Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hall Of Fame Red Sox Centerfielder Tris Speaker Would Have Been 130 Today

(Getty Images)
Tris Speaker's story would be cool enough just because he was traded from the Red Sox to the Cleveland Indians for the equally cool Sad Sam Jones. Jones went on to win a ring for Boston as a star pitcher in the 1918 World Series. But, of course, Speaker was a force of his own here for nine amazing years. Over that span (1907-1915), he hit .337 with a .414 OBP and an .896 OPS. And he was a great center fielder—leading the league in putouts seven times. Along with Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis, Speaker made Boston's one of the best defensive outfields in MLB history. Over his entire 22-year career (he spent 11 even better years in Cleveland), he batted .345 and is still the all-time leader in doubles with 792. After a poor rookie year, the Red Sox did not initially renew his contract—and the Giants refused the player's entreaties to play in New York for John McGraw. Eventually, he would wind up back with The Carmine Hose. The fans loved him, and upon his return as a member of the Tribe, he was cheered mightily. He even once mistakenly started running toward the Red Sox dugout after an inning. We were lucky to have him here for nearly a decade—a decade that saw him part of two World Series Championships. Today is Speaker's 130th birthday. Happy birthday, Grey Eagle!