Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Today’s Sports Q is a flower plucked from the cesspool of Twitter, courtesy of Nick A.:
Better arm, Dewey, Sixto or the Cobra??
— Nick Abisi (@theruns46250) July 19, 2019
Now, if you’re a child of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, you probably don’t require any more clarity on the nicknames Nick provides here. “Cobra” was Dave Parker, the 1978 NL Most Valuable Player and such an imposing presence that on the cover of Sports Illustrated once he made Jim Rice look like he was awaiting a growth spurt.
Sixto Lezcano had a couple of outstanding seasons for the Brewers before his career petered out in the mid-‘80s.
Dewey is Dwight Evans, but you knew that. If Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame, Evans should have been elected a decade ago. I think it will happen for him now.
What they had in common, other than cool names or nicknames and stardom during my favorite days as a baseball fan, is this: All three of them had rocket-launchers for throwing arms. They weren’t the only ones in that era – Montreal’s Ellis Valentine (also a great name) might have had the best arm of all of them.
The late ‘70s were a heyday for right fielders who would embarrass you if you tried to take the extra base. And these guys were jaw-droppers when they threw the baseball with purpose.
If we expand the question to ask who had the best outfield arm you have ever seen, all of them would be in the debate. So would Roberto Clemente (if you were fortunate enough to see him), Jesse Barfield, Ichiro, and Mark Whiten. Maybe you have a few other names in mind too. Bo Jackson had an incredible arm to go with his incredible overall skill set, but he played mostly left field.
So I think Valentine’s arm is the best I ever saw. But Evans is the one I saw most often, and the Red Sox have never had anything like him in right field for a prolonged time. (Whiten was here briefly in ’96, but he was Ain’t-Hittin’ Mark Whiten at that point.)
What does everyone else think? Who had the best outfield arm you ever saw? I’ll hear you in the comments.