Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

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25: Nomar Garciparra, SS (1996-2004)

One of the best overall players of his era, “Nomah” found himself in a special place with Red Sox fans. He busted onto the scene as a 23-year-old rookie in 1997 where he hit .306/.342/.534 with 30 home runs, 98 RBI and 22 steals, while playing great defense at shortstop. Garciaparra also led the league with 209 hits, and was a unanimous selection for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Nomar continued to steal the heart of Red Sox fans with his performance the next season in 1998. He hit .323/.362/.584 with 35 home runs and 122 RBI that season, coming in second in the AL MVP voting. Garciaparra led the league in hitting the next two season with batting averages of .357 and .372 in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

His career started to change in 2001, as Garciaparra suffered a major wrist injury that held him out for most of the year. He made a successful return in 2002, and while his numbers were still great, he clearly was not the same players as before. His defense started to slip, and while he still hit for a high average, it was not league-leading worthy like before.

The Red Sox traded Garciaparra before the league trade deadline in 2004. They sent him to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team trade in which they acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Cabrera and Mientkiewicz were brought in to help with the Red Sox defensive issues that season, and they both player major roles in Boston’s World Series championship that season.

While his teammates did vote to give him a World Series ring, it was kind of sad to know they Garciaparra was traded away the year the Red Sox finally broke curse. He was an incredible talent who represented the city of Boston extremely well.

Next: Number 24