Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

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27: Fred Lynn, OF (1974-1980)

Fred Lynn made his MLB debut with the Red Sox late in the 1974 season, instantly showing his impressive all-around ability in 15 games played, but it was in his actual rookie season of 1975 where Lynn really made his mark.

In what could possibly be the greatest rookie season of all-time, Lynn hit .331 with an OBP of .401 and a league-leading slugging percentage of .566. His .967 OPS also led the league, as did his 47 doubles and 103 runs scored. Add in his 21 home runs, 105 RBI and gold glove winning defense in centerfield, and Lynn not only took home Rookie of the Year honors, he was named the American League MVP.

It was the first time that the same player had ever won both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season, and has only been done one time since (Ichiro Suzuki in 2001). Lynn’s incredible debut season in 1975 was capped off by leading the Red Sox to the World Series, where they eventually lost to the Cincinnati Reds.

Lynn went on to play five more seasons with Boston, all of which he made All-Star appearances, and won three more gold gloves. However, he was never able to lead the Red Sox to the post season again. He also struggled with injuries because of his reckless play in the outfield.

1975 is undoubtedly what Lynn’s career is remembered for, but it was not even his best statistical season. Lynn led the league in batting average (.333), on-base percentage (.423) and slugging percentage (.637) for the Red Sox in 1979, while also popping 39 home runs, 42 doubles and driving in 122 RBI. Offensively, Lynn was incredible and took home another Gold Glove for his play in center field. He did not however, win the AL MVP award.

Lynn went on to have a nice career with the California Angeles, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers and a quick stint San Diego Padres, before retiring from the game at the age of 38 in 1990. Lynn was always a good player, but he was never again the same guy as we saw in Boston.

Next: Number 26