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 relief pitchers.
From Nathan Eovaldi’s six-plus innings of relief in 2018, to Keith Foulke’s heroics helping the team survive and advance in 2004, some of the most memorable moments in Boston Red Sox history have come, literally, from the hand of a pitcher in relief.
And more often than not, the morning after a World Series victory, it’s the closer who is photographed front and center on the front page of local newspapers.
So here are some of the best relief pitchers in Red Sox history:
Watching Papelbon take over on the mound often led to a roller coaster of emotion during his seven-year tenure with the Sox, as he’d load up the bases just to notch three-consecutive strikeouts and retire the side.
But what a ride it was. He was an All-Star in three seasons with the Sox and six times total. He also ranks third in games played as a pitcher (396) and his 219 saves is a franchise record.
Before Papelbon came along, Stanley’s 132 saves were the most in Red Sox history. However, his 637 games played and 377 games finished are still franchise bests.
His 13-year career from 1977-89 earned him a spot in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Even though he didn’t start the 2013 season as Boston’s closer, he finished it as the ALCS MVP while also recording the final out of the World Series
In four years with the Sox, he recorded a 0.81 WHIP, 79 saves and 291 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.19.
No reliever has reached the 300th save of their career faster than Kimbrel, who achieved the milestone in just his 330th attempt.
With the Red Sox he recorded 108 of his 346 saves to date, which is third in Red Sox history. In his 187 appearances with the team he finished 155 games with an ERA of 2.44.
Radatz’s nickname was “The Monster” while he played with the Red Sox from 1962-66, and in the 16 at-bats he faced Mickey Mantle, Radatz struck the legendary hitter out 12 times.
Considered Boston’s first true closer, he racked up 102 saves. And for pitchers used exclusively out of the bullpen, his 18.2 WAR leads all Red Sox relievers. Radatz appeared in 286 games for Boston, finishing 244 with 102 saves and 627 strikeouts.
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