Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering Pete Runnels

During five of the most dismal years in Red Sox history (1958-1962), fans of the team had little to root for. The Sox never finished higher than third in that span (once in 1958), and finished eighth in 1962.

Ted Williams, Frank Malzone, and Jackie Jensen were the only true stars on the team, but another player was not far behind. Pete Runnels was the second baseman (and first baseman for his last two seasons) on those teams after he came over in a 1958 trade with the even more dismal Washington Senators (in exchange for Albie Pearson and Norm Zauchin). All Runnels did in his five-year Boston run was win two batting titles (1960, 1962), hit .320 and compile an on-base percentage of .408. In his first year at Fenway, he finished tenth in AL MVP voting.

Pete Runnels would have been 83 years old today, but he passed away far too young 20 years ago in 1991. For this fan, old enough to remember this lefty's sweet swing, all the memories are good.