Much of the talk surrounding the Red Sox this season has been about the team’s new focus on "defense, defense, defense." Even off the field, the team has continued the trend as the franchise has named some defensive standouts in its 2010 Hall of Fame class.
Four uniformed former Sox are part of the class in addition to one non-uniformed inductee, along with a great moment in Red Sox history. Jimmy Piersall, John Valentin and Tommy Harper represent the playing faction of the new Hall of Fame class, while Don Zimmer — who holds the third-best winning percentage as a manager in club history and the sixth-most wins — mans the non-player slot.
Piersall was a standout in center for the 1950s Red Sox, bringing home two Gold Gloves (one in Boston) on his way to holding the best fielding percentage among outfielders in club history. He perhaps most well-known for his struggles with bipolar disorder, chronicled in Fear Strikes Out.
Not content with just stabilizing the Hall of Fame’s outfield, Valentin was also elected. Valentin has the franchise’s best career fielding percentage among shortstops and once went a record 65 errorless games at third base. The utility man was pretty handy with the bat, too, once coming up with seven RBIs in a game during the 1999 ALDS.
Harper was one of the fastest outfielders to ever grace the grass at Fenway, his 54 stolen bases in 1973 breaking Tris Speaker’s long-standing record. He is now in his 21st season with the Red Sox, currently serving as a player development consultant.
The defensive theme continued with the selection of Tom Brunansky’s diving catch from Oct. 3, 1990 making the cut as a memorable moment — the first defensive play to make it into the Hall. Brunansky saved a 3-1 win over the Indians, a game that clinched the Sox’ third Eastern Division title in five seasons.
"If you’ve never played for the Red Sox, you’ll never really understand what a baseball fan is," Brunansky said of his time in Boston. "With all the history in Boston, it’s an honor to have even a small part of my career included in the Red Sox Hall of Fame."