There are very few baseball teams with a richer history than the Boston Red Sox. Their nine World Series championships are tied for third all-time. The team also seems primed to potentially win additional titles during the next several seasons. With the benefit of advanced statistics, let’s look at the five best pitchers and batters to ever play for the Red Sox according to the WAR statistic.
(Note: These rankings are based solely on each players WAR during their career with the Boston Red Sox. All WAR statistics are from Baseball Reference. The batting statistics can be accessed here and the pitching information can be found here.
5) Dwight Evans: 1972-1990 (Career Red Sox WAR: 66.5)
- Career Stats (20 years): 8,996 at bats, 2,446 runs, 385 home runs, 1,384 RBI, 78 stolen bases, .272 BA
- Red Sox Stats (19 years): 8,726 at bats, 2,373 runs, 379 home runs, 1,346 RBI, 76 stolen bases, .272 BA
Evans is the first of several long time Boston Red Sox on this list. He is second only to Carl Yastrzemski on the list of games played in Boston and was also a three-time All-Star. Known mostly for his defensive ability, Evan was able to help his team play in two ALCS series and two World Series.
4) Wade Boggs: 1982-1992 (Career Red Sox WAR: 71.9)
- Career Stats (18 years): 9,180 at bats, 1,513 runs, 118 home runs, 1,014 RBI, 24 stolen bases, .328 BA
- Red Sox Stats (11 years): 6,213 at bats, 1,067 runs, 85 home runs, 687 RBI, 16 stolen bases, .338 BA
Despite playing only 11 seasons with the Red Sox, Boggs was able to establish himself as one of the best players on one of baseball’s most historic franchises. Boggs made eight of his twelve All-Star appearances with Boston and also helped the team reach the 1986 World Series. The hitting machine ranks 33rd in career batting average in MLB history (.328). He is also one of only 32 players to ever hit for 3,000 hits in MLB (https://www.mlb.com/news/3000-hit-club–baseballs-rare-feats/c-273059328).
3) Roger Clemens: 1984-1996 (Career Red Sox WAR: 81.0)
- Career Stats (24 years): 707 games started, 354 wins, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts
- Red Sox Stats (13 years): 382 games started, 192 wins, 3.06 ERA, 2,590 strikeouts
“Rocket” Roger Clemens is one of the best pitchers to ever pick up a baseball. The former AL MVP as an MLB record seven Cy Young Awards and is tied with Cy Young himself for the most wins in team history (192). While he couldn’t capture his first title until moving to the rival New York Yankees, Clemens did lead the Red Sox to the playoffs four times, including one World Series appearance. Despite speculations that he used performance enhancing substances during his career, Clemens remains one of the greatest players to ever suit up for Boston.
2) Carl Yastrzemski: 1961-1983 (Career Red Sox WAR: 96.4)
- Career Stats (23 years): 11,988 at bats, 1,816 runs, 452 home runs, 1,844 RBI, 168 stolen bases, .285 BA
- Red Sox Stats (23 years): Yastrzemski played his entire career with Boston.
There are only a handful of players in the history of baseball who are as decorated as Yastrzemski. The legendary 18-time All-Star is the Red Sox all-time leader in hits, at-bats, runs and RBI. Yaz only made the postseason twice in his career and was eliminated in the World Series each time. His best career season came in 1967 when he won the Triple Crown, AL MVP, and led his team to within a game of a championship.
1) Ted Williams: 1939-1960 (Career Red Sox WAR: 123.1)
- Career Stats (19 years): 7,706 at bats, 1,798 runs, 521 home runs, 1,839 RBI, 24 stolen bases, .344 BA
- Red Sox Stats (19 years): Williams played his entire career with Boston. (Note: He missed the 1943-1945 seasons due to military service)
How do you beat an 18-time All-Star? With a 19-time All-Star! Ted Williams incredible 123.1 WAR clearly cements him as the top player in franchise history. The only blemish on William’s resume is his lack of postseason success. His lone playoff opportunity ended with a lose in the 1946 World Series. His is Boston’s all-time leader in batting average, home runs, and walks. His .482 on base percentage is has also been a MLB record since 1960.
- Cy Young (66.2)
- Pedro Martinez (53.9)
- David Ortiz (52.7)
- Dustin Pedroia (52.1)
- Lefty Grove (45.2)