There’s no doubt Boston is a premier destination for marquee free agents in all sports.
The latest player to take his talents to Beantown is NBA All-Star forward Gordon Hayward, who agreed to a reported four-year max contract with the Celtics on the Fourth of July.
With that in mind, let’s go over some of the top free-agent signings in Boston sports history.
Zdeno Chara: The Bruins got their latest franchise defenseman in June 2006. Since then, Chara has tallied 429 points, a Norris Trophy, as well as a leading role in the Bruins’ first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years back in 2011.
David Ortiz: “Big Papi” needs no introduction. On January 22, 2003, Ortiz signed a non-guaranteed free-agent contract with Boston, and his legend began. Some say he’s the most clutch hitter in baseball history, helping give the Red Sox an extremely elusive World Series championship in 2004, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino.” Ortiz ended his Red Sox career with three World Series titles (2004, 2007 and 2013).
Manny Ramirez: It’s only right Manny lands on the list right after Ortiz, as the two played pivotal roles in bringing the Red Sox back to life. Ramirez signed with the Sox in 2000 on an eight-year, $160 million deal, and he delivered six seasons with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI. He also won 2004 World Series MVP honors.
Rodney Harrison: Harrison signed a six-year deal with the Patriots in 2003. Despite a reputation for being a dirty player, No. 37 played a pivotal role in two Super Bowl titles with the Pats in 2003 and 2004. He also owns the NFL record for career sacks by a defensive back with 30.5.
Malcolm Butler: Everybody knew Butler after his game-winning interception on Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Super Bowl XLIX, but before that, he was merely an undrafted, undersized corner. He was signed by the Patriots on May 19, 2014 as a rookie free agent, and recently collected his second Super Bowl ring in three seasons as a pro.
Marc Savard: The Bruins signed Savard in 2006, and he quickly became a huge part of the resurgence leading into their 2011 Stanley Cup championship. He was a point-per-game player with the Bruins, and if he had not run into severe concussion issues, there’s no telling the type of career he would have had.
Keith Foulke: Foulke dominated after the Red Sox signed him in October of 2013, pitching the final inning of the club’s 2004 title run a year later. Dangerous even before coming to Boston, he was an enormous add to a Sox team looking to contend for a championship. You could even make a case Foulke should have been awarded 2004 World Series MVP after pitching five strong innings and recording a save in the closer role.
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