Monday, January 28, 2013

Remembering Red Sox Great Pete Runnels

Pete Runnels
Had he lived, Pete Runnels would have been 85 years old today. He passed away in 1991 at the far too young age of 63. Runnels was one of the few bright lights on the Red Sox teams of the early 1960s—winning two batting titles with the Carmine Hose (.320 in 1960; .326 in 1962). The left-handed hitting, All-Star second baseman (who also played first) got on base at a .400 clip or better in four of the five seasons he was in Boston—an early precursor to the Moneyball way of things. Runnels was destined to spend his whole career on "also-ran" clubs—starting with the abysmal Washington Senators, going to the almost as abysmal Red Sox and finishing with the expansion Houston Colt .45s. He deserved a better fate. As a young kid, I remember taking extra care of the 8X10 black and white glossy photos of Runnels, Ted Williams, Jackie Jensen and Frank Malzone ($1 for a pack of 10 at Fenway Park). Those were the only stars of those woeful Sox teams—but we loved them as if they were all champions. And Pete Runnels was one of the best.