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.
Who are the best one-year wonders in Boston sports? Nick Esasky 1989 is my vote. – Nick A.
Well, first, let’s make sure we’re clear on the parameters. To qualify, a player can have played just one full season with a Boston sports team, had success, and then gone elsewhere the following season.
Using this criteria, Esasky – who hit 30 homers for the ’89 Red Sox, then left for Atlanta as a free agent after his lone season in Boston – is a fine choice. Others that qualify include Eric Hanson (went 15-5 in ’95), Bob Watson (hit .337 in ’79), and Hideo Nomo (pitched a no-hitter and led the league in strikeouts in 2001).
My choice comes from the Red Sox and hasn’t been mentioned yet. Before we get to him, let’s take a look at some quality one-and-dones from other New England teams:
Bruins: Jarome Iginla (scored 30 goals in 2013-14).
Patriots: Darrelle Revis (2014), Brian Waters (2011), Trent Brown (2018), Brandin Cooks (2017), Robert Edwards (1998), and Ted Washington (2003). This list absolutely does not include Marion Butts (1994).
Celtics: Dominique Wilkins (1995), Gary Payton (2005), Shaq (2011), Pistol Pete Maravich (1980), Joe Johnson (traded during his rookie year, 2002), Chauncey Billups (traded during his rookie year, 1997)), and James Posey (champ, 2008). Rasheed Wallace (wheezed through the Finals, 2010) does not make the cut.
Anyway, my choice is an obvious one: Adrian Beltre, 2010. The future Hall of Famer spent one season with the Red Sox in 2010, and he was marvelous. Beltre hit 28 homers, led the league with 49 doubles, put up a .919 OPS, played third base beautifully, took the game seriously but never himself … and left after one season to go to the Rangers, where he spent eight seasons, six of which looked an awful lot like his one excellent year in Boston. That’s the kind of player you wish you could have watched play for your favorite team for his entire career.
But what does everyone else think? Who is the best one-year wonder in Boston sports? I’ll hear you in the comments.