This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
During the 2005 season, the Red Sox were faced with moving a disgruntled Jay Payton after he made his position of 4th outfielder a public problem. Normally in a situation like this, a team hopes to acquire something half decent while paying for a bit of the salary of a player being dumped.
In this case, Chad Bradford was the player acquired for Jay Payton. Bradford had spent much of the season on the disabled list for the Oakland Athletics before making his debut with Boston in July. The submarine pitcher was a reliable bullpen arm for the A’s before the injury setback.
Once in the big leagues with the Sox in 2005, Bradford proved that he had recovered from injury, helping the Red Sox with a 3.86 ERA despite the fact that left handed hitters were hitting over .400. While it was a long a season, and no particular game is considered a season-changer, it must be said that Bradford earned a win in two of the 31 games he appeared in. At season’s end, the Red Sox record was 2 games better than the Cleveland Indians’ record in the Wild Card standings.
Though the Red Sox earned a playoff birth, they were no match to the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox lost only one postseason game in their quest for their first World Series championship since the 1917 season. Bradford provided 1.1 innings of scoreless relief during the ALDS, but the Red Sox offense was no match for the White Sox.
Bradford’s postseason heroics continued after he left Boston, with the 2006 Mets and 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. He had a perfect postseason ERA until the 2008 ALCS when the Red Sox were able to squeeze a run against him. The Rays handled the Sox, but went on to lose to the Philadelphia Phillies for the World Series title.
For his 2005 contributions and performance in the 2005 ALDS versus the White Sox, Happy 35th Birthday, Chad Bradford!