Red Sox player that you cared most about

Valek123

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
889
Upper Valley
Ryan Westmoreland. I had heard of him through friends in Rhode Island in 2008 and was psyched to hear the Red Sox drafted him. Then came the horrific news in 2010, as a cancer survivor that one hit hard to watch an exceptional athlete's ability to rise almost instantly stopped. I still find myself once a quarter searching for him to see any news on him, always praying there isn't a recurrence. One of the biggest what-if's from a relatively "local" boy being drafted in his home region that just fate had other plans for. If he had of become all that was expected, could have been part of that great 2012 rookie class with Trout, Harper and Davish. Crazy how fast time flies by...

And yes I know he never made it to the Fens, but that was a player that I felt the most connected to that I can remember minors or majors...
 

wiffleballhero

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Mar 28, 2009
3,492
In the simulacrum
Probably Oil Can Boyd.

He really was an infectious, joyous presence on those 1980s teams, but man, he had some issues and so I always had sort of a soft spot for him, even when he was pretty off the rails. I wish he had been on the mound to close out game 7 in 86.
 

pokey_reese

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Jun 25, 2008
15,560
Eugene, OR
Troy O'Leary for me. I was just about the right age when he got to Boston, late middle school or junior high, so I was already deeply in love with baseball and the Red Sox, but he was something fresh and new as I 'came of age' compared to Dewey, Greenwell, etc. (also Canseco was on the team then, but even as a kid, I distinctly remember one of the first pictures of him in a Sox uniform in the Globe, I think he was signing a ball at ST or something, and looking at his biceps I knew something was wrong...). He also really was the 'bridge' for me between those late 80s/early 90s teams and the Nomar era, and something about his lack of star status distinctly made me like him more (obviously, Mo Vaughn would be the answer otherwise). I would hang out in the basement and throw a tennis ball at the door to the garage (so I could field grounders) while watching those games on channel 38, but his ABs would get my attention the same way a two-strike count from Clemens would. Never was really sure why, but he captivated me.
 

Import78

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May 29, 2007
1,776
West Lebanon, NH
I thought of another one: Wily Mo Pena. After I saw him hit some absolute bombs I kept hoping he could pull it together (I'm sure we all did), but obviously it never happened.
 

Daniel_Son

lurker
May 25, 2021
119
San Diego
David Price. He never lived up to his contract, but there's no way we win in 2018 without him. The guy dug deep, turned it around after being so terrible in the playoffs for so many years, and was absolute nails when it mattered most. He was by all accounts a great teammate and a leader in the clubhouse, and I always get a little irrationally angry when I see Sox fans badmouthing him.
 

SocrManiac

Tommy Seebach’s mustache
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
5,009
Somers, CT
William Roger Clemens. I was born in '82. I hung on any pitches I got to see on TV38 and watched the tickers the next morning to see how he did. He did an autograph signing at the Sheretan Tara Hotel in Nashua, NH where I finally got to meet him. He was mechanically signing autographs until I started talking (maybe 8 years old) and he took me around the desk for a picture, handshake, and a few words. I still have that photo.

A part of my love for baseball died forever when he signed with the Yankees. I could forgive the move to Toronto, but not NY.
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
Bruce Hurst. His repertoire was the type of pitching I love to watch. When he came up I was a high school pitcher (of no talent whatsoever), the result of which was that, for me, watching great pitching has always been my favorite aspect of my favorite sport. I loved the contrast to Clemens (who I also fully appreciated), both in style and handedness. Hurst was a bit understated, so when he threw both hands in the air upon completing his shutout of the Blue Jays that clinched a tie for the 1986 division title, well, that has been permanently seared in my brain. His playoff performance was up there with the Becketts and Lesters. And what little I know about him makes him seem like a really good guy.

Runners-up: Marty Barrett and JBJ. Throwing a ball over the CF wall from home plate is even cooler than pulling the hidden ball trick.
 

Light-Tower-Power

ask me about My Pillow
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Jun 14, 2013
13,057
Nashua, NH
Manny Ramirez and it's not even close. I wanted to be the best RHH in little league and I modeled my game after his. Even the laziness in the field.
 

TrotWaddles

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Jan 23, 2004
1,167
San Antonio, TX
Trot of course. Pure Dirt Dog. Logo on the helmet invisible because of the pine tar, chewing tobacco spit on his jersey (and sometimes his pants), walking around with that strange amble. He pulled me back into the game in the late 90s. Story of the screen name. Watching a game one day. Trot is walking out to bat.

Wife goes "Is that guy hurt? He's waddling as he walks."
"He just walks that way."
Camera cuts to a front shot of him in the box in all his unshaven, disheveled, tobacco spit spattered glory.
Wife goes "Jesus, that guy's a mess."
"Yeah, well he's a fighter and these guys don't win pretty anyway."

Anyway. I was bummed when he went to Cleveland but he will always be the last and the best of the Red Sox underdogs for me. It's difficult to explain 2004 to an outsider. I don't even try.
 

Leather

given himself a skunk spot
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
27,547
Brian Daubach.

Replacement player who managed to stick around and be a contributor. Thought maybe he could have become something but by the time he got his shot he was already in his late 20s so that was kind of that.
 

GeorgeThomas

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 4, 2007
97
Virginia
Brock Holt

All the things he did for the community. Playing all the positions. Being a lone all star. Hitting for the cycle in the 2018 ALDS. Overcame health issues. And then he was left to go.
 

mr_smith02

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Nov 29, 2003
2,958
Upstate NY
Mike Greenwell always seemed on the cusp of being a star and was the kind of player I felt was always giving it everything he had.
 

RIFan

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Jul 19, 2005
2,797
Rhode Island
Fred Lynn was my guy, but probably not the one that meets the spirit of the thead.

John Tudor was a guy I followed passionately. I lived in Pawtucket and our LL would get to go to McCoy to work with the players. Tudor took me aside and worked with me in the bullpen. Spent more time than he needed to. My Dad still talks about that today.

The most anxious I ever was to check box scores was in '88 with Jim Rice. He went all the way to June 13th without hitting one out. I remember clearly the day he hit his 1st of the season and then followed it later with his second. I literally jumped on my bed with excitement and I was in college at the time and ran downstairs to tell my parents he was "back". Alas, he wasn't back and the cliff was real.
 

Marbleheader

Dope
Dope
Sep 27, 2004
10,960
Troy O'Leary on that 1995 squad. I really enjoyed watching him play and that was part of why I really liked the 1995 team. He didn't have a lot of pop for a Red Sox outfielder and going in to 1996 his BA dropped quite a bit. Glad he hung around for 1999.
 

JOBU

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Sep 22, 2021
1,657
Brock Holt

All the things he did for the community. Playing all the positions. Being a lone all star. Hitting for the cycle in the 2018 ALDS. Overcame health issues. And then he was left to go.
Yeah, an ultimate good dude that worked his tail off. I think he’ll be back with the Sox in some capacity after he retires. I’m looking forward to that day.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
46,585
Marty Barrett.

He was basically the Sox 2B from my ages of 11 to 16. I played 2B. The game was different then, so there really wasn't the fear of him being replaced despite a sub-.400 SLG, but that was the guy.

Runner up: Ellis Burks.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
44,955
By decade would be:
80’s (latter half): Clemens if eligible or Burks
90’s: Mo Vaughn
00’s: Manny if eligible or Beckett
10’s: Nava (aforementioned). JBJ close second. Devers 3rd.
20’s prediction: Devers
 

mcbain

lurker
Dec 8, 2005
2
Edinburgh, Scotch-land
Daniel Nava
Me too. I acknowledge that's probably because he was punching his way out of the minor leagues at precisely the time I was following this board/the prospects too closely. But...to see him succeed despite all the knocks ("he's too old"/"he's too small"/"his numbers only look good because he's playing against kids") was *so* satisfying. And he appeared to be savoring every second, every extra-base hit and every catch of being a Red Sox.
 

Matty005

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Aug 28, 2005
832
Arlington, MA
When I was around 9-10 years old Roger Clemens was my hero. Collected all his cards, had posters on my wall, etc. Living in California I didn't get to see him play much outside of highlights. However, whenever the Sox would come to Oakland my family would all go to every game (my dad grew up in Revere so taught me the love of the Red Sox). One series we went to Roger was pitching on Friday night. I remember all day in school being so excited and pumped. I had made a poster earlier that week of cut of pictures of Roger from old Sports Illustrated's and wrote his states and accomplishments. I was so proud of it.

We arrived at the Coliseum pretty early to watch BP and to watch Roger warm up in the pen. I had my sign and was waving it frantically while Roger was warming up in the pen. He walked right by and ignored my yells and screams (and the other people who were telling him to sign it for the kid). Maybe a minute after that, Rich Gedman came over to my dad and told us to not take it personal. Roger on pitching games is totally focused and won't sign for anyone. He asked us if we were going to be here any more games that weekend and we said we'd be here all weekend. He said he would take the poster I made (which I was hesitant to give away at first, haha) and try to get Roger to sign it over the weekend. He said he would meet us back at the same spot at the end of Sunday's game.

My dad told me not to get my hopes up but low and behold, after Sunday's game, Gedman was there and took the folded up poster out of his bag with an autograph from Roger (did Roger really sign it or did Rich just forge it, I really didn't care). He gave me the poster, signed a few balls with his name and took a pic with me. Being 10 I didn't realize how nice of a gesture this was. I was happier that I got Roger's autograph. It wasn't until I grew older (and Roger was no longer a favorite of mine) did I realize how amazing Gedman did what he did. I wish I would have been more excited to get to take a pic with a professional Red Sox player instead of just gawking at the autograph.

Fast forward 20 years and Gedman's daughter (a stud hockey player) worked for me one semester. I was able to tell her the entire story and tell her how much it meant to me and how to this day, things like what he did made me a huge baseball and Red Sox fan. She said it sounded like something her dad would do and she promised me she would give him the gratitude I probably didn't share enough when I wad 10 years old.

So, for that reason, I will say Rich Gedman is the Red Sox player I most care about. He gave a 10 year old have one of his best days and I'll always rank him as my personal favorite (even ahead of Pedro, Papi and Pedey).
 

RSN Diaspora

molests goats for comedy
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Jul 29, 2005
8,649
Washington, DC
I may be approaching the line on the "no star" rule, but I'd say Derek Lowe. So many stops and starts, first a less-than-mediocre starter, then a brilliant closer, then so shitty a closer they had to bring in Ugie Urbina. He returns to the rotation and mounts a very credible Cy Young campaign in 2002, is rock solid in 2003 especially in ALDS game 5, then has a shit 2004 and loses his spot in the starting rotation...only to go lights out in ALCS game 7 and the World Series. Through it all, there are stories about how he's a drunk, a head case, etc., but in the end he leaves Boston a champion.
 

effectivelywild

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Jul 14, 2005
340
I grew up in Indianapolis and used to go see the AAA Indianapolis Indians play, which was where I was first introduced to Pokey Reese. He was one of two players I ever heard have his name chanted at the stadium (the other was Razor Shines) and I still remember a few thousand people yelling "Poooooookeyyyy Poooooookeyyy" So when he signed with the Red Sox, I was ecstatic. I was a student at Boston U and worked in a lab and I would talk about him incessantly every time he had played the night before---when I graduated my labmates bought me his jersey as a present. I am sure I was one of very few people rocking a Reese jersey. Anyways, I loved watching him play defense and the joy he brought to the game. I still remember a grab he made of a sure extra-base hit he made of a screaming liner in which he jumped way higher than I thought was possible---I think Pedro was pitching at the time. In 2004 I applied for membership to SOSH and wrote a long missive about Pokey and how while I understood Bellhorn was the superior player my heart still belonged to Pokey. I, um, was not admitted as a member at that time.
 
George Kottaras. He had an interesting combination of drawing walks and hitting for power for a catcher, and I really wanted to see him get a shot as the successor to Varitek. But starting catcher is a veteran's job until he gives it up (or so it seems), and Kottaras's fate was spelled when they acquired Victor Martinez. Never became a starter but had a couple of productive years as a backup for Milwaukee (including hitting for the cycle) before bouncing around the waiver wire for a few more.
 

KiltedFool

has a terminal case of creeping sharia
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2005
2,371
Victor. One of my favorite players for a long long time. I was a catcher when I played, and I've always gravitated to the tools of ignorance as a result. Back when I was more active here, I would occasionally offer what limited insights I had from my time behind the plate or offer my insights on my favorite team.

So when the Sox acquired Victor it was really tough for me. And him being so upset about it made an impact. And when this board went full Veruca Salt immediately after acquiring him, howling for Daddy to go get them the next All Star, that changed my views a bit.

Wife got me a signed ball of his at one point. Still have it somewhere.
 

GB5

lurker
Aug 26, 2013
181
I had a strange connection to the people everyone seemed to hate. I rooted hard for Matt Young, and Bob Stanley. It didnt go all the way, as I had no rooting interest in Carl Everett or Will Cordero. Silently pulled hard for Ramiro Mendoza. Also liked the guys who I thought that even though they played in Boston, were underrated and John Valentin topped that list for me. The younger guys who I thought were the next great thing I always pulled hard for like Todd Benzinger and Swiihart. Loved Rich Garces because I thought he was very good but most treated him like a sideshow. Loved guys who got by on guts, like Rod Beck and Glenn Bragg.
 

brs3

sings praises of pinstripes
SoSH Member
May 20, 2008
5,054
Jackson Heights, NYC
I was certain Nomar would have 3,000 hits for the Red Sox. Nobody since has captured the daily excitement from a hitters perspective for me. At his peak, he was Pedro at the bat to me.

Wakefield could've played til he was 60, and I wish he never gave up!
 

Koufax

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Jul 15, 2005
5,037
This is a wonderful thread. My two non-star favorites have been mentioned - Pokey Reese and JBJ. Forced to choose, I'd say JBJ simply because to all appearances, he is an extremely decent person. I never had a sense of who Pokey was, other than his joy at playing the game, which was infectious.
 

P'tucket rhymes with...

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Dec 12, 2006
10,688
The Coney Island of my mind
Jeff Bailey. He was one of the Pawsox regulars when my son and I were going to games pretty regularly, and it was fun watching him get his cup of coffee in The Show. Crazy, yeah.

Also, agree with Lose re: Breslow--probably my favorite from guys who actually stuck around a while.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,211
After 2004, I went through a weird phase where I started rooting for the high-profile trade or free-agent signings to succeed, perhaps with the logic of "they're giving him a lot of money, let's hope he's actually good!" Or it could have been straight-up contrarian-ness; some louder members of the fanbase complained so much that I started wanting those players to prove the crowds wrong. Whatever the reason, this led me to spend time rooting hard for guys like (in rough chronological order) Edgar Renteria, Coco Crisp, JD Drew, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez.

In the Cherington years, this dynamic reversed itself, and I found myself intensely disliking most of those players and driven mad by everyone else's seeming confidence in them. But in 2018, there wasn't a player I was happier for than I was for David Price.

I don't expect anyone to agree with any of this.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Jan 13, 2021
2,686
I don’t know if “cared the most” about is quite accurate but I really thought Jeremy Giambi was going to be great, to the extent that I was mildly annoyed when they signed Ortiz to compete with him. Oops.
 

SamK

lurker
May 31, 2012
145
George Scott. In the 60's, because of his bat and his style I could always find him in the box scores or at the ballpark even though I was just a boy.
When George rejoined the team my father took me to one of his first games back. George walked his first time up, and I said "That's OK, Dad. Now the next guy still has a chance."
Dad, a sports maven, said "They don't call him 'Boomer' because he walks. They call him 'Boomer' because he hits 'taters'."
It was the first time I realized that Dad might be wrong about some sports stuff (not about George, George was in a decline). It was the 70's, and I was just starting to realize feel the value of not making an out.
And it was the start of my enjoyment of sports debate.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Apr 1, 2013
6,032
I don't know if he's my MOST cared about player, but Shane Victorino fits the criteria for me. He had so many big hits for the 2013 team, and carried them down the stretch. Two huge post season hits too. When he fell apart, I so badly wanted him to recover from his injuries, and be his 2013 self again and stick around for a few more years. I really enjoyed what he brought to the Red Sox, and to Fenway.
 

Farty Barrett

lurker
Nov 4, 2012
12
Marty Barrett.

He was basically the Sox 2B from my ages of 11 to 16. I played 2B. The game was different then, so there really wasn't the fear of him being replaced despite a sub-.400 SLG, but that was the guy.

Runner up: Ellis Burks.
Loved him.
Was my favorite until Pedroia, whom I would have rooted for had he worn any uniform (except MFY)
Was told my whole life that I’d be too short to play. I love watching the little guys
 

JM3

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Dec 14, 2019
1,205
Youk
Burks
Pedey

& oddly & briefly...

Cliff Floyd

I think the real answer is Pedro, though, no matter what the OP says.
 

Wallball Tingle

union soap
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Jul 16, 2005
2,272
Star: Manny Ramirez.

Not-a-star-per-se: Koji Uehara. His personality was almost as fun to behold as his pitching.
 

Miniman

Member
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May 4, 2019
532
Pedroia, really, but he doesn't meet the criteria of the OP. So Benintendi. I really wanted him to max out his skills and become a permanent fixture on Sox teams for a decade or more. Seemed to have such joy playing with the other "Bs" and the dances at the end of wins. Plus that catch.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Nov 24, 2007
519
Pittsboro NC
First love was Fred Lynn. Yes, he was already a star in 1977 when I was starting little league and lived and died by the Sox. But I wanted to emulate him in the field (especially) and at the plate. Any ball hit deep into the outfield was another potential highlight, pre-ESPN. Guy was incredible.
In my dreams as a 10-, 11-, 12- year old I was making leaping catches to steal outs off the Monster like Freddy.
 

LoweTek

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May 30, 2005
1,968
Central Florida
This is a difficult choice for me. I cared about a lot players over the years and this is a very close call. My finalists are Reggie Smith and Bob Stanley.

During Reggie Smith's time in Boston, I went to some of the first games I ever attended at Fenway. They happened to occur on nights Reggie did some amazing things in the field. Those thinking JBJ is a super defensive player should have had the opportunity to see Reggie when he was young. If you appreciate what JBJ does, you would be amazed at Reggie. When I started to learn he was poorly treated in Boston related to the seemingly ever-present race issues, I was saddened. When he was traded away I couldn't believe it. I continued to follow him through stints in STL and LAD. To his credit he really had a terrific career. I still enjoy hearing him speak about his time in baseball. I hope to have the chance to meet him one day.

But Bob Stanley gets the ever so slight edge on this one. I got to know him very shortly after his playing days were over. We became friends and I have always appreciated the honesty and openness with which he (and his wife) treated both me and Mrs. LT. He is just a a straight shooter and very knowledgeable baseball guy. SoSH old timers might recall, back in the day you actually had to prove your stuff to become a member here, I started by requesting established members post my essays about Stanley and they did. Eventually the essays earned me a membership nod.

I once watched Stanley respond to a group of under educated Red Sox fanboys giving him crap about '86 game 6. His reaction could be summed up by saying he treated them with patience and respect while stating he was thrilled at the opportunity to try to contribute to the first RS World Series win in 68 years.

We were at a bar. When the fanboys went away I said to him, "I don't know how you deal with that sh*t."

He responded matter of factly, "Lots of practice."
 

InsideTheParker

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Jul 15, 2005
32,712
Pioneer Valley
I can't believe I forgot Youkilis. My more recent fondness for BROCKHOLT wiped him out. I think Youkilis got jerked around a bit. For Mike Lowell, Adrian Gonzalez, Beltre. He was gracious about it, but I was less so. I always felt that although the fans loved to yell "Youk!" he was never properly appreciated.
While I'm thinking about fondness for Red Sox personnel, my all-time least favorite: Bobby Valentine.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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Aug 18, 2010
969
Connecticut
Roger LaFrancois. He made the opening day roster in 1982, spent the entire season with the Sox, and yet only appeared in eight games with ten at bats. If I didn't see a game on Channel 38, or listen to it on the radio, one of the first things I did the next morning that summer was to check the boxscore just to see if he got in.
 

Preacher

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Jun 9, 2006
4,128
Harker Heights, TX
I was a big Doug Mirabelli fan. He used a softball catcher’s mitt and that time he made it from Logan to Fenway in like 17 minutes with a police escort while changing in the back of an SUV was just absurd. Who does that for a backup catcher? The Red Sox do when the Yankees are in town and Wakefield is starting and Josh Bard was just traded because he can’t catch the knuckleball. Wasn’t there a fanfic story posted here about him taking cuts in the mirror or something, possibly while naked?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
21,088
I was a big Doug Mirabelli fan. He used a softball catcher’s mitt and that time he made it from Logan to Fenway in like 17 minutes with a police escort while changing in the back of an SUV was just absurd. Who does that for a backup catcher? The Red Sox do when the Yankees are in town and Wakefield is starting and Josh Bard was just traded because he can’t catch the knuckleball. Wasn’t there a fanfic story posted here about him taking cuts in the mirror or something, possibly while naked?
Dougie’s Diary. That thing absolutely ruled.