Editor's Note: NESN.com Red Sox reporter Tony Lee will examine one hot-button baseball topic each day in December. On Tuesday, he wrote that Adrian Gonzalez may be a better fit for the Red Sox than Mark Teixeira would have been.
He hasn't seen one pitch while in Boston, unless you count those made by the Red Sox front office. His shoulder will not allow him to swing for several more weeks. And while it is assumed that he will be under contract through 2018, there is no "official" word on any long-term extension for Adrian Gonzalez.
Therefore, it's next to impossible to rank Gonzalez in Red Sox history. He has yet to get started. But giving him a somewhat normal, healthy eight-year stint in Boston, Gonzalez would likely put up some awesome numbers. Someday soon we may be asking, where does Adrian Gonzalez rank among first baseman in Red Sox history?
Here are those that Gonzalez will be chasing down.
1. Jimmie Foxx
The debate has to begin with this Hall of Famer, who hit .325 in seven seasons with the Sox. He led the American League in homers with 35 in 1939, and the year before that may have had the best offensive season in team history, including all those put forth by Ted Williams.
While playing all 149 of his games at first base, Foxx paced the AL with a .349 average and set a Red Sox franchise record that still stands with 175 RBIs. That figure still ranks fourth in baseball history. Foxx won his only Most Valuable Player Award in Boston that year; previously, he won two with Philadelphia.
2. Mo Vaughn
If MVP awards mean anything, and they should, then Vaughn is on par with Foxx, at least in one category. Vaughn won the honor in 1995 after hitting .300 with 39 homers and a league-leading 126 RBIs. From 1993-1998, he hit .315 with an average of 36 home runs and 111 RBIs, about as productive a six-season stretch for any Red Sox player in history. Vaughn ranks fifth in franchise history in OPS, seventh in homers and 10th in RBIs.
3. George Scott
Perhaps the best of the bunch when it came to defense, Scott played more games at first than anyone else in club history. "Boomer" won eight career Gold Glove awards, three of them with Boston. He was an All-Star as a rookie with the Sox in 1966, hit .303 with the "Impossible Dream" team in '67 and slugged 33 homers in his return to the city in '77 after several years with Milwaukee.
4. Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis is kept behind Scott on this list only because he has always felt that pull back to third base, which is where he will go with Gonzalez in the fold. Youkilis has played just 575 games at first in seven seasons with the team. Still, he has played them well. A Gold Glover in 2007 at first, Youkilis has been among the most consistent offensive producers in the game over the past three years. He's hit above .300 each time while posting an OPS of at least .958. Perhaps the fact that he can so easily shift across the diamond should earn him some more points. Alas, we'll see him remain a stalwart at third, where he figures to settle in for the remainder of his career.
5. Carl Yastrzemski
He is remembered as one of the franchise's great left fielders, but Yaz played the bulk of his games at first in the mid-1970s and ranks fifth in team history in appearances at the position. His career numbers as a first baseman were slightly lower than everywhere else. Still, he played the bulk of his amazing 1970 campaign (.329 average, 40 homers, league-leading 125 runs) at first and was there most of the time from 1973-76, helping the Sox average 88 wins per year.
Gonzalez has his work cut out for him, but given his career path and the fact that he is a candidate to break out in a big way at Fenway Park, he could climb this list rather fast.
Where will Adrian Gonzalez rank among first baseman in Red Sox history? Share your thoughts below.
On deck: How does the Red Sox infield compare to the Yankees?
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