By Sterling Pingree
The Red Sox have five players taking part in this year’s mid-summer classic and for four of them it’s just another rite of the season. For Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, it’s not their first rodeo and likely not their last. However, Mitch Moreland is an All-Star for the first time since 2008 when he was named an All-Star in single-A. Will Moreland’s first All-Star game be a memorable one? Will it be the first of a nice run, or will it be overshadowed by his more acclaimed teammates?
(That’s not a knock on Moreland, his peers are in some pretty tall cotton. Betts and Martinez are MVP candidates, Sale is a Cy Young contender and Kimbrel has 30 saves and a sub-2 ERA in the first half.)
In my research I found that I kept saying: “I forgot (player X) made an All-Star team.” So I’ve created another team for these guys to be named to, I call them “The Red Sox’ All-Stars that you forgot were All-Stars.”
- Jose Offerman-1999.
Offerman was a stalwart at the top of the order from 1999 to 2002 but it felt a lot longer. Offerman was solid but unspectacular, he did however lead the American League in triples in 1998 and 1999. His numbers in 1999 don’t jump out at you, .294 average, 8 home runs and 69 RBI, but 11 triples. For the record, he would only hit 6 more triples in his next 2.5 seasons in Boston.
T-9. Brock Holt 2015 & Steven Wright 2016
I know what you’re thinking, both of these guys were All-Stars during the Farrell era, I haven’t forgotten them. YET. Holt has never had a full-time position during his time with the Red Sox and Wright is a knuckleballer who apparently can’t stay healthy after having an all world first half of 2016. This one is more speculative as I believe both of these will be looked at much of the way the top 8 selections on this list will be viewed in the future.
- Adrian Gonzalez 2011
I felt almost bad that this one surprised me, Adrian Gonzalez was a good player but he was in Boston during a dark, dark era and I’ve basically blocked out any positive thoughts about Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez or Nick Punto. But it wasn’t always like that, Gonzalez was excellent in his first year in Boston batting .338, 27 homers, 117 RBI and led the AL with 213 hits. A-Gon was all gone when the Sox dumped all of their horrible contracts (and Nick Punto) on the Dodgers mid-way through the 2012 season.
- J.D. Drew 2008
This one I didn’t forget, although one could make a similar case to the one that was made for Adrian Gonzalez that J.D. Drew’s success in Boston is pretty much limited to his first inning grand slam against the Indians in game 6 of the 2007 ALCS. But that would be forgetting that not only was Drew an All-Star in 2008, but was named the MVP of the game. That was the game where the AL won in 15 innings and Drew hit a 2-run home run to tie the game in the 6th inning. Because the game went so long, Drew wound up playing essentially an entire game. I remember Drew making a great defensive play as well, but after scouring the internet, like most Red Sox fans’ memories of J.D. Drew, this probably didn’t actually happen.
- Carl Everett 2000
Jurassic Carl wasn’t always an umpire bumping lunatic. Well maybe he was, but in his first 3.5 months as the Sox centerfielder, he was tremendous. A switch hitter that had power the team had been lacking since the departure of Mo Vaughn. We liked everything about Everett, the way he chewed a tooth pick while in the batter box, the casual way he flipped the ball back to the infield after making a great catch and power from both sides of the plate. Everett looked like the greatest bargain in Baseball. Until he bumped umpire Ron Kulpa, yadda yadda yadda Everett would play one more year in Boston and then for 5 more teams over the next 5 seasons and never be seen again.
- Ugueth Urbina 2002
Is it just me or has this list taken a dark turn? Urbina came to Boston in a deadline deal in 2001 and only saved 9 games as the team immediately dropped WAY out of the playoff hunt. However Urbina bounced back in 2002 saving 40 games. Urbina left via free agency after 2002 as the Sox decided to go with the closer by committee sham. Urbina’s career ended in 2005 when he was arrested for threatening 5 workers on his family ranch with multiple machetes and poured gasoline on them. Urbina was sentenced to over 14 years in jail, but was released in 2012.
- Mark Loretta 2006
I totally forgot this one, probably because Loretta only played one year in Boston. I’m sure it was that and not the fact that he only hit .285 with 5 home runs. My only Loretta memory is his walk off against the Mariners. Loretta only made one other All-Star team and that was in 2004 as a member of the Padres. I could argue with myself that this one should be higher.
- Jerry Remy 1978
Be honest, did you know Jerry Remy made an All-Star team? What if I told you that in 1978, Remy hit TWO home runs and batted .278? Struck out 55 times? Walked 40? The best stat from Remy’s ’78 season? 30 stolen bases, only got caught 13 times. My god baseball was weird in the 70’s. When a team wins 99 games and at the All-Star break looks unbeatable, I guess everybody makes the ASG.
(For the record, the Sox had 7 named to the team in 1978: starters Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice. Reserves Remy, Rick Burleson, Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn and Carl Yastrzemski. No pitchers were named to the team and Billy Martin named Burleson and Yaz to the team even though they were injured and picked Lynn as a replacement for another injured player. I feel like Martin was just trying to exhaust the entire Sox team so they’d collapse down the stretch so the Yankees could overtake them in a one game playoff. Well the jokes on you Billy Martin, because that all happened, but you were forced to quit (so you weren’t fired) before the season ended and replaced by Bob Lemon. At least you didn’t get fired Billy Martin!)
- Erik Hanson 1995
Have you noticed the trend on this list that there aren’t a lot of pitchers on it? In the modern era, the Sox haven’t really had that many pitchers make that many All-Star teams, but Hanson might be the most forgettable of the bunch. Hanson went 15-5 with a pedestrian 4.24 ERA in 1995 when the Sox won the AL East and were swept by the Indians in the divisional round. Hanson didn’t make an appearance in the game, the only Sox’ player to make an appearance in the game itself was Mo Vaughn who went 0-2 with 2 strike outs.
Shockingly, I do have one warm memory of Erik Hanson. He pitched the first Red Sox game I ever went to. August 14, 1995 vs the Yankees, Sox won 9-3. Mo Vaughn (1995 MVP) hit a two run bomb into the NET of the Green Monster in the first inning.
- Scott Cooper 1993 AND 1994
Scott Cooper takes the prize here because he not only made the team once in 1993 which was fluke-ish enough, he made it again in 1994! Cooper was the Sox lone All-Star both years and only made the team because each team has to have a representative and Roger Clemens had discovered rotisserie chicken. Cooper hit .279 1993 and .282 in 1994. Though he did have a career high 13 homers in the strike shortened 1994 season, if the season hadn’t been shortened due to the strike, who knows how many he could have hit? Perhaps the greatest lament from a season that didn’t feature a World Series.
Cooper would sign a $1.5 million dollar deal with St. Louis after the ’94 season. After batting .230 with 3 homers in St. Louis, Cooper went unsigned through free agency and wound up signing a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions. After a year in Japan, Cooper played 75 games for KC before calling it a career.
Scott Cooper, career .265 hitter which is 97 points worse than Mookie Betts this season and with only 4 more career home runs (33) than J.D. Martinez has going into this All-Star game (29). Scott Cooper played in more All-Star Games as a member of the Red Sox than Jim Lonborg, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook.com.