Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Are We Witnessing The Best Red Sox Team Ever, Or Just A Really Good One?

As your 2018 Carmine Hose roll on toward a very likely franchise-record third straight American League East Division title, people are starting to wonder: Is this the best Red Sox team ever? To paraphrase Pulp Fiction's Winston Wolfe"Well, let's not get too excited quite yet." This is a remarkable, talented, even-keeled squad—thanks in large part to the leadership of Alex Cora. And, certainly, with two legitimate MVP candidates (Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez) raging through the league, they are a fearsome force to be reckoned with. But are they the best ever in Boston? A serious contender (despite their ultimate failure in the one-game play-off at Fenway) has to be the 1978 team. The outfield of Jim Rice in left, Fred Lynn in center and Dwight Evans in right is (overall) arguably even better than the Killer B trio of today. After all, the three 1978 OFs combined for 92 HRs and 284 RBIs. Carlton Fisk delivered 20 HRs of his own—while Butch Hobson added 17 (as did some 38-year-old guy named Carl Yastrzemski). Hobson was joined on the infield by George Scott at 1B, Jerry Remy at 2B and Rick Burleson at SS—pretty damned good crew. Starters? Well, the ever-present Dennis Eckersley went 20-8 in 1978—with a 2.99 ERA in 35 starts. Mike "He Who Shall Not Be Named" Torrez won 16 games—while Luis Tiant won 13 and Bill 'Spaceman' Lee won 10. The Sox bullpen consisted of: Bob Stanley, Bill Campbell, Dick Drago, Tom Burgmeier and Andy Hassler. And, there are other contenders, too: the 1946 pennant-winners, the 1912 World Series Champs, the 2013 'Bearded Band Of Brothers' and, of course, the 2004 'Idiots'. So, let's wait to see how this team finishes up 2018—and then we'll place their achievements in perspective.