Thursday, March 22, 2018

Before There Was Brock Holt, There Was Billy Goodman

Billy Goodman (Getty Images)
"He was like the perfect guy to be on a ballclub because he could play so many different positions. As a utility player he was perfect in that way, too. He could go in any time and do a good job." Brock Holt of the Red Sox, right? Actually, that quote was from Bobby Doerr, about his teammate Billy Goodman. Had he lived, today would have been Goodman's 92nd birthday. He played 11 seasons in Carmine Hose, hitting .306 over that span with a .386 OBP. He played everywhere—first base, short, second base, left-field. Wherever he was needed on the Red Sox teams of the late 1940s through the late 1950s, Goodman was your guy. And, while he lacked power, he was a terrific hitter—winning the American League batting title in 1950 with a .354 average. He finished up his his 16-year MLB career at exactly .300. Goodman was also a two-time All-Star and finished second in the AL MVP voting in 1950—unheard of for a utility player. He lost that year to Yankee Phil Rizzuto. So, just remember, the "utility" role did not just show up lately—it's been a Red Sox thing for a long time.