield hits (sorry Ichiro).

To me the best example of this on the Sox is Nomar. Kirby Puckett, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew would be other examples.

But, it's probably unfair to guys like Boggs and Williams, who were just as good at hitting balls hard but more selective - and were overall more valuable because they went deeper into counts and drew more walks.
I heard pure hitter and thought "complete hitter" meaning someone that could hit for average, hit for power, and also be smart enough to know when to lay off pitches, as that is a big part of hitting. Behind Ted, I'd pick Manny, just an incredible all-around hitter, a true hitting machine that had almost no weaknesses at the plate.

At the end of his career, Ortiz had just an incredible batter's eye. Look at how his strikeout range plunges towards the last few years of his career. He just did not swing at many pitches outside of the zone and forced pitchers to give him pitches he could hit. That is why he was able to still produce even as his body was breaking down. It was also why he had such a hard time with bad umpiring; he knew exactly when a pitch was a strike or not.
 

garlan5

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Ted - obvious
Manny - obvious but to lay out my reasons would be because he was so dangerous. Very close to Bonds dangerous in his prime
Beltre- Could absolutely rake any pitch he thought he could reach. Loved watching him hit. Dropping to one knee if he liked the pitch enough.
Youk- Obviously selective hitting with the walks but unconventional swing yet he always came up big imho. Hit to the situation.
Boggs- probably closest to what I'd personally consider a pure hitter. Tony Gwynn type.

Papi and Vaughn were not listed because they are more sluggers to me than pure hitters.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Williams was a big fan of Nomar and compared him to the greatest hacker of all time, DiMaggio. I read an article where he was raving about Nomar and it ended with, "Let's hope he stays healthy".
Um....really? He was no walk machine like Williams, but his BB rates were above league average for his career, and that was in a walk-happy era.
 

Mrmojo

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It would be interesting to see a list of Red Sox individual hot streaks. By players who briefly played "over their heads". I'm not exactly qualified to do it, but here's a start: Dwayne Hosey 1995, Tim Wakefield 1995, Sandy Leon 2016, Calvin Schiraldi 1986
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Um....really? He was no walk machine like Williams, but his BB rates were above league average for his career, and that was in a walk-happy era.
Hacker is somewhat of a pejorative, aggressive might be a better discription. DiMaggio walked about 55% as often as Williams. The difference between DiMaggio and other aggressive batters was that he was he was so outstanding of a hitter that he could hit the ball hard off of less than optimal pitches. That he did have a low walk rate was why he was a good candidate for a hitting streak. I don't know what William's longest hitting streak was, but his walk rate made it impossible to challenge DiMaggio's record. Dimaggio walked 25 times during his hit streak and Rose 11 times in 44 games.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I want to make a Jack Clark joke but it would be in extremely poor taste.

How can it be anyone other than Ted? If you want to count just post-integration, it opens the discussion up a lot more, but the last guy to ever bat .400 and who did nothing but think about hitting all day long (including when he was supposed to be watching for fly balls) seems like the most obvious choice.
 

ookami7m

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1. Ted
2. Manny
...
3. Boggs
4. Nomar
5. Yaz

Now my view on Nomar is obviously due to the fact that he was in his prime when I was in mine as a fan (late teens early 20s) and I never saw Yaz live and don't remember much of Dewey. I do remember Boggs just hitting line drive after line drive as a kid though. The gap from Manny down to Boggs is pretty big though.,
 

jaytftwofive

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So who is your top 11. (or 6 if your too busy)

I dont believe there will be much debate about Williams at 1. After that??? Boggs? Yaz? Papi? Manny? Rice? Speaker? Evans? Foxx?


Mine (though I am sure some of you will bring up names I totally missed).

2. Boggs
3. Manny
4. Papi
5. Evans
6. Yaz
7. Nomar
8. Foxx
9. Rice
10. Doerr
11. Vaughn
Evans over Yaz. I don't think so. As sweet as Dewey was Yaz could put it anywhere, Pull to left, left center. center,Then reverse to right center, right etc... And I'm not saying that because he's a HOFamer.
 

jaytftwofive

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I would hope that everyone would just know that Papi referred to Papius Maximus and not the guy we traded Bill Lee for.
Stan Papi, lol. Another great move by Zimmer and Haywood Sullivan. Totally a trade to get rid of him because Zim and he didn't get along. I think he won 16 games for the Expos in 79 after missing at least a few weeks or a month or more. Helped them finish like 2 or 3 games behind the 98 win Pirates.
 

Adirondack jack

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Without ever seeing Ted play, I'll concede to him. Manny must be part of the list as well as someone who could grind out a tough at-bat and knock a base hit to the opposite field when absolutely needed.

Haven't seen his name mentioned, is the reason i'm posting, but when someone's on second with a couple of outs and a lights out reliever is in -- i'd put Pedroia in that at bat without blinking. Contact skills and pure determination. Dusty could rake in his prime too. Gator could hit but i'd take Pedey in that situation
 

lexrageorge

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1. Ted.

2 & 3: Boggs & Yaz. Boggs had the purest swing and the uncanny ability to put the ball in play against the Monster no matter who was pitching. I don't believe there was a more difficult out to get than Boggs in the mid-80's. Yaz had more power, something that Boggs never really developed aside from 1987.

4: Manny. Best two-strike hitter I've seen, and one of the best pure right handed hitters of all time. Did not have quite the plate discipline of a Boggs or Yaz, but had more power than either.

Lots of other good hitters, but those are my top 4.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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If there is some second-order version of this, focused on players who are not hall of famers, I vote for 1996 Reggie Jefferson!
I hadn't thought about him for awhile, but remember him being horrific against lefthanders. I had thought he was worse than Trot, but it turns out they both a career OPS of .630 against lefties.