Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

26 of 31

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6: Tris Speaker, OF (1907-1915)

After two part-time seasons to lead off his career, Tris Speaker became the everyday center fielder for the Red Sox in 1909. He immediately made an impact with his bat hitting .309/.362/.443 that season, with 26 doubles and 35 stolen bases. He was great at the plate, but it was in the outfield where Speaker truly shined, especially early in his career.

Speaker was so fast that he would play an incredibly shallow center field, almost to the point of giving the Red Sox five infielders, and still be able to track back on deep fly balls. He had incredible speed and natural defensive instincts which allowed him to play a creative and effective brand of outfield defense. Playing so shallow also allow Speaker to put up a ridiculous amount of outfield assists.

Quickly, Speaker became the star of the Red Sox “Million-Dollar Outfield” made up of Harry Hooper, Duffy Lewis and Speaker. They are arguably the best outfield trio of all-time.

The best season of Speaker’s career came in 1912, when he hit .383/.464/.567 with 53 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs, 90 RBI and 52 stolen bases. His on-base percentage, doubles totals and home runs led the league. Coupled with his incredible defensive play, Speaker took home the American League MVP award that season, and also led the Red Sox to a World Series championship.

Speaker played for three more seasons with the Red Sox, capped off by another World Series title in 1915. That off season, a contract dispute caused the Red Sox to trade Speaker to the Cleveland Indians, where he continued to dominate the American League for many years.

Speaker retired in 1928 after an incredibly long 22-year career. He was inducted as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937, the second class to ever be elected. Speaker represents the Indians in the Hall of Fame, but his nine seasons with the Red Sox is where it all started, and is important to his history as an incredible player.

He currently holds two career MLB records. His 792 career doubles are the most of all-time, as are his 449 career outfield assists.

Next: Number Five