That’s partially because the Indians — aside from a stretch from 1995-2001 and then briefly in 2007 — haven’t been very good, and thus have given the Sox plenty of wins over the years. But the Cleveland franchise has also helped the Red Sox by offering its talent to Boston.
Most recently, the Sox snagged Victor Martinez from the Tribe at last year’s trading deadline. This year, all Martinez has done is lead all major league hitters with a .483 average against lefties (among hitters with at least 21 at-bats). He’s been a rock for the Red Sox and a distant memory for the Indians.
Prior to that, though, was an even bigger addition for the Red Sox. That would be none other than Manny Ramirez. The left fielder was a major part of that surge to power in the late ’90s, hitting 36 homers per season from ’95-2000. Yet just as he hit his prime, he also hit the road, signing with the Red Sox in ’01 for what was then the most lucrative contract in baseball. He went on to win two World Series, a World Series MVP, hit 274 more homers for the Red Sox and become a Boston folk hero (until the ending, which was a bit ugly).
Long before Ramirez grew his first strand of dreadlocks, though, another Hall of Famer made the jump from Cleveland to Boston. Dennis Eckersley was 40-32 with a 3.23 ERA in 107 appearances for Cleveland from 1975-77. The Indians then traded the pitcher to Boston, and though he wears an Oakland hat in Cooperstown, Eckersley will always be beloved for his time in a Red Sox uniform.
So, as Ray in New Bedford, Mass., asks, who’s your favorite Indian-turned-Red Sox? If it’s Victor Martinez, text “SOX1” to 542542. If it’s Manny, text “SOX2” to 542542. If it’s Eck, text “SOX3” to 542542.