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The 20 most important Red Sox . . .

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  November 28, 2008 06:16 PM

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11. Larry Lucchino: Polished, brilliant, articulate, versatile, and I suspect, a very willing and effective Bad Cop behind the scenes. Something tells me he didn't take George Steinbrenner's "he's a chameleon" comment a few years ago entirely as an insult.

12. Tom Werner: You'd think the former producer of "The Cosby Show" and "Rosanne" would make sure NESN had better programming than "Sox Appeal" and "The Ken Macha Comatose Comedy Hour." Let's get the Eck a talk show, for starters. And a Butch Hobson "RedSoxography" would definitely be a ratings winner.

13. Jason Bay: He didn't necessarily make us forget Manny, but he was an extremely productive hitter while also being a swell guy and a conscientious and dependable teammate. The Red Sox couldn't have asked for more. Now he needs to do it again.

14. Justin Masterson: His versatility gives the Sox tremendous flexibility with their pitching staff, and given that he was touching 96 mph in the postseason, I'm beginning to think he's actually undersold by the "next Derek Lowe" label.

15. Jacoby Ellsbury: Coco's a Royal. The job's yours, kid. Time to justify the faith.

16. Janet Marie Smith: In the final seasons of the Harrington regime, Fenway Park was increasingly dirty and dilapidated, and the sentimentalists among us who resisted the idea of a new ballpark were beginning to realize it was inevitable, perhaps even a necessity. Now here we are, not even a decade later, and thanks in large part to Smith, a miracle has happened: Fenway is getting better with age.

17. Bill James: Though the Big Daddy of Sabermetrics' contributions to the Red Sox are somewhat clandestine, anyone who is familiar with his work has no doubt his insights are both unique and immensely valuable. Should he ever leave the Sox, he'd damn well better write a book about the experience.

18. Craig Shipley: The former utility infielder is the point man on the Red Sox' increasingly aggressive -- and thus far remarkably successful -- forays into Japan.

19. Mike Dee: He gets respect. Your cash and your jewelry is what he expects.

20. Clay Buchholz: Feels like more than a year ago that we thought of him as an ace of the near future, but even after his brutal '08 season, he remains a tantalizing talent who, at the least, should bring something of considerable value in a trade.

(Edit: Whoops, just realized I overlooked John Farrell, the Sox' very capable pitching coach. I'm keeping my Beastie Boys joke, so let's put him at 16 and bump everyone below that number down a spot. Back to the Sea Dogs for you, Clay.)

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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