The SoSH Top 100 Red Sox of All Time

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com

The Boston Red Sox first took the field as the Boston Americans in 1901, and since then more than 1600 players that have played for the team. Creating a list of just 100 players to represent the team’s best of all time is not an easy task. However, for almost six months between June and December, several hundred Red Sox fans* took part in compiling a comprehensive list that determined the top 100 Red Sox players ever to wear the uniform.

To find the top 100 players of all time, the Sons of Sam Horn online community established a system that first required members to nominate players for each voting period of the top 100. During this nominating period, fans debated and defended the various players put forth during each nominating group. For example, to nominate players for the Top 10 Red Sox of all time, an online thread was open for roughly a week to allow participants to nominate their players for consideration. The 20 players with the most nominations were then listed in an online poll for members to vote on and rank the top 10 players. A week later the poll closed and results were posted. This system was used for each subsequent grouping of 10 spots in the top 100.

Like any great ‘All Time’ lists, the SoSH Top 100 Red Sox of All Time list likely creates more questions than answers, if only because people will undoubtedly question the ranking of some players and the ommissions of others. To start the debate, here are the final results per SoSH polling, of the voting for the top 100 Red Sox of All Time.

1. Ted Williams
2. Pedro Martinez
3. Carl Yastrzemski
4. Cy Young
5. Roger Clemens
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Tris Speaker
8. Wade Boggs
9. Jimmie Foxx
10. Babe Ruth
11. Jim Rice
12. Carlton Fisk
13. Dwight Evans
14. Bobby Doerr
15. David Ortiz
16. Lefty Grove
17. Smokey Joe Wood
18. Nomar Garciaparra
19. Joe Cronin
20. Dom DiMaggio
21. Luis Tiant
22. Mo Vaughn
23. Tim Wakefield
24. Fred Lynn
25. Tony Conigliaro
26. Johnny Pesky
27. Jason Varitek
28. Harry Hooper
29. Curt Schilling
30. Mel Parnell
31. Jimmy Collins
32. Dick Radatz
33. Rico Petrocelli
34. Jonathan Papelbon
35. Mike Greenwell
36. Bob Stanley
37. Bill Lee
38. Vern Stephens
39. Jackie Jensen
40. Dennis Eckersley
41. Derek Lowe
42. Dutch Leonard
43. Reggie Smith
44. Bruce Hurst
45. Pete Runnels
46. Kevin Youkilis
47. Buck Freeman
48. Dustin Pedroia
49. Larry Gardner
50. Ellis Burks
51. Josh Beckett
52. Frank Malzone
53. John Valentin
54. Tex Hughson
55. George Scott
56. Ellis Kinder
57. Duffy Lewis
58. Johnny Damon
59. Billy Goodman
60. Rick Burleson
61. Trot Nixon
62. Jim Lonborg
63. Bill Monbouquette
64. Marty Barrett
65. Jimmy Piersall
66. Mike Timlin
67. Rick Ferrell
68. Carl Mays
69. Joe Dobson
70. Rich Gedman
71. Mike Lowell
72. Bill Mueller
73. Frank Sullivan
74. Troy O’Leary
75. Wes Ferrell
76. Bill Dinneen
77. Chick Stahl
78. Jody Reed
79. Brian Daubach
80. Tom Burgmeier
81. Jon Lester
82. Sparky Lyle
83. JD Drew
84. Bernie Carbo
85. Bill Carrigan
86. Boo Ferriss
87. Mike Andrews
88. Dave Henderson
89. Ernie Shore
90. Everett Scott
91. Keith Foulke
92. Tom Gordon
93. Tommy Harper
94. Lee Smith
95. Butch Hobson
96. Jacoby Ellsbury
97. Bill Campbell
98. Ray Culp
99. Jake Stahl
100. Rich Garces

The list represents not only the best players, but the players who have resonated the most with Red Sox fans throughout history. The top 10, in my view, represents the top 10 players that the average person thinks of when they think of the Boston Red Sox. Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez and Carl Yastrzemski will probably still be on the top 5 list 100 years from now. Their incredible careers and impact on the team ensures that.

To appreciate this list, you need to let go of the idea that a player is snubbed because of their ranking. Were Mike Greenwell and Trot Nixon really better than J.D. Drew? Should all three of them be ranked above Jacoby Ellsbury? It depends who you ask! Mike Greenwell was a steady left fielder and runner up to Jose Canseco for MVP in 1988. Trot Nixon was the original ‘Dirt Dog’ and seemed to turn it up in the postseason and in big regular season moments. J.D. Drew definitely turned it up in the postseason with several key homers. Jacoby Ellsbury played in the 2007 World Series like his hair was on fire, and has established himself as a solid offensive piece of the lineup. What is true is that all of these players have a place on the list of all time Red Sox.

With the Red Sox currently enjoying a Golden Age unlike anything we’ve seen, it’s easy to suggest more of the current era of Red Sox players should be on this list. However, without players like Mike Greenwell, Trot Nixon, Lee Smith, and others like them, their respective Red Sox teams probably struggle a whole lot more. Only time will tell how this list will evolve. 5 years from now, John Lackey will hopefully rank somewhere on this list for his role in winning several championships.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any glaring ommissions that SoSH missed? Would you agree that Rich “El Guapo” Garces is a fantastic choice for #100 on the All Time Red Sox list?

Thanks to SoSH for creating this list and allowing me to share it with Baseball Digest!

*This project was created by members of the Sons of Sam Horn online community made up of a group of Red Sox fans that spend their time analysing every major move, minor move and the moves that haven’t even been made by the Boston Red Sox, but perhaps should be. In addition to the discussions of all things Red Sox and discussions of every New England sports teams, SoSH also holds an annual auction for Curt Schilling’s ‘Curt’s Pitch for ALS’. The 2009 SoSH Auction for Curt’s Pitch for ALS raised nearly $40,000.

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