What if you could change one thing - Red Sox edition

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
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The Celtics thread on changing one thing has me intrigued.

What if the Red Sox successfully extended Clemens for 5 years, (what if Duq didn't piss him off and he never left for Toronto (and then the Evil Empire)). What if he pitched in the same rotation as Pedro (assuming we also got Pedro a year later) from '98-01? (I'll take the '99 Clemens suckage since the year came with the Ted/ASG magic and Pedro being God)


What's yours?
 

ookami7m

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What if Nomar never got hit in the wrist?

What if the Machado/Pedroia situation never happened?
 

chrisfont9

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I go back to 1975, but I don't know if I can put anything above the very recent, raw, and overly discussed decision to not give in and extend Mookie. We will live to fight on without him I guess, but he just seems like one of those people (like Papi) who you would always want in your world, even in this fandom experience where we don't really know them.
 

gammoseditor

also had a stroke
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Jul 17, 2005
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What if Ryan Westmoreland had stayed healthy. He had it all as a prospect and is a HOF human being on top of it all. And he would have come up at a time where we were really good.
 

themactavish

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Aug 4, 2010
75
St. Cloud, MN
I go back to 1975, but I don't know if I can put anything above the very recent, raw, and overly discussed decision to not give in and extend Mookie. We will live to fight on without him I guess, but he just seems like one of those people (like Papi) who you would always want in your world, even in this fandom experience where we don't really know them.
Having lived through Conigliaro being beaned, Rice breaking his wrist in '75, and Fisk and Lynn leaving, I'd agree with you that losing Betts was my biggest disappointment in my years as a Sox fan. Ouch.
 

Ferm Sheller

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Mar 5, 2007
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Fisk not leaving is my answer, but I wish that ball had gotten past Piniella like it looked like it was going to.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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Mar 17, 2004
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It's the Lynn/Fisk late contract debacle for me. A completely unforced error, which led to a New England icon leaving, one who wanted to stay.

https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-red-sox/2021/02/12/carlton-fisk-fred-lynn-mailed-contracts-red-sox-1980/

But how had it come to this? How had a player who had so perfectly symbolized the region — and who said that only a few months earlier he “never could have visualized” any scenario where he wasn’t on the Red Sox — suddenly been allowed to become a free agent and leave?

The literal answer, unbelievable as it remains, was that a piece of mail had been sent two days late.

The Red Sox failed to send Fisk and then-teammate Fred Lynn (the 1975 Rookie of the Year and American League MVP) their contracts by the Dec. 20 deadline as established by baseball’s Basic Agreement, as the contracts were instead mailed on Dec. 22.

Fisk, as arbitrator Raymond Goetz declared on that fateful February day, would attain free agency, while Lynn had been hastily traded to the Angels before the ruling in January.

Still, the more definitive answer to the question lies in the relationship of Sullivan, who represented an older era of baseball (freely admitting in 1981 that “I liked the days when everyone had a good time around baseball”) with the inexorable trend towards increased player power.
This was before a salary cap. There was nothing other than cheapness and incompetence that cost the Sox 2 of their best players. This was ownership malpractice.
 

Seels

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Jul 20, 2005
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Aside from being bitter about ownerships refusal to extend young talent over the last decade

Do what they can to just keep Tito. Chicken and Beer wasn't his fault. Don't run him out of town. Same with Tito, though he's probably leaving at some point either way. Same with Orsillo.

For player oriented - extend Beltre, don't trade for Agon, and you're fielding a lineup of Beltre and Rizzo at the corners for the next decade.
 

Brand Name

make hers mark
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Oct 6, 2010
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Moving the Line
For a Red Sox board, Ruth's sale hasn't been floated too much seriious besides PJF? I say selling in a broader scope, rather than selling to the Yankees specifically because Frazee was once offered Shoeless Joe and $60K from the White Sox for Ruth. In turn, you have to think would've been the answer to the no Yankees hypothetical.

It has broader reaches beyond the team though, because Frazee also got a loan of $300K secured against Fenway in that deal, a detail I find a bit forgotten over the past 100 years. Do they still have Fenway without it? It was a real question and concern back then because Frazee's theatrical performances weren't performing that well. And no, I don't mean the No No Nannette nonsense, I mean in a broader scope of his ventures. Like what was even a moderate success for him even relatively close to the point of the sale? A Pair of Sixes? Lasted six months on Broadway in 1914. Fine Feathers? Adele? Opening the Longacre Theatre? All before he bought the team.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Aug 23, 2008
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For player oriented - extend Beltre, don't trade for Agon, and you're fielding a lineup of Beltre and Rizzo at the corners for the next decade.
I have always loved this one if only because of how great it was to watch Beltre. You save money, keep the excellent Youk at his best position, and can bring Rizzo along slowly or move him for a more important position. Lots of downstream effects.

But mostly it sucks to have been robbed of many years of Beltre.
 

curly2

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Jul 8, 2003
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What if the Sox had signed Willie Mays in 1949, when scout George Digby recommended him? Passing on Jackie Robinson in 1945 was wrong, but it's more understandable not having the guts to make a sea change in the sport. But two years after Jackie Robinson integrated MLB and Larry Doby integrated the AL, passing on Mays was inexcusable.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Jul 19, 2005
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I’ve probably said it before, but whatever. Here we go:

2015 offseason: Ben C. trades Henry Owens and Blake Swihart to Philadelphia for LHP Cole Hamels. He promptly becomes the actual ace of the “He’s The Ace” rotation. That 2015 team now does not finish in fifth, but is still perceived as a disappointment because of the poor seasons by Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.

The Detroit Tigers still part ways with Dave Dombrowski, and John Henry still rushes to hire his former GM. Ben Cherington still resigns.

In the 2015 offseason, Hamels’s performance convinces Dombrowski *not* to make a pitch for David Price or Zack Greinke. He still trades for Craig Kimbrel.

In the 2016 offseason, Dave D. concluded the team really does need that additional ace-like starter. He trades for Chris Sale.

By WAR, Hamels and Price had similar seasons in 2018, so the World Series win still happens. But Hamels was making a *lot* less than Price, so the team is under the luxury tax, meaning that before the 2020 season they do *not* feel compelled to trade away a certain former MVP. (He leaves as a free agent, but SoSH is still better off for it.)
 

chrisfont9

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Having lived through Conigliaro being beaned, Rice breaking his wrist in '75, and Fisk and Lynn leaving, I'd agree with you that losing Betts was my biggest disappointment in my years as a Sox fan. Ouch.
Fisk leaving is a close second? Or Rice breaking his wrist? I can't think of anything from 1986, all that weird shit happened because we were thin in the bullpen.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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What if the Sox had signed Willie Mays in 1949, when scout George Digby recommended him? Passing on Jackie Robinson in 1945 was wrong, but it's more understandable not having the guts to make a sea change in the sport. But two years after Jackie Robinson integrated MLB and Larry Doby integrated the AL, passing on Mays was inexcusable.
This was exactly what I was going to say.
 

Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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You probably have to be a fan of a certain age to understand this one, but what if Don Zimmer had started Bill Lee instead of Bobby Sprowl on September 10, 1978?
You are post 23 in this thread. Two earlier posts mention this (granted, post 20 was a bit more general).
 

Yo La Tengo

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Nov 21, 2005
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Great thread as we wait and wait and wait.

Imagine having the consummate Red Sox fan in charge of the "fan experience." No more generic flashing home run lights and blaring sound effects, a thoughtful succession plan for the radio and TV booths, uniform decisions that make us all happy, peanuts+beer deals, great off-season Red Sox programing on NESN, and on and on.

I feel like the aesthetic decisions of late have been good but not great.
 

themactavish

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Aug 4, 2010
75
St. Cloud, MN
Fisk leaving is a close second? Or Rice breaking his wrist? I can't think of anything from 1986, all that weird shit happened because we were thin in the bullpen.
I suppose Fisk. The Rice break was terrible for what it meant for '75, but Fisk leaving was forever. I would have loved to see him spend his whole career in the correct color socks.
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
47,201
What if Frank McCourt had won the bid instead of Henry’s group? Is Fenway even around or do we have some stale stadium near the water? And does the team even come close to winning a title?

On the player front, what if he who shall not be named says no to Theo? What was Plan B?
 

mwonow

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Sep 4, 2005
7,116
Denny Doyle turns that DP in 75.

Yaz hits a Gossage FB on the screws in 78 rather than popping up.

Luis f'ing Aparicio doesn't trip over his own f'ing feet rounding third...

It's a very long list for the pre-2004 Sox. After that, I think Rovin Romine has it right.
 

BoSox Rule

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Jul 15, 2005
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All I want is for Nomar to have played his prime injury free and for him and Pedro to have both had prime level seasons in 2004.
 

loneredseat

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Dec 8, 2023
79
Great thread as we wait and wait and wait.

Imagine having the consummate Red Sox fan in charge of the "fan experience." No more generic flashing home run lights and blaring sound effects, a thoughtful succession plan for the radio and TV booths, uniform decisions that make us all happy, peanuts+beer deals, great off-season Red Sox programing on NESN, and on and on.

I feel like the aesthetic decisions of late have been good but not great.
Ahhh.... I like this one.

I think all the biggies have been mentioned. I'm probably alone with this one but I'd not have retired #26. Or maybe better would be that Jean doesn't slip...
 

Didot Fromager

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Apr 23, 2010
31
If you want impact look at ownership.

If someone other than Harry Frazee owned the Red Sox in 1919-22, then Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Everett Scott, Joe Dugan, George Pipgras, and Herb Pennock aren't traded or sold to the Yankees between 1920 and 1922. With those players staying in Boston, then Boston remains a highly competitive team through the 1920s instead of finishing last in 9 of the next 11 years. If they remain competitive, then there is no sale of the team to Tom Yawkey in 1933. That means, of course, that the racist, drinking-buddy front office of the 1930s through early 1960s maybe doesn't happen. Maybe Pee Wee Reese joins the Sox infield, since Joe Cronin isn't around to protect his job. Maybe the Sox sign Willie Mays. There are lots of maybes here, but if Frazee doesn't transfer the best players on the Red Sox to the Yankees, then the most dominant force in Red Sox history, doesn't appear.

And oh yes -- if that mass transfer of Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Everett Scott, Joe Dugan, George Pipgras, and Herb Pennock doesn't happen, there is no Yankee dynasty.

So my choice would be for a competent, deep-pocketed owner to have purchased the Red Sox from Joe Lannin in 1916.
 

BravesField

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Oct 27, 2021
254
April 16, 1945.

That day, Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams were in Fenway Park for a tryout.
 

Archer1979

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The mid-70's are a strange time as a few things had to have happened to prevent the decimation of that roster by the time the 80's rolled around. Had Rice not have broken his wrist... and the Sox beat the Reds in the '75 World Series seems like it would have prevented a lot of the late-70's nonsense, but the big caveat in that is they would have had to have beaten the Reds with the difference-maker in that is that the Sox needed more than just Jim Willoughby... so does that mean that if you reverse the Danny Cater - Sparky Lyle deal that the Sox have a good bullpen? In other words, I see two things that needed to happen. Keep Sparky Lyle and give Jim Rice a day off on the day that they faced Vern Ruhle. Still no guarantee that they beat the Reds who were the most dominant team of the 70's, but a World Series win gives Darrell Johnson a little more rope in '76 so perhaps he lasts the season and gets his drinking problem under control. Which means Zimmer stays as the third base coach, which instantly makes the Sox better in '77 and '78. One of the things I've read over the years about '78 is that after that, the Sox FO believed that the roster that they had was not going to get over the hump. They were not going to sign Burleson, Lynn, and Fisk to big contracts as a result. Granted, that might have been an excuse as the Sox FO was also incredibly cheap, but they did sign Bill Campbell so there is a glimmer of hope. So for the 70's, it comes down to not trading Sparky Lyle (and maybe preventing a collapse in '74 as well) and Jim Rice not breaking his hand.

All that said, had the Sox been one of the first to integrate instead of the last, they might have had Robinson and Mays to go along with Ted Williams. I think that might be a bridge too far considering the ownership which was perhaps the biggest road block between the Sox and success in the 20th century.
 

Squeteague

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May 8, 2021
27
Not the thing, but two of the top ten I would change, trading Cecil Cooper and his sweet swing for George Scott, and letting Ellis Burks go.
 

allmanbro

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Jul 19, 2005
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What if the Sox had signed Willie Mays in 1949, when scout George Digby recommended him? Passing on Jackie Robinson in 1945 was wrong, but it's more understandable not having the guts to make a sea change in the sport. But two years after Jackie Robinson integrated MLB and Larry Doby integrated the AL, passing on Mays was inexcusable.
Ya, this is it for me too. Besides the obvious reasons, this thread has also made me think about my fandom a bit more

I'm almost 40 now, so I was 20 in 2004. Old enough that it was a true catharsis and the defining moment of my baseball fandom, but too young that I could have experienced 86 or 75. So the hypotheticals that lead to wins then (or for that matter 46 or whenever else) would have fundamentally changed my life as a fan in ways it's hard to think about. But i feel a bit like I would have grown up rooting for "just another team." I get why anyone would have a different experience, but all that futility was important for how I see baseball, and in a way, had a payoff for me personally.

The thing in Red Sox history that is a complete and inexcusable negative is the fact that they were the last team to integrate. I can root for a team with a losing history, but that one bugs me.