Editor’s note: On Sunday, June 21 at 7 p.m. ET, NESN will air the “Red Sox Fantasy Draft.” Choosing from a pool of the top players at each position in Red Sox history, six of our MLB analysts will participate in a draft to build the best team they possibly can. In the lead up to that, we’ll be looking back at that top players at each position in franchise history. Today, it’s catchers.
Over the years, the Red Sox have had no shortage of adept backstops who could contribute both with the bat and behind the plate.
In recent memory, the Red Sox have been fortunate to have a good bit of stability at the position, which really is the continuation of a trend that’s popped up throughout the franchise’s history of having reliable catchers hanging around for years.
Here are a few of the top catchers in Red Sox history.
Of course, he’s well regarded for one of the most iconic home runs in franchise history, which is part of the reason he is the only catcher to have his number retired by the Red Sox.
But the Hall of Famer had a simply tremendous 11-year run in Boston, batting .284 with 162 homers while driving in 568 runs. He won Rookie of the Year in 1972, was a seven-time All-Star with the Red Sox, won a Gold Glove and received MVP votes in four different seasons. Not bad.
A Red Sox lifer over 15 seasons, Varitek is far and away the top Red Sox catcher since Fisk.
Varitek provided consistently sound game-calling and defense — even if he couldn’t really catch Tim Wakefield — and was a pretty useful hitter, even winning a Silver Slugger for a tremendous 2005 season that also saw him win a Gold Glove, make the All-Star team and receive MVP votes.
That he helped guide the Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles during his career is a plus, as well.
What sometimes keeps Ferrell from being named as one of the top catchers in Red Sox history is that he played just five of his 18 pro seasons with the Red Sox and it was in an era in which Boston was not that good. But man, could Ferrell do a lot.
The Baseball and Red Sox Hall of Famer was as solid a defensive catcher as they come, often posting a caught stealing percentage above the league average. He also hit .302 with the Red Sox and seldom struck out, even if he didn’t often hit homers. Ferrell was an All-Star in four of his seasons with Boston.
Above all else, Gedman is a really cool story. He was a local kid who had a solid decade with the Red Sox and was behind the plate for some of Roger Clemens’ finest moments in a Boston uniform.
But while his defense was plenty fine, Gedman, like Varitek, was a useful hitter, batting .259 with a .723 OPS over 906 games in Boston. He now serves as the hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket and is set to be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame this year.
Longevity is what sets White apart here.
While he was a middle-of-the-road catcher overall, he was good enough to log 981 games for the Red Sox over the course of the 1950s, oftentimes proving to be one of the brighter spots in an otherwise grim set of years for the franchise.
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