Second base has been a position of stability and strength for much of the existence of our home town team. Unlike first base, where the Sox have had a revolving door year after year, the second basemen generally stick around a while. As a side note, Jose Offerman did not quite make the list, despite his cherished on base skills.
10. Del Pratt (1921 – 1922): Unlike the other guys on this list, Pratt played second base for only a short period, at an undistinguished time. But the man could hit. After coming over from the Yankees, Pratt hit .324 and drove in 102 runs his first year with the Sox, and followed it with another .300 season with lots of doubles and RBI in his second year as well. By the way, the trade with the Yankees, like so many of them, wasn’t worth it. We gave up Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt and catcher Wally Schang to get him.
9. Mike Andrews (1967 – 1970): Andrews is, I’m sure, remembered well by Sox fans of a certain age. His rookie season coincided with the Impossible Dream, and he had a couple of excellent seasons in the late ‘60s. In 1969, for example, he hit .293 with 15 homers and 71 walks, numbers that would fit in well with Dustin Pedroia’s career. He did just as well in ’68, when you take into account that it was the year of the pitcher. Andrews was particularly well suited for Fenway Park; like other hitters, he wasn’t much of a hitter outside of Fenway, but he hit like hell while in the Friendly confines. Andrews dropped off both offensively and defensively in 1970, and was shipped off to the White Sox for an aging Luis Aparicio. He has since continued to endear himself to the local faithful by serving as chairman of the Jimmy Fund.
8. Hobe Ferris (1901 -1907): The original second sacker of the crimson hose, Ferris wasn’t much of a hitter, but was considered excellent defensively at a time when defense was critical. He also had a reputation as a fighter, and got into some nasty episodes on the field. Ferris was an important cog of the first pennant winning teams.
7. Jerry Remy (1978 – 1983): I’m happy the Rem Dog made the list, and I wish I could rank him higher. No bonus points for entertaining the faithful for a couple of decades, but I could be persuaded otherwise. He hit for solid averages during his time in Boston, but didn’t contribute in too many other ways on the field. I didn’t realize until looking back just how little power he had – two home runs during his entire existence in Boston, and very, very few extra base hits of any type. He didn’t hit too well against lefties, and I’m not sure he was much of a fielder, but he was, and is, the Rem Dog.
6. Jody Reed (1990 – 1992): Five solid seasons, including two at short, and two division titles. Like Remy, he hit for solid averages and didn’t hit for power. Unlike Remy, he hit lots of doubles, leading the league in that category at one time, and had good plate discipline, leading to an on base percentage consistently north of .370. Decent defense as well. The Sox dumped him after his first off year, and it proved to be the right move.
5. Marty Barrett (1984 – 1989): From 1978 through 1992, second base was in reliable hands. Another guy who hit for average without much power, but solid overall production. Played almost every game for the ’86 pennant winners.
4. Pete Runnels (1958 – 1960): Runnels actually played in Boston longer, but moved to first base after the 1960 season. Needless to say he wasn’t exactly a gold glove winner, but his lowest average in the five years he was here was .314. Two batting titles, three all-star games, and an on-base percentage consistently over .400. A career .332 hitter at Fenway Park.
3. Billy Goodman (1951 – 1956): The first of the distinguished history of first/second sacker combos (a tradition existing probably nowhere else), Goodman hit for an excellent average, got on base a lot, had no power, and was questionable defensively. He did it for longer than the other guys. Maybe Duquette acquired Offerman for nostalgia… You could put the guys ranked third through seventh on this list in any order, and I wouldn’t put up too much of a fight.
2. Dustin Pedroia (2007 – 2013): The only remaining question is how much longer does he have to play at this level before he passed Bobby Doerr for first on the list? The answer is a while. Doerr was good for an awful long time, when you take into account the years he lost to the war.
1. Bobby Doerr (1937 – 1951): I don’t think he looked anything like Pedy, but his typical numbers were awfully similar. I don’t think I realized how good Doerr was until I reviewed his numbers. A very consistent contributor, Doerr averaged over 90 RBIs a year for a long time. There was simply nothing he couldn’t do. His numbers also remind me somewhat of Chase Utley at the Phillies in his prime, but Utley didn’t produce for nearly as long.