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I actually get some of ownership’s rationale for getting under the luxury tax threshold, but one thing that really bugs me about the Red Sox decision to trade Mookie Betts is how disappointing it must be to kids. I remember how sad I was as a 9-year-old when incompetent Haywood Sullivan screwed up and let Carlton Fisk get away after the 1980 season. He was my favorite player, just like Betts is for this generation of Red Sox fans. I guess I just wanted to say that rather than ask a question, so here’s an actual question: Who was your first favorite player as a sports fan? – Sam C.
Well, if you’re among the unfortunate few that follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably heard enough about Butch Hobson over the years to recognize that he was my first favorite. I became a Sox fan in ’78 (when I was 8), and he had a bit of a rough year (43 errors at third base). But he played hard, even recklessly, looked cool, and did hit 30 homers the year before, a record for a Red Sox third baseman that stood until Rafael Devers broke it last year. I have no regrets. Fred Lynn was probably the runner-up there, and he and Hobson got traded the same winter that Fisk left. Lousy year to be a young Red Sox fan.
Across other sports? Let’s see, it was Terry O’Reilly in hockey for sure. In football, it was Chargers receiver John Jefferson (my favorite Patriot at the time was Horace Ivory). Not sure I had one in basketball – the first year I began following was the year after John Havlicek retired and Larry Bird arrived. But I remember liking Truck Robinson with the Suns, Dennis Johnson with the Sonics – he remains an all-time favorite — and Adrian Dantley with the Lakers. Can’t really explain that latter one.
What does everyone else think? Who was your favorite athlete as a kid? I’ll hear you in the comments.