The MLB All-Star Game is tonight featuring two Red Sox, David Ortiz, starting at DH and Dustin Pedroia (right), as a reserve second baseman. I thought it would be a good time to look back at the best Red Sox performances throughout All-Star Game history. From Pedro Martinez's dominance to Ted Williams' heroics I wanted to pick the greatest Red Sox All-Stars, based solely on their showings in the game's summer showcase. While some of those selected here are rather predictable, others are not who you thought they'd be, and that's the fun of exercises like this.
Remember, this is just one man's opinion, and your team could be completely different. But for the record, here are my Alltime Red Sox All-Stars.
Catcher: The first Red Sox All-Star was catcher Rick Ferrell who went 0-3 with a sacrifice bunt in his four trips to the plate in the inaugural mid-summer classic played at Chicago's Comiskey Park in 1933. And since then only three Red Sox backstops have managed any All-Star hits, just one had a multi-hit game and he's also the only Sox catcher to walke twice in a game. Is it Carlton Fisk? Nope, Pudge was 1 for 12 in his six games for Boston. Jason Varitek? The Captain did bat .500 with an OBP of .667 but came to the plate in only one of the two games he was selected for. The answer is Birdie Tebbets who played in the 1948 and 1949 All-Star contests and reached base four out of five trips to the plate. He and Fisk are also the only Sox catchers to drive in an All-Star run.
First Base: An 18-time All-Star, Carl Yastrzemski was primarily a left fielder throughout his career but also played a significant number of games at first, including three of his All-Star appearances. As a first sacker, Yaz was an impressive 4 for 7 in All-Star competition, including 2 for 3 at the spot after moving from center field in his MVP 1970 game. Honorable mentions go to David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and George Scott, all of whom went deep.
Second Base: The table is set tonight for Dustin Pedroia who, with a good game, could take over the top spot from Bobby Doerr who appeared in eight ASG's, reaching base via hit just four times, accounting for every hit by a Sox second sacker in 32 All-Star at bats.
Shortstop: With 18 total games spread out seven All-Star shortstops to choose from you'd figure that there would be some competition for this honor, but the spot goes without much of a fight to Joe Cronin, who in five appearances hit .235 with a double and two runs batted in. In 1935 his second inning scoring fly (sacrifice flies weren't accounted for during much of the 1930's and 40's) provided the deciding run in the AL's 4-1 victory.
Third Base: Eight different Red Sox have manned the hot corner in the ASG, with Wade Boggs leading the way with eight games played and a typical .368 batting average. He gets the nod over Frank Malzone who was selected seven times and is one of just two Sox third basemen (with Boggs) to smack an All-Star homer.
Left Field: Only Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial played in more All Star Games (24) than Williams (18) who famously missed all or part of five seasons due to his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Williams ranks fourth in All Star history in plate appearances, fifth in at bats, is tied for third in hits (14), tied for second in home runs (4), leads in RBI's (12) and walks (11).
Center Field: An All-Star in each of his six seasons with the Sox, Fred Lynn is an alltimer when it comes to All-Star play. While his legendary 1983 grand slam came as a member of the California Angels, the other three of his Ted Williams-tying four midseason classic home runs came representing Boston, as did half of 10 career All-Star RBIs, placing him in a tie for second. His 1.262 OPS ranks first among all Sox with more than five career All Star trips to the plate.
Right Field: Despite names like Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Dom DiMaggio and Jimmy Piersall all playing in more All-Star games than him, it's J.D. Drew and his MVP 2008 that gets the nod. Entering the game in the sixth as Ichiro Suzuki's replacement, Drew went on a tear, touching up Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez for a two-run blast in the seventh. Drew also walked, singled and stole a base in the AL's marathon 15-inning victory.
DH: There's only been one Red Sox DH in All Star competition so that means one of the team's three current All-Stars, David Ortiz, and his .357/.438/.571 All-Star line, with a home run wins in a walk-over.
Starting Pitcher: Throughout the years seven Red Sox— Lefty Grove, Mel Parnell, Bill Monbouquette, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe— have started the All-Star Game on the hill— pitching to an overall record of 2-3. Nobody was as dominant in any game as Martinez who fanned Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell of the six batters he faced in 1999, the only All-Star Game he appears in for Boston (he sat through three more).
Reliever: Jonathan Papelbon pitched three times as a Red Sox All-Star with two hits allowed, striking out five in three scoreless innings of work. Although he never got an All-Star save, he was the winning pitcher in the 2009 Classic in St. Louis.
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.